Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Piano Restaurant & Bar

he says:

With the recent arrival of our little man Burt, dinners out have been as rare as an uninterrupted night's sleep. So when the we were offered the chance to come and review the recently opened The Piano Restaurant & Bar we jumped at the chance.


Just outside the CBD at the beginning of Bridge Road, The Piano Restaurant & Bar is headed up by ex Longrain chef Tommy. And it isn't hard to see that Tommy has taken some of what he learned at Longrain and applied to this new venture.


Before I go into detail about the dishes served I can't help but point out that the Thai cuisine served at the Piano is probably what Thai people would refer to as Thai fusion but most Westerners would just call delicious upmarket Thai. Really what I mean but this is you won't get a whole lot of spice and the seasonings are definitely adjusted to the sweeter side to accommodate the western palate. Given the success of most popular modern Thai restaurants in Australia it's not hard to see why Tommy (and others) have taken this approach. Personally I can enjoy both styles of Thai cuisine (Authentic and Fusion) and I certainly don't think that the Thai have adjusted their cuisine to suit the western palate to the extent that the Chinese have, Honey Chicken anyone?


After a selection of delicious entrees the first main to come out was what one of the two signature dishes, The Piano Crispy Duck with Spicy Soy Dressing. Beautifully presented with a delicately shredded chilli and crispy fried basil leaf garnish and served with julienne bamboo and snake beans this crispy skinned tender duck in sticky sweet sauce is super rich and absolutely sublime. At $22.50 for a very generous serve, it's also great value!


The second signature must try dish is The Piano Slow Cooked Beef Ribs in Chilli Soy Sauce. Quite similar in appearance to the duck, the beef ribs dish is slightly spicier and as you would expect with beef, even richer and deeper in flavour.  I just love slow cooked dishes and felt that beef ribs are a wonderfully fatty alternative to pork belly in this style of dish. I can't write a review of a Thai Fusion style restaurant without mentioning what it seems is the flagship dish of these establishments, Crispy Fried Pork Belly. I first tried this dish at Red Spice Road, then Longrain and of course Chin Chin and after reading a few of the thousand or so reviews of these restaurants it seems like this dish is pretty much ordered (and loved) by everyone who dines at any of these establishments. I felt that The Piano Beef Ribs was a great interesting new take on this classic dish and again, the pricing of $20.50 is incredibly good value.


For some reason Lamb isn't particularly prevalent in Thai cuisine, I've never really worked out why that is. Perhaps it's partly because pork is just the best protein you can eat! Once again on the fusion theme, another very popular combination is Lamb Shanks and Mussaman curry, why do we love it so much? Cause it tastes so good! How can you go wrong with the nutty creamy goodness of the Mussaman sauce combined with tender braised lamb shanks? You can't! $20.50!!!


By this stage I was just about losing feeling in my legs but the lovely owners of The Piano insisted on bringing out just one more dish. I love eating but am just not able to easily consume great volumes of food, I'm often amazed when I read of the monstrous banquets that some reviewers frequently post. Given my state of fullness, this was a nice dish to finish with, Pla Sam Rod or Three (Sam) Flavour (Rod) Fish (Pla). So what exactly are these three flavours you ask? It's no great secret, they're sweet, salty and sour like so many classic Thai dishes. The toasty cashew nuts and the base of fried spring roll wrappers add a lovely texture and interesting twist to this classic dish.


I normally don't go on much about the prices of meals in my reviews but the value proposition at The Piano Restaurant & Bar is just too good to not mention. With a beautifully modern styled interior, excellent convenient location, great flavours that will appeal to a wide audience and super competitive pricing I am confident that The Piano Restaurant & Bar will become a very popular addition to this end of the Bridge Road shopping strip.

The piano restaurant & bar on Urbanspoon

I dined as a guest of the restaurant who knew in advance that I would be dining there, and selected the dishes they wanted to showcase. This review may be reproduced on www.thailiciouz.com.au Please visit the ‘Thailiciouz’ website for information on how you can receive hot deals from various Thai eateries, massage parlours and other contemporary Thai businesses.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sang's

he says:

My grey nomad in-laws recently moved into the caravan park in Sunshine which I took as the perfect opportunity to try and find some new Western suburban gems. After spending the afternoon trawling through Consider the Sauce and Footscray Food Blog and Urbanspoon I really wasn't much the wiser on where we should go. What I mean is, blogs like CTS and FFB serve a wonderful purpose in telling you about great new places but then I often make the mistake of reading more about these places on Urbanspoon which it seems these days is mostly dedicated to tearing places down and leaving you less certain of whether to visit them or not. In this instance That's exactly what happened and I decided to take the safe option and go with a tried and tested favourite - Quan Viet in Braybrook. On the way there I used my phone to google the address for my in-laws and a wonderful thing happened. Google suggested some other places nearby - one of which was Sang's Takeaway Food restaurant in Maidstone. One more click and I learned that Kenny had visited previously and given it the thumbs up and that was enough for me! Change of plans - we're going to Sang's in Maidstone.



When you arrive at Sang's you will be greeted by owner Duc whose attentive service is second only to his passion for what he is doing. I sat watching him patiently explain to some customers that 'yes we do sell Chinese food but we don't have sweet and sour pork although we do have a lot of other delicious dishes'. And he is absolutely right about that. For me it's a sign of a great menu when I get completely overexcited and order way too much food. Cue list of over-ordered but amazing meals.



The first dish to arrive was Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Prawns. This dish is that typical Viet combination of lovely presentation and fantastic flavours and wonderful texture. From memory this was around $16, a bargain for such a great dish, and a deceptively large serving. These days I mostly tend to eat the Thai Papaya Salad Som Tum but on tasting this dish I was reminded that my introduction to green papaya was via this dish from Luke Nguyen's book Songs of Sapa.



The next dish was Honey Chicken but not as you know it, this is Sang's Vietnamese style Honey Chicken and it is superb!  Think succulent juicy chicken with a sweet slightly charred crust. Add a bowl of sweet chilli sauce and you've got dipping heaven baby! Loved this dish, it was also $16 and quite large. On my next visit this dish and the papaya salad will be the first two items ordered.


One of the first dishes that stood out on the menu wall of photos (I love a good photo menu wall) was the Banh Xeo. This dish is apparently named after the sound the crepe mixture makes when it hits the hot pan, think Seeeee-ow! At $10 it is easily one of the cheapest Banh Xeo you will find and this was right up there with the best of them. It seems to be a dish that has a few different variations but this style is similar to that served at Quan Viet, a lot of places make a huge crepe almost 50 cms across that is quite sparse on fillings. This versions is the opposite - short, fat and delicious. It comes with a pile of herbs and lettuce for wrapping up bits of crepe and stuffing them in your mouth. The whole process is pretty messy, the box of tissues on the tables really comes in handy! 


This last dish is Salt and Pepper Fried Fish, the type of fish was specified but I didn't take close note and therefore forgot. What I didn't forget was the fantastic light and crispy batter that the fish was encrusted in. I often see (and order) salt and pepper squid at Vietnamese restaurants and this was just as good, possibly better. Hey, I love any excuse to eat sweet chilli sauce! I also ordered a huge serving of fried rice but am obviously a bit out of blogging practice these days and completely forgot to take a photo. If you live out West or are just visiting I highly recommend dropping to Sang's, the pricing is excellent and the food is even better.

Sang's Takeaway Food Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 11 August 2013

FOMO

he says:

Yes I haven't posted much lately but life has been pretty busy what with running a popup restaurant, having a baby and holding down a full time job, plus a few other projects. So excuses aside I was given a bit of a kick the other night by one of our Soi 38 regulars, "you need to update your blog more often". As I responded, it isn't for lack of ideas, I have about 10 posts that I probably should write but somehow get distracted. So my plan is to pick up the pace a bit and write about my favourite Thai places in Melbourne. I mean, I still eat and I eat almost exclusively Thai food so inspiration isn't a problem. Yes I cook a lot of it myself but I still manage to find my way to some of the better places on a regular basis. So in no particular order here goes, the first place that has been nagging away at me in terms of needing to write about is FOMO.


FOMO is run by the lovely May who who also runs probably my all time favourite lunch spot Pad Thai in the Midtown building. I have never written about it but it has been a regular for years, anyway that will change soon so I promise. For those who don't know, FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is directed at the Thai expats living in Melbourne who are missing out on all the amazing food that is available back in Thailand. Well it isn't just the expats who are missing out, it's been over a year since our last trip and I suffer from serious FOMO almost every day!  


This is the first dish I tried at FOMO, of course it was their boat noodles. These are easily the best boat noodles you can get in the CBD. This version is is the pork 'Nam Tok' which basically means 'with blood'. I'm pretty sure FOMO use blood jelly rather than actual blood which is what's used in Thailand but the jelly still adds a nice depth and richness to the broth. Aside from the richly flavoured broth, the highlight is the tender stewed pork which literally melts in the mouth. So if you're ready to graduate to the next level after Pho and move up to boat noodles then find your way to FOMO. 


I'm pretty much going in the order of the dishes as I tried them over multiple visits. I have such sweet memories of the duck soup with egg noodles I ate in Bangkok that I had to give this a go. Overall it was a lovely dish that I went back for a couple of times, if I'm being picky I really want a tender stewed piece of duck rather the shredded duck meat but that's just me. 


I knew ahead of time that FOMO was opening and waiting was difficult, especially as I knew they would be serving a menu of Thai noodles soups. Obviously these are my favourite dishes but also they are very hard to find, especially in the city. This is Tom Yum, hot and sour and supremely delicious! And that's proper Tom Yum, not the red prawn coloured broth Tom Yum Goong. Don't confuse them, they're totally different,. both are delicious but this version is the true king.


When I'm not eating Thai soup noodles I love a breakfast or lunch of Hoy Thod, which is also referred to as Thai Mussel Omelette. This is another of my all time favourites and I have a lot more to write about it that I can fit in this post, stand buy for a separate Hot Thod Post! in the meantime, get into FOMO and thy their version and let me know what you think, I will provide instructions on where to go next. Wherever you go, make sure you have heaps of Sriracha chilli sauce to drown it in, it's the Thai version of Heinz ketchup. 


When I saw the FOMO menu I got quite excited about spotting the Patongo or Thai donuts listed on the menu and had fond memories of late night visits to Haymarket in Sydney for a fix of freshly hand rolled fried donuts served with pandan flavoured custard... heaven! The FOMO pandan custard certainly ticked all the right boxes but sadly what was served up was not Patongo but rather a Vietnamese donut. And hey, if I'm enjoying a Congee for breakfast at Huu Huu Thanh then I want a Vietnamese donut but when I order Patongo... I want Patongo! 


When my parents were in town of course I took them to FOMO. The benefit of having a larger group is that you can order things you wouldn't otherwise order by yourself. Yes I eat solo a lot and I'm fine with it. This selection of grilled meats with Jaew sauce was divine. An absolute highlight that has changed the way I cook at home. For me this is what eating out should do, make you rethink how you prepare food yourself, that what good food does for me anyway. You should go to FOMO and try this, it will change what you think of as Thai food. And don't forget to order some sticky rice to go with it. 


I almost never order Thai curries these days, it's not that I don't like them cause I do. It's just that there are usually so many other things that I'd rather eat. I was with my parents and they love a good Mussaman so we ordered this one and we weren't disappointed. It was easily the nicest Mussaman I have eaten since the version we had from Roti Mataba on Phra Artit Road Bangkok. The beef was deliciously tender and the sauce gorgeously sweet. My parents enjoyed it so much they went back a few days later for another helping. And don't forget the cashews, if you like Mussaman try FOMO's and let me know what you think, I reckon its a winner.  


For obvious reasons it took me a while to dive in and order this next dish, Ox Tongue Krapow. Fortunately for me I was enjoying my lunch at the FOMO bar a few days ago and a guy walked in, sat next to me and ordered this dish. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to come back the next day and give it a try. All the usual flavours are there, basil, oyster sauce and of course chilli but what the most interesting thing was the texture of the ox tongue. The combination of being slightly chewy yet tender at the same time is something quite Thai and perhaps an acquired taste but albeit one not too difficult to come to appreciate. I will be back many times to enjoy it that's for sure. 


I'm going to finish with my latest favourite go to dish from FOMO. The Som Tum Moo Yang Khao Neow or Papaya Salad with Grilled Pork and Stick Rice. Superb value at $15.50, I have this at least once every couple of weeks. Be prepared though, it really has some chilli kick! Flavour wise its impossible to describe, you'll just have to go and try it for yourself! I recommend you grab a Cha Yen (Thai Iced Tea) to cool you down while you consume this awesome dish!  In my ideal world there is whole street of Thai restaurants serving dishes of this quality. And of course, this magical street is just around the corner from where I work. So yeah, I love FOMO. I hope you do too! 

FOMO Thai on Urbanspoon

Monday, 1 July 2013

Soi 38 at the Indonesian Festival

he says:

I realise this is a bit late but we have some exciting things coming up soon at Soi 38 so I thought I should send out a little reminder about how delicious Thai noodle soups are. Especially the Sukhothai noodles sold at the Soi 38 stand at the recent Indonesian Festival at Queen Victoria Market.


Would you buy noodles from this man? Judging by the popularity of the Soi 38 cart on the day evidently a lot of you would!


The soup version of Sukhothai (nahm) was very popular and incredibly delicious. The pork crackle topping is so tasty, you can also see the picked turnip and chilli on the right side of the bowl. The combination of flavours and the sweetness of the palm sugar is really something special. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Pho who? Pho get it! Pho eey!!! It's a knockout win for Sukhothai from this judge.


While the soup verison of Sukhothai was superb, the dry version (haeng) was off the scale. Dream's Mum gave Melbourne a once in a lifetime opportunity to sample her family recipe and those who got lucky will long remember how amazing it was. I was instantly transported to Bankok on tasting my first mouthful, you could almost smell the durian in the air! We haven't been lucky enough to get to Thailand this year but tasting this dish was a nice way of getting a small fix of our favourite holiday destination.


Our good friend Nang Kwak (bottom left) obviously appreciated our offering of Sukhothai noodles and gave her special blessing to Soi 38.


Some of our very happy customers! Our good friends Kenny and Benny from Consider the Sauce were also very satisfied customers, you read their review here.


Those who missed the amazing Soi 38 Sukhothai noodles don't despair. We are rolling the cart out again very soon, and this time is going to even bigger! So keep your Friday nights in August free and start stockpiling those $5 notes!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sukhothai Noodles at Soi 38

he says:

Great news Thai noodle lovers! Soi 38 is back! We had a great time at the Spring Fling introducing Melbourne to Boat Noodles. A belated thankyou to Kenny from Consider the Sauce, Temasek, and Bazza from Wildcat Wanderer for coming down to try our wares and writing such kind reviews! It isn't the best footage but if you have a spare 3 minutes check out this youtube video of us in action!


So if you loved our Boat Noodles at the Spring Fling or if you're one of the poor unfortunate who missed out then get down to the Queen Victoria Market this Sunday 28 April for the Indonesian Street Festival. Yes I know what you're thinking, but Soi 38 is Thai not Indonesian! Yes that's right but the organisers of the Indonesia Festival loved our noodles at the Spring Fling and approached us to join them. At Soi 38 (and krapow) we're always looking for the opportunity to introduce Melbourne to new Thai dishes so of course we said yes!


We are continuing our tour of Thai Noodles with another all time Thai favourite Sukhothai Noodles. This time the Soi 38 crew will be joined by our friends from the (sadly) now closed Tidlom Thai.


So what exactly are these exotic sounding Sukhothai noodles? Sukhothai is a province in the central area of Thailand whose residents unsurprisingly claim these delicious noodles as their own.  Sukhothai is generally accepted as the original independent Thai kingdom. Eventually Sukhothai was usurped by the new and probably now more famous southern kingdom of Ayutthaya which coincidentally is the home of Boat Noodles. After several centuries of war and conflict the current Thai capital of Bangkok was settled by Rama I, the descendent of the reigning King of Thailand Rama IX King Bhumibol.


Like all Thai food Sukhothai noodles are subject to many different interpretations but the basic structure is generally consistent. That being a light pork and garlic flavoured broth, various proteins including fish balls, sliced pork, pork balls and dried shrimp served over sen lek rice noodles and topped with sliced snake beans, fried pork crackling and crushed peanuts. They are not easily located in Melbourne (especially in the CBD) however I have heard rumours of delicious versions available in the Eastern suburbs. I think the closest cousin to Sukhothai noodles is Tom Yam Moo (pork) which I absolutely love. Krua Thai 2 serve a version that I have previously raved about. It is not to be confused with Tom Yum Goong (prawn) which is the more commonly available variant with a bright red broth seasoned with galangal and also available by the jar as a paste concentrate.


A lot of Thai like to have their soup noodles served 'Haeng' or dry which obviously means without broth. Having tried many Thai noodles served both ways I typically steer towards the Nahm or wet version but that isn't to say that dry noodles are without their charm, and they are no doubt healthier! If you hadn't already realised I'm just a sucker for a beautifully constructed broth. Having spent many many hours trying to perfect my own broths I am in no doubt that this is truly an art de cuisine of the highest order!


Well that's the end of my rave about Sukhothai noodles. If I've whet your appetite then get down to the Queen Victoria Market this Sunday 28 April and look for the Thai noodle cart and the guy in the blue motosai vest. You won't be disappointed. Aroy Mak!

Check out this mouthwatering youtube video of  Sukhothai noodles served at Som Som Pochana in BKK!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

krapow Top 5 Melbourne Thai Restaurants

he says:

This is a guest post I wrote a while back for the Melbology blog which I recently discovered that seems to have been converted to a different blog called  Melbournism and any links to my original post are now directed to a 'Tell us your favourite Thai restaurant' comment page. I really have no idea what has happened here and I only recently found out about it by chance. Given that this means my original post is now not published anywhere I thought it would be only fair that I republish it here at krapow.  This post was originally written about 6 months ago so obviously I have since discovered a pile of new favourite Thai restaurants however after rereading my thoughts from last year I am happy to stand by them and can confidently say that while these may no longer be my Top 5 they are still some of my favourites!

I have previously speculated that there must be around 300 Thai restaurants in Melbourne. I now reckon it could be closer to 500. That’s the great thing about guessing, it really doesn't matter whether you’re right or not. Although I would have sampled less than 10% of my estimated 500 Melbourne Thai restaurants I feel confident that I can give a pretty good Top 5. Not only will I list my Top 5 favourite Thai restaurants but I will also include my favourite meal from each.

Before I start, I prefer my Thai food as authentic as possible so that means hot, not sweet curries, no cashew chicken and definitely no chicken pad Thai! If this doesn't work for you and you want ‘Aussie’ Thai fare I’ll list a couple of the more popular ones at the end of this post but I really encourage you to broaden your horizons and go try a few of these dishes, all of them are wonderful examples of delicious Thai cuisine.

So here goes, my Top 5 Melbourne Thai restaurants and meals…

1. Le Bangkok, 195 Lonsdale Street Melbourne

I recently discovered this gem of a restaurant in the CBD and it has firmly become my go to place for good authentic Thai food. The secret here is that they actually have two menus, one for westerners and one for Thai. The second menu is tactfully referred to as the ‘spicy’ menu. This is the one you need to ask for as it contains some really special and very authentic offerings. What keeps me coming back again and again is the Yum Pak Boong Krob, which I describe as deep fried morning glory with a pork and prawn tom yum curry sauce. The crispy fried morning glory is truly glorious and combines perfectly with the highly addictive tom yum curry sauce.  You have been warned…


Le Bangkok on Urbanspoon

2. Tom Toon 241 Victoria St Abbotsford

Tom Toon have an extensive menu but I can’t really tell you much about it as the first time I visited I ordered the Kuay Tiau noodle soup and I've never ordered anything different since. You can order either rice or egg noodles with pork, beef or chicken. My personal recommendation is chicken with egg noodles. For me, Thai noodle soup leaves Pho in its dust. It’s so much richer and more powerfully flavoured, a definite must try for all noodle soup lovers. I personally think Kuay Tiau is one of the most underrated Thai dishes and I really can’t understand why. Get to Tom Toon and see for yourself, I’m betting you’ll be back for a second and third taste of their amazing Kuay Tiau.


Tom Toon Thai Noodle Cafe on Urbanspoon

3. Yim Yam 40 Ballarat St, Yarraville & 76 Smith St Collingwood

Yim Yam has been around for ages, which is usually a good sign that they’re doing something right. The recent successful expansion into Smith St Collingwood is also testament to the quality of food available at Yim Yam. Two dishes that Yim Yam do very, very right are the Toasted Rice & Coconut Salad and the Yum Yim Yam, both are amazing. The crunchy toasted rice is texturally sublime and the dressing on the Yum Yim Yam always leaves me scratching my head in wonderment, how do they do that?

Yim Yam Thai Laos on Urbanspoon

4. Me Dee Springvale 1/1-3 St Johns Ave Springvale

Me Dee advertises as having the most authentic Thai food in Melbourne, and I’m certainly not going to dispute this claim. The menu is extensive and choosing is difficult but for me the easy choice is the Hoy Tod. Hoy Tod is a fried mussel omelette with sprouts and Sriracha chilli sauce. It sounds a bit confronting but the combination of the salty mussels, crunchy sprouts and spicy Sriracha is a taste sensation. Apparently it’s also great hangover cure for those tough enough to face up to a bowl of mussels and chilli sauce while hungover. Springvale is a decent journey for most, but for anyone who takes their Thai food seriously the trip is more than worth it.


Me Dee Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

5. Sweet Rice 102 Millers Rd Altona North

Sweet Rice is a bit of a random addition to this list but I really couldn't exclude them. I spent a good part of the past 12 months heading out to Altona just to get a taste of their Green Mango Fish or the super cheap and super delicious deep-fried soft shell crab to name just two favourites. I tried a lot of the Sweet Rice menu during the intense phase of my obsession and can comfortably say that I never had a bad meal.

Sweet Rice on Urbanspoon

So that’s my personal favourite Top 5 Melbourne Thai restaurants. I doubt very much that anyone will agree with me but before you shout me down I urge you to get to at least one of my recommendations and broaden your Thai food experiences. I'm sure you love Massaman curry, hey I do too but there is so much more out there. You don’t even have to search for it. I've done that for you. 

As promised above, if authenticity isn't your thing here are a few ‘Aussie’ Thai recommendations. Try Thaila Thai, at 82 Lygon St, Brunswick East or Ying Thai at 235 Victoria St, Abbotsford or Ying Thai 2 at 110 Lygon St, Carlton. While both Ying Thai outlets also sell some very authentic and delicious Thai dishes I found that they have adjusted the levels of heat and sweetness in some of the dishes that are more popular with the western client√®le such as Green and Red curries. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

ZabVers

he says:

I was recently invited over to Victoria Street Richmond to check out the latest addition to the ever increasing array of Thai restaurants that populate the previously Vietnamese dominated strip. With its modern interior design and comprehensive menu of authentic Thai classics ZabVers is a certainly a most welcome addition to the area.


The name ZabVers is an interesting one which essentially is Thai slang for super delicious. 'Zab' is an Issan word for delicious and the addition of 'Vers' is a sort of young persons' slang for extra or super. What's interesting is that 'Vers' is actually a shortening of the English word 'Over' and is used as a suffix to enhance the importance of the word that precedes it. I quite like the way the Thai sometimes use shortened English words in a colloquial kind of slang. It's a bit of an insight into how western minded the young Thai are these days. 


It was a pretty warm evening so I was delighted to be brought a glass of my favourite Thai drink, Cha Yen which is Thai milk tea sweetened with both evaporated and condensed milk. It's super sweet but also very refreshingly cooling on a hot day.


The next dish, Khao Soy is one you don't often see so course I was automatically impressed. Khao Soy is a Chang Mai specialty of chicken in a creamy mild coconut curry. It is served with crispy egg noodles, raw vegetables and nam prik pow as accompaniments. With its mild heat levels I could see this dish becoming quite popular with those 'Aussie' customers who often struggle with the spicyness of many Thai dishes.


ZabVers specialises in Isan and Northern Thai regional dishes so it's only natural that they offered their version of Tom Zap for me to try. The delicately thin but spicy broth was actually perfect to reset my palate after the cream curry. A disarmingly complex dish, Tom Zap is predominantly flavoured by galangal and lemongrass however the Thai basil adds a little kick of aniseed to complement the slightly bigger kick of chilli!


The array of Thai grilled meat salads seems to be almost never ending and I'm yet to find one that I don't absolutely love. This one was Moo Tok Krok which is bit like Som Tum without the papaya. Beautifully in its simplicity, the smoky grilled pork, acidic tomatoes, earthy snake beans and zesty lime chilli fish sauce dressing are a glorious combination. This is a dish I will certainly be making at home.


Nam Tok Moo is another delicious Thai grilled meat salad. Similar to Larp, this is another Northern Thai classic so that means it is very tasty but also very spicy. Ideally the pork would be grilled over charcoal to achieve the gorgeous smoky flavour however this is often difficult to achieve in a commercial kitchen (and at home). I really don't know whether the chef at ZabVers uses a charcoal grill but I certainly enjoyed the flavour of this grilled pork and the jim jaew dressing was a wonderfully tangy and spicy accompaniment. 


This last dish was very Thai and not for those with an aversion to offal. Num Ngeow Kanom Jeen is yet another Northern Thai specialty that combines a spicy tomato broth with tender pieces of pork and liver served with Kanom Jeen noodles which are made from fermented rice. David Thompson devotes an entire chapter to these special noodles in his literary culinary masterpiece 'Thai Street Food'. Anyone who has drooled over this book as much as I have will certainly have developed a desire to learn more about these Kanom Jeen noodles. Interestingly Kanom Jeen noodles are traditionally associated with religious rituals and because Thai monks must abstain from eating after midday the noodles have become accepted as a morning meal. Mmmm offal for breakfast... To see some great photos and learn how Kanom Jeen noodles are made check this great post from Austin Bush


Gluay Ping (Deep Fried Bananas) are a favourite sweet treat for many Thai and one that I'm a bit partial too myself. In Australia we pretty much have two varieties of banana available (Cavendish and Lady Finger) unless you go looking at the asian markets that is. In Thailand there are over 100 varieties of banana available which is incredible really. This link has some fantastic pictures of some of the Thai banana varieties.

So if you're into Issan food or just interested in trying some new Thai dishes then I highly recommend checking ZabVers out. The meals are very reasonable priced and the flavours are authentically Thai.

This review was conducted in my capacity as restaurant reviewer for ‘Thailiciouz’. I dined as a guest of the restaurant who knew in advance that I would be dining there, and selected the dishes they wanted to showcase. Please visit the ‘Thailiciouz’ website www.thailiciouz.com.au for information on how you can receive hot deals from various Thai eateries, massage parlours and other contemporary Thai businesses.

Zabvers on Urbanspoon