Red Spoon Thai Restaurant, Castle Hill

You may have noticed that given the large number of Thai restaurants in Sydney, I have yet to review any of them on my blog. This is because I don’t really like Thai food – granted, I’m not all that familiar with Thai food and my knowledge about it is very limited, but I do know that there are certain flavours used in Thai cooking which don’t appeal to me. Namely coriander and kaffir lime. Bleh! (It also doesn’t help that I can’t take a lot of chilli)

As a result I don’t really choose to go to Thai restaurants, but on this night we were dining with family friends and the parentals had chosen to go to Red Spoon in Castle Hill. I always think that if I keep trying foods then maybe one day I will grow to like them, so I went along with this attitude hoping that my tastebuds will have magically grown to like these Thai flavours.

Well, I can’t confirm that this happened, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed most of the food that we ordered. Maybe because I tried to steer away from the dishes that I knew would be very strong on the coriander or kaffir lime leaf taste, but nevertheless it made me think that I should go out and try more Thai food before being so quick to strike off a cuisine completely.

Curry puff (4 pcs) – $6.90

We started with some curry puffs which had a crisp deep fried pastry outside, and mixed vegetables on the inside. I thought the filling could have been more flavoursome but I loved flaky texture of the deep fried pastry. The curry puffs were served with a sweet chilli sauce.

Chicken Penang curry – $13.90

The curries were next to arrive. I’m a bit wary of Thai curries because of the dreaded kaffir lime leaf but this Penang curry was light and creamy with lots of vegetables and pieces of chicken breast. I didn’t detect any kaffir lime but it was flavoursome and had a good chilli kick.

Massamun beef – $17.90

However I did prefer the milder Massamun Beef Curry which had a thicker sauce and a richer flavour. The chunks of beef were tender and soft although they skimped on the potatoes, only providing two small pieces (the blackened things in the background of the photo).

Cinnamon duck – $25.90

A serve of the cinnamon duck was brought to the table with pieces of roast duck with crispy skin, shiitake mushrooms and a light plum sauce. Apart from the two cinnamon sticks garnishing the plate, I didn’t taste much cinnamon flavour. The dish was still nice though, with the sweet sauce complementing the duck nicely.

Chilli jam crispy soft shell crab – $19.90

The crispy soft shell crab was by far my favourite dish of the night – even though in the description it said it had kaffir lime leaves, I didn’t really taste this at all (possibly because my mouth was half on fire). But no matter how hot it was, I couldn’t stop eating the super crunchy deep fried soft shell crab with chilli jam drizzled on top. A must order!

Red Spoon Stuffed Squid – $21.90

We also got another of the ‘signature’ dishes, the stuffed squid. This looked great when it was placed on our table but after taking a bit I was disappointed. The squid was overcooked and rubbery, making it really difficult to chew. I liked the stuffing of minced chicken and vermicelli though so I poked this out of the squid and ate that instead, leaving the tough squid behind.

Deep fried barramundi – $31.90

A large plate with a magnificent whole fish was set down on the table and we dug in eagerly. The deep fried barramundi had soft flesh and a beautiful crisp skin from the deep fryer and it was awesome because it was deboned as well! It came sitting on a bed of rocket with a nice citrus dressing and deep fried green papaya as a garnish.

Braised pork belly – $18.90

There was a mix-up with one of our dishes when we noted that our braised pork belly never arrived. It turns out that it looked similar in appearance to the cinnamon duck dish, so the waitress thought we had already been given our pork belly dish when she saw the duck on our table. After we explained what had happened, the braised pork belly was brought out a few minutes later. This dish was noticeably less well-presented than the others and to be honest it tasted like it had been reheated in a microwave with the greens being wilted and the dish being altogether very hot compared to the others we had eaten. It tasted almost exactly the same as the cinnamon duck dish but with pork belly, and although the pork was tender enough the dish lacked a depth of flavour that I usually associate with braised pork belly dishes. We were starting to get full anyway so we left this behind and I sort of regret chasing up the dish in the first place since it was a disappointment.

Although there were a few hits and a few misses with the food, it was mostly an enjoyable experience. It certainly seems popular with the locals since it was full to the brim on a Saturday night and I saw them having to turn away people or having them sit out in the freezing cold. I would definitely go back for more of that soft shell crab and I would want to try more of the dishes on their extensive menu. Time to reintroduce my tastebuds to Thai food, I think!

Red Spoon Thai Restaurant
Shop 7, 6-14 Castle Street
Castle Hill NSW 2154
Ph: +61 2 9899 1338
Open 7 days, 11.30am – 10.30pm

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Red Spoon Castle Hill on Urbanspoon

22 thoughts on “Red Spoon Thai Restaurant, Castle Hill”

  1. Oh no, you don't like kaffir lime? But I'm with you all the way on the coriander and chilli thing. Lol, I didn't know this restaurant existed… even though I only live 15mins away. Oops! But yay, I found a local Thai place!

  2. Haha I'm the opposite to you, I looove Thai food but I tend to steer cleer of them because everything has peanuts in it! That soft shell crab looks great, good to know there's a thai place near my work!

  3. It took a Thai friend to get me to really appreciate the complexities of true Thai dishes beyond the usual green curries and massaman beef. I love all the Thai restaurants in Thainatown, aka around Pitt St and Goulburn St, and I love kaffir lime leaf! And coriander. And chilli. Hmmm….. lol

  4. What a shame about the rubbery texture of the squid as the dish looks so appetising. Love Thai food and I think it is due to the coriander and kaffir lime LOL.

  5. I do love a good Thai meal for all the reasons you don't so most of the beautiful pics had me drooling, big shame about the squid though. During my apprenticeship I worked with a Thai chef who used to make the most delish 'staffy meals' so I've been a true convert for years.

  6. I'm glad I'm not alone then! Well I've learned to like Thai, but it's still not my favourite cuisine and I still sometimes struggle with fresh coriander and I definitely struggle with chilli! These dishes look fantastic though!

  7. Deep fried barramundi looks superb omg i went to thai terrific in bondi, they took out more than half of the fish and it still costed me 32$ i got jipped =(

  8. My friends who live in Castle Hill always complain the area is barron of decent restaurants so it's good to know you found a decent meal.

    I LOVE Thai food having spent some time living in Bangkok. There are hundreds of dishes that don't have kaffir lime and lots without coriander. Definitely re-introduce yourself to Thai food! ;-)

  9. I'm okay with kaffir lime and a moderate amount of chilli, but it's coriander that's my kryptonite! And I'm intrigued by those blackened potatoes – what happened to them?!

  10. glad to see you enjoy thai food.. i think there's enough variety there for everybody.. making me miss my holidays last nov in bangkok!

  11. Thanks for this review, was only talking about this new restaurant the other day and was wondering what it was like! I work in the towers so its very close!
    Haha and to Karen @ Citrus and Candy, are you serious about just finding a local Thai, even if you live 15mins away, nearly every 3rd restaurant in Castle Hill/Baulkham Hills is Thai! :-)

  12. The food looks nice!!! I usually go for pad thai when I'm in a Thai restaurant but omg that cinnamon duck looks absolutely amazing!!!!!

  13. Even though I can't handle too much chilli, I still love it! haha. I've been to Red Spoon in Gladesville, and the crispy soft shell crab was my favourite too!

  14. Hi Karen – Nooo kaffir lime has a funny taste to it I think lol. Haha it's been ages since I've been to Castle Hill since I moved away from that area so I don't know what's new and what's not… the Max Brenner was new for me!

    Hi Stephcookie – Aw yeah it sucks that there's nuts in a lot of it and I'm guessing that they always "forget" to omit them as well even when you ask!

    Hi Helen – Funny thing is I have a Thai friend who doesn't really eat Thai food because he can't take his chilli! I think I may need to find another Thai friend to introduce me to the wonders of Thai cuisine :)

    Hi joey – I think it is the same one, on their business card it has another restaurant listed in Gladesville.

    Hi Sara – Haha it seems like those who do like Thai food love it for the same reasons that I don't like it!

    Hi Anna – Yeah the squid does look good hey but sad that it wasn't quite cooked right. I need to find someone to convert me to Thai asap!

    Hi Maria – Oh yay and I was beginning to think there was something fundamentally wrong with my tastebuds haha

    Hi Simon Food Favourites – I think the one in Castle Hill might be a new place. I do like to enjoy a meal without the camera sometimes but I think if I went to Longrain I would be kicking myself if I didn't document it because I'm sure the food would've been amazing!

    Hi Dolly – Aww how come they removed half the fish?! That sucks, but yes I agree that deep fried barramundi (or deep fried anything for that matter) is awesome =D

    Hi Richard – I think I'd have to agree with your friends there since I used to be hard-pressed to find a good restaurant when I lived around that area! But perhaps times have changed :) I would really love to visit Thailand when I get the chance!

    Hi mademoiselle délicieuse – Oh yes coriander… I hear that it's a genetic thing whether you like it or not but it's strange because both my parents love it yet my sister and I hate the stuff! I believe the potatoes were put on some sort of grill or something? In the menu the potatoes have grill marks although the potatoes that we got had rather strange grill marks…

    Hi thang – Yes I was quite pleased to see that there was such a large selection that even I could enjoy Thai food despite my dislike of kaffir lime and coriander

    Hi Carly – Glad you enjoyed the post! I'm not that familiar with Castle Towers anymore so I had no idea that the place was that new, that might've been why it was so full that night with customers!

    Hi Trisha – Yeah whenever I go for Thai I tend to stick to the ol' favourites like pad thai and pad see iew haha but it was good to try some new things for once!

    Hi Betty – Haha if the dish tastes great I'll battle through the chilli heat to eat more of it! I seriously have to go back for more of that soft shall crab, it was so good!

    Hi Obesebaby – Do go and try it out, I'm keen to know what you think of it! Make sure you order the soft shell crab, it's a winner :)

  15. Just had our first Red Spoon Thai….oh my, how disasppointing. Green & Penang curries were watery, no complexity of flavour and the meat was more for decoration than substance…and so rubbery. Pad se Iw was stodgy and flavourless and the cinnamon duck was all fat and no cinnamon flavour. The mushrooms were inedible.
    Essentially, if you like mass-produced sauce poured on a variety of vegetables so that every dish tastes the same, you’ll be at the right place. I’d say the best local Thai around Castle Hill is still Pimarn Thai. To get a really good Thai, travel to the city.

  16. Hi Ezzie – how sad that you had a disappointing experience there. I agree that when I had the cinnamon duck there wasn’t much cinnamon flavour and that some of the dishes weren’t quite up to scratch.

  17. I’ve been to this restaurant several times and I really enjoy it! The food always comes out really fast and is always consistent! I love the cashew nut noodles. The last time I went (a few weeks ago now) I ordered the assorted vegetables in mushroom sauce and oh my god I’ve been craving it ever since.

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