I’ve mentioned before that Thai is not my favourite cuisine, but it’s hard to ignore when someone avidly recommends a restaurant to you. Queen Chu once mentioned that Papaya Thai served some pretty delicious food, so I got together a few friends to see what the fuss was about. The restaurant itself looked great with nice lights and candles (which sadly also made for a dark restaurant and dodgy photos), brightly coloured flowers and comfortable cushions for the wooden bench seating.
I left Queen Chu in charge of ordering and we started with tung tong (moneybags). These are filled with a mixture of chicken, crab meat, peanuts, peas and corn, wrapped with a wonton skin and tied with a shallot. The wonton skin is fried to a crisp and it shatters as I bite into it. The moneybags are also served with a sweet plum sauce on the side.
Nut allergies and Thai food aren’t friends it seems, and even though we ask for the dishes to be served sans nuts, when the food arrives there are clearly nuts garnishing some the dishes. The pad ku-ae with beef was one of these and it had to be sent back and re-made which was done without too much trouble. The slippery rice noodles are stir fried with baby corn, snow peas, asian greens, mushrooms, roasted chilli and strips of tender beef.
A Thai meal isn’t complete without some curries. The panang curry with chicken is fragrant with kaffir lime leaves and red chillies, so it packs quite a bit of heat. The milder massamun curry is wonderfully creamy with soft chunks of braised beef, coconut milk and potatoes. Normally it comes with a sprinkling of crushed cashew nuts as well as the fried onions on top.
The pad thai is beautifully presented with the thin rice noodles folded inside a lacy egg net with king prawns, chicken and bean sprouts. Seasonings such as chilli, sugar and a wedge of lemon are served on the side.
Fried rice typically isn’t very exciting but it becomes infinitely more interesting when it’s served in a pineapple half! The special Thai fried rice is tasty with prawns, chicken and cubes of juicy pineapple throughout. It comes out with the cashews on top at first which we have to send back, but it is replaced quite quickly.
The grilled pork is a definitely favourite and it’s snapped up in seconds. The pork is marinated, skewered then grilled, and then cut into strips for easy eating. Some sticky rice is served alongside the pork strips and I could happily have the whole dish to myself!
I always find Som tum too hot for me and this is no exception. There isn’t much of the green papaya salad on the plate as its also served with some grilled chicken and sticky rice, which is similar to the grilled pork and just as tasty.
We’re still a little hungry so we order some more stir fried rice noodles. This last dish ends up being my favourite noodle dish with the sweet chilli and creamy coconut milk, and it has just enough heat to make the tastebuds tingle. It’s also hard to go past the crispy fried basil leaves which are liberally scattered on top of the noodles.
The service is a bit hit and miss as they are very busy, and we found that it sometimes took a while to get a waitress to attend to our table. However, I would definitely return for the food and I loved the fact that they had an open kitchen where you could see flames rising up from the wok and could almost feel the heat from them. The prices were reasonable, with the total coming to around $20-25pp. Thanks Queen Chu for introducing me to my favourite local Thai restaurant!
Shop 3, 506-508 Miller St
Cammeray NSW 2062
Ph: +61 2 9922 1234
Open 7 days, 5.00-10.30pm