There's a well known quote from the Australian film "The Castle" that Mr NQN and I occasionally like to say to each other. It's about bargains.
Darryl Kerrigan (father): Jousting sticks? What's he want for 'em?
Steve Kerrigan (son): Make us an offer. Give him a call?
Darryl Kerrigan: Yeah.
Steve Kerrigan: Dad? 450.
Darryl Kerrigan: For jousting sticks? Tell him he's dreamin'!
And when we find out that that seafood curries are a tiny $14 at this little unassuming Thai restaurant in Marrickville we find ourselves crowing "13 bucks for a seafood curry? Tell him he's dreamin'!"
Outside it looks like any other suburban Thai restaurant. A neon "open" sign flashes outside and there's a large plasma television screen stuck to the back wall. A high chair sits at a large table and there is a family dining in the corner. It could be just like any Thai restaurant except that the chef behind it is from Spice I am Polawat Danphasukul and his wife Phanissa Sricharoen is the sweet, smiling face on the floor. We take a look at the menu-legend has it that a seafood curry can be had for $13.90 and we're excited. I realise that my Cheap Thrills $20 and under category hasn't had many entries lately- I started it 2.5 years ago when it was actually possible to get a meal under $20 per person but these days it seems like it's getting rarer and rarer. I had read about it Tina's blog Food. Booze & Shoes knowing that Mr NQN would love it.
We start with the curry puffs which are filled with potatoes and spices and a firm, crunchy pastry. I personally prefer the deep fried puff pastry (deep frying puff pastry has got to be some sort of genius move) and these are harder and a touch drier.
Our salad arrives and looks incredibly fresh and inviting. We spoon some of the salad replete with fresh herbs and flavours and three fat, juicy prawns and thin slivers of lemongrass. It's so refreshing and beautifully spicy so that we start to sniffle between bouts of mmming and aaahing-it's a happy sniffle you do understand borne of chilli appreciation( although this item was marked with a single chilli which makes us worried for the heat in our subsequent dishes).
I do love a good Thai curry and the red curry seems to go well with the seafood. The curry is aromatic and creamy and slightly sweet with the tenderest seafood in it including prawns, squid and mussels. Along with the seafood there's also small round Thai eggplants (a little bigger than a cherry tomato size with a green and white patterned exterior) and pea eggplants which look like peas only larger and starchier with a bitterness to them. It's quite mild in comparison to the lemongrass salad even though this too has a single chilli rating. And because this is so good, we're glad that we ordered the rice for two people as we need a vehicle to soak up the delicious sauce.
There were four pork belly dishes on the menu, the specialty dishes having more meat whereas the two in the stir fried section included more vegetables so we decided to go the healthier route (by comparison - after all it is pork belly ;) ) and go for the option with crispy pork belly, chilli and Chinese broccoli. Some of the pork belly pieces are a bit drier than other but mostly they're soft and juicy and the whole dish reminds me quite a bit of a Chinese stir fry.
I always have room for Thai desserts and this one has a layer of green sticky rice on the bottom and a very sweet coconut egg custard on top. The custard is very sweet, perhaps a little over the top sweet for me but despite this I finish my half.
I was hankering for another dessert so we ordered this not knowing exactly what to expect. In it we get multicoloured chewy rice balls in a simple syrup with a dash of coconut milk. And even though this sounds simple, it has a moreishness that is hard to beat. It is sweet but it's not a sweetness that has you pushing away the bowl-kind of the opposite in fact.
We didn't quite make this into the under $20 category but this was only because we ordered a lot including dessert although I should think that if you ordered sensibly you could certainly get into the $20 per person category so I'm sneaking this in there ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what's your favourite movie moment or quote?
Let's Eat Thai Restaurant
352 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9558 9508
Open 7 days