Porkfat is a new Thai restaurant in Sydney's Haymarket with a unique Thai menu. The basis for cooking is pork fat, as the name suggests used in place of oil which gives the food added flavour. This small restaurant is quickly growing in popularity ever since it opened in November 2022. So what is it like?
Porkfat is the baby of chef Narin "Jack" Kulasai from Saraburi in Central Thailand who formerly worked at Long Chim and Nahm (David Thompson's former restaurant in Bangkok). Porkfat a small restaurant seating just 30 people (which makes bookings really sort of essential). It is located right next to the Woolworths Metro in Haymarket near Market City. There's a small front section positioned opposite the open kitchen but the bulk of the seating is on the mezzanine level. Sophia and I are sitting right opposite the kitchen this lunchtime. And a tip: try lunchtime for a table as dinners tend to be booked up ahead of time.
There's a very, very small list of wine and BYO is encouraged. For softer options there's Thai milk tea and some basic soft drinks available. The food menu has around 13 dishes available and one dessert with quite a few gluten free and dairy free options. Service is lovely and delightful from all of the staff.
Tamarind Wings $15
We start with some tamarind wings that come as a serve of half a dozen winglets with a fish sauce caramel and plenty of crispy garlic with coriander on painted ceramics from Wiang Galon in the Chiang Rai province in the north of Thailand. They're piping hot and fresh and the sweet and salty sauce makes them very moreish and we end up doing this dance with our fingers blowing on the wings but still going in for another bite despite the heat.
Baked Tiger Prawns with Vermicelli $28
Two of the most popular dishes are the following two dishes (we couldn't quite fit in the fried pomfret which is also very popular). The baked tiger prawns and vermicelli are cooked in pork fat, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, ginger and Chinese celery with little pieces of pork fat cubes. The spicy garlic and chilli condiment is served on the side as Sophia doesn't eat spicy food (which is a shame as it gives the noodle dish a lot of flavour). The prawns are a little dry and could be a bit more luscious although overall this is a very solid dish.
Grilled Pork Jowl with Smoked Chilli Jam Nib $31
My favourite dish and the one that I kept going back for again and again was the grilled pork jowl with smoked chilli jam nib that is a smoky, dark chilli condiment that you dip the lusciously fatty pork jowl slices in and eat it with a fresh mint leaf. The pork jowl by itself gives you the luscious texture but it's these two other additions and the tamarind and line make this seriously addictive. Then the roasted ground rice gives it a nutty quality that totally wins you over.
Amphawa's Homemade Coconut Ice Cream $15
There's only one dessert and it's a beauty. It's Amphawa's homemade coconut ice cream topped with crunchy, darkly roasted peanuts, slippery, glossy palm seeds and candied pumpkin strips. But what makes it so moreish is the salt in the coconut ice cream that makes you come back for spoonful after spoonful.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you enjoy cuts like pork jowl? And do you ever cook with other fats other than oil?
This meal was independently paid for.
33 Ultimo Rd, Haymarket NSW 2000
Tuesday to Sunday 11am–3:30pm, 5–10pm