It was one of the standouts that changed perceptions of food court eateries back in the day. It was the newer younger sister site to the Balmain establishment and the portions, quality of dishes and overall configuration of the complex makes you forget you’re in a shopping mall food court. Management said they’er able to pass on savings to customers as they have a very good relationship with their supplier who source ingredients for both restaurants. The portion sizes are quite generous, with prices of their premium dishes approximately 25-30% less than a standard casual restaurant in the area.
It was pure instinct that led us here, and the entree as good as it was, was what we were expecting when unwrapping the duck pancakes. Standard filling with a possibly too oversized wrapper but that would be nitpicking. $7.90 for 3 pancakes.
Admittedly, expectations were adjusted so low, that as each dish came out, genuine surprise and yearning to devour each dish ensued. You wouldn’t usually associate this dish with Thai Cuisine, but it is very much part of the rich tapestry of its food history.
This is a step up from standard salt and pepper anything through the dressing up of the soft shell crab with accompanying tie dipping sauce and colourful specks of green and red chilli that add character to its presentation ($19.90). The batter is composed of egg and coconut milk and its served on a banana leaf. Common in alot of South East Asian delicacies, did you know that when a hot dish is placed on a leaf for serving it can absorb the healthy benefits that you would get by eating it? Banana leaf is said to prevent intestinal ulcers, help with appearance of skin, cleanses the blood and can also boost one’s immune system.
Traditional Thai cookery involved stewing and baking, or grilling. The influence of Ancient Chinese stir-frying and deep frying are prominent in the edges of Thailand closest to Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s also one of the healthier options from the richness of other Thai dishes. The Salmon blends with an understated sesame dressing ($21.90) on a bed of grilled greens.
Another dish that really helps to create a different kind of dining experience typically not found in standard food courts is the lamb shanking of our old friend Massaman. At just $21.90 they’ve managed to create a decent sized dish that makes it very attainable for the average joe with this being a personal favorite several times this week alone. Typically of the three “true” curries of Thailand, its the Green (basil cilantro) based curry is the preference, followed by Red (chilli based) and Yellow (tumeric based). But what tops that list is the Persian influence sub section of Thai curries – Massaman (pictured below) and Penang because of its sweeter taste with the use of spice and peanut. The size of the lamb shank is roughly the three quarters the size of a 500mL Mount Franklin water bottle. Heaped on top are twisted crisps of sweet potato. The Egg Net filling of seasoned mince is very simple but what lifts it to realms of beauty is the egg lattice casing ($10.90) and crown of leaf lettuce makes for a compelling starter.
The mixed seafood green curry ($15.90) is cheaper than the standard meat (beef/chicken) proteins which working on a sliding scale and to be completely honest, felt a little frugal in terms of seafood to vegetable ratio. Excellent flavour though which made the rice so much more enticing to have on its own.
The whole grilled calamari ($15.90) was fine on its own, it promised a lime chilli dressing but there was way too much salt on the salad dressing with an overpowering fish sauce flavour coming through. This is still a recommended dish, as this has only disappointed once out of the four times we’ve had this dish.
Variety, spice and a lot of life, distinct regional styles are showcased which don’t all just involve coconut milk – locations in Balmain and Broadway Shopping Centre.
A look back at Pepperseeds:
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