Sydney’s best Thai restaurants are turning up the heat with authentic flavours and contemporary takes on traditional favourites.
￼It’s the all-day, all-night (including the wee small hours) spice-driven heartbeat of the city. The go-to Thai for Sydney’s best chefs, Chat Thai has been dishing up its mix of traditional and innovative food for more than 25 years (there are six sites in Sydney). Its long communal tables place an emphasis on shared feasts and the crowd within its exposed-brick walls is as colourful as the delicacies coming out of the open kitchen. The menu is enormous – and, really, it’s hard to go wrong – but start with simple chicken satay skewers and prawn cakes with pickled plum sauce. Jump into a green papaya salad with pickled crab then sign off on the best pad Thai in town.
20 Campbell Street, Haymarket; (02) 9211 1808
It’s the cocktail lounge of the Thai culinary world. From the team behind such gems as The Apollo and Cho Cho San, Longrain is as much about a big night out in Sydney as it is a fantastical feast of contemporary Thai. Wet your whistle in the bar with a Ping Pong – lemon-infused vodka, passionfruit, lychee and lime – then join a communal table in the industrial-style dining room for a ride through the sharp, sweet and spicy flavours of South-East Asia. If you’re in a group, order the banquet and let the chefs feed you or choose your own adventure. Prawn, pork, peanuts and cucumber fill the signature eggnet starter. Sweet, rich caramelised pork hock is balanced by chilli vinegar, while a slab of brisket stars in an alluring massaman curry.
￼85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills; (02) 9280 2888
Spice I Am
￼Authenticity can seem more spin than fact these days but stalwart Spice I Am has been giving Sydneysiders a true taste of Thailand for more than a decade. Sure, this hole in the wall has some of the usual suspects (pad Thai and massaman beef) but its willingness to take diners on a pungent, spicy and fragrant tuktuk ride through Thailand is the secret to its success. You might need to queue but once you’re inside, pull up a pew and succumb to the intoxicating energy in each dish. Stir-fried pork belly with Chinese greens is a must. Deep-fried snapper with tamarind sauce is ideal for sharing and, for those wanting something refreshingly spicy, the crisp rice salad with pork sausage and ground peanuts packs a wallop.
90 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills; (02) 9280 0928
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