Tag Archives: Inner West


The Bach Eatery


The closure of Newtown’s Spencer Guthrie late last year left us with one less eatery on the every-changing south end of King Street. When old doors close, new ones open, so it didn’t take long before the narrow space was stripped and a new one emerged.

At first glance, the name Bach gives the impression of a classical composer from the Baroque period; but those that are familiar with a certain piece of New Zealand architecture have another thing in their minds.

The bach is a small holiday or beach house. A shabby dwelling made from wood panels, fibro or corrugated iron; with a drop toilet out the back and the rolling surf just metres away. Although, some of the new ones are a tad jaw-dropping.



Owners Darrien and Philippa Potaka have created their own type of bach where one can step off bustling King Street and escape to a chilled place offering booze, food and a cosy atmosphere.

A bit of a change for Darrien, considering he was previously executive chef at Bistro Moncur and Bar 333; and those that remember Level 41, he was Dietmar Sawyere’s right hand man.



A visit to New Zealand without coming across Monteith’s beer would be a rarity, so seeing the brew at The Bach is another sign that the owners are fellow antipodeans. And as for the wine list, well, you could probably guess where most of the wines come from. There’s even L&P for those that like it fizzy, sugary and alcohol-free.

Food-wise, it’s evident that Darrien is behind the menu creation. It may be a tightly edited collection of edibles, but it’s in dishes like the 16-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder (20) that his French techniques shine through. In fact, it was the first thing we smelled as soon as we stepped over the imprinted “Good Times” threshold.

Juicy, melting and loaded with richness; the two blocks of lamb are complemented by carrot purée and brussels sprouts treated in two ways.



There are a bunch of small bites designed for nibbling with drinks: such as oysters, charcuterie and prawn & pea arancini (4). The prawn may not have shined through a great deal in the golden little orbs, but a faint hint of crab bisque did in the aïoli.

There’s a celebration of textures in the beet & heirloom carrot salad (14); all tangled with greenery, fried carrot, hazelnuts, ricotta and parsnip purée.

A slow-cooked egg sits camouflaged by a snow of parmesan in the pappardelle with broad bean velouté (18). Nice, simple flavours with pasta that’s flecked with broccoli. Pity the yolk was on the firm side and didn’t contribute much to coating the pappardelle.



The desserts are limited to a few choices, plus a cheese board for the fromage fans amongst us. The hokey pokey brûlée (10) drew us in immediately because, well, it’s only the Kiwi’s that do the hokey pokey thing.

It’s usually added to ice cream, but the honeycomb element is used to garnish the brûlée here in The Bach. Nice, thick sugary crust over a deliciously silky custard.

So get your jandals on and drop by the Bach, bro, and no need to bring the chilly bin!


  • The Bach Eatery
  • 399 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 8084 4093
  • website
  • Bach Eatery on Urbanspoon

Izba Russian Treats


It’s a little difficult to imagine having to line up for hours to buy a special type of cake or confectionary. And I’m not referring to the likes of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York.

Queuing for hours was a very common activity in the iron clad USSR, post-WWII. Hard times, methinks.

The government had control over everything, even down to the way a particular cake was to be made and sold. State run factories produced such food items from a single recipe, so no matter which town or city you were in, that cake was exactly the same and without any home-cooked or personal flourishes.




They may be vague memories, but owner of Izba Russian Treats – Olga Rogacheva – remembers what it was like in the years before the Iron Curtain came down.

Olga’s love for cakes and baked treats is pretty strong. It was not long after moving here from Russia’s second largest city of Yaroslavl several years ago that she opened her own bakery in Sydney’s Newtown.



Olga’s two chefs, which so happen to be French, do most of the baking; knocking out a steady stream of sweet and savoury breads and pastries, cakes, pies and pirozhki. Whilst all the traditional Russian ingredients aren’t available in Australia, what these guys produce is still the real deal.

The blini is a staple to many Russian families and here at Izba there are two varieties to choose from. Made using buckwheat flour, the gluten-free, slightly-sour pancakes are filled with either stewed beef & caramelised onion or sweetened cottage cheese & sultanas (11). We can confidently vouch for the sweet version – soft and delicate and served with homemade cranberry jam and sour cream.

I couldn’t help but scoff a little sample of the gluten Putin (8.5), a triple layered creation featuring layers of flourless sponge, raspberry-chocolate ganache and gooey caramel. Talk about a sugar hit!




For a great value feed there are the few pies that are big enough for two. A chicken, a mushroom, and this salmon pie (9.5). It’s basically a cross-section cut from a much larger pie with hearty layers of buckwheat, chopped egg, spinach, goat cheese and hot smoked salmon. Those unfamiliar with the taste of buckwheat may find it a tad rich.



With freshly baked koshka, piroshki and poppy seed plushka peering at you from the top of the counter, it’s easy to get carried away with trying more than intended.

One of Russia’s sweet signatures is the honey cake (5) – a layered creation that dates back to the 1800’s, when it was made for the Empress that had an aversion to honey. The layers of soft biscuit-like honey pastry and whipped vanilla sour cream are surprisingly low in sugar, which to me, means you can try another piece of cake!



Perhaps a tiny kartoshka (4.5) cone of buttercream and ground biscuits, coated in cocoa? Nah, I had to try the Izba (9).

It gets its name from the traditional wooden cross-log hut that was first built in the 8th century – an architectural marvel of old-time Russia.

The cake takes its cues from this traditional wooden hut with amarena cherries that are rolled in dough and stacked into an izba shape with vanilla-laced sour cream. The cream itself isn’t too sour, and instead the tartness comes from the juicy cherries. It has a very soft mouth-feel and is surprisingly not overloaded with sugar; reminding me of the elaborate torte I used to eat as a kid.

One thing, for sure, is there’s bound to be something to satisfy anyones sweet tooth at this little piece of Russia on King Street south.

  • Izba Russian Treats
  • 579 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9557 9437
  • website
  • Izba Russian Treats on Urbanspoon

Burger 10


“10 burgers. 10 countries. An unforgettable burger tasting experience.”

You’ve got to admire a place that sings its own praises.

For the handful of times that the suburb of Glebe sees my face each year, the more recent walks down Glebe Point Road saw me stopping at this joint to read the menu.

I’m not the biggest of burger consumers, but the sound of the offerings at Burger 10 finally drew me in. Even for a second and third visit to try more from the menu; a required task as my significant other, or “the non-burger eater”, wasn’t all that wowed on our first visit.




The first time around was a table for two, and when I say the other half wasn’t all that wowed, I mean it wasn’t all that memorable. A smoked chicken burger (10.95) that (thankfully) uses thigh rather than breast was moist, flavoursome and joined rocket and beetroot with aîoli in its Italian themed burger. Some very slight smokiness came through in the chicken, plus a little lemon, and the regular bun was substituted with Turkish bread.

My choice of braised beef burger (12.5) was the Australian representative of the multi-national burger menu; shredded chunks of meat with a slices of ham, sauerkraut, mushrooms and roasted garlic cheese sauce. It’s incredibly juicy. So-much-so that it dripped incessantly every time it was lifted; rendering the base bun to a soppy mess.

Admittedly, it’s a very odd collection of fillings for an “Australian” burger; especially with that sauerkraut. I think the average Aussie is more in tune with the beef, cheese, fried onion, beetroot and fried egg combination. Perhaps even pineapple, if you really want to push it.



One burger I can confidently vouch for is the barramundi burger (12.95). With the Thai flag displayed next to its name on the menu, the hefty chunk of divine fish is lightly crusted in coconut with a very light drizzle of barely noticeable satay sauce. Apparently the fish is marinated in red curry but none of those flavours really permeate through, which is fine, as the flavour of the barra is the absolute star here. Loved it.

Moving away from the burgers, there’s a bunch of sides that can be included with the burger action. Salads, moussaka, rissoles and fries. I kinda liked the chicken tandoori empanadas (6.5); visibly handmade and served with minted yoghurt.

Another one was the caramelised smoked bbq glazed pork belly (12.5). Chunks of tender meat and fat that are completely overwhelmed by a very jarring glaze so full of artificial smoke flavour that ruined it for me.




Alongside the barramundi burger, the pork & prawn burger (13.5) joined in as the other favourite. This is the Chinese representative on the menu; a well-seasoned patty of prawn and pork mince marinated in shoaxing and ginger, laden with cucumber, spring onion, soy mayo and hoisin.

It’s another difficult one to pick up and eat without making an absolute mess, but the flavours and textures went down an absolute treat. Especially with that steamed bun. It was like eating one big saucy Chinese dumpling, in burger form.


  • Burger 10
  • 39 Glebe Point Road
  • Glebe 2037
  • 02 8283 3878
  • website
  • Burger10 on Urbanspoon

Cuckoo Callay


With the impending Bacon Festival (yes, that’s right, in case you haven’t heard) kicking off at Newtown’s Cuckoo Callay on 9 February, I decided to drop in over several visits to sample a few bits from the regular menu before it gets temporarily modified with all things porcine.

All the exposure these guys have – be it from hundreds of people walking to and from the train station, word of mouth or the constant trickle of write-ups has created a perpetually busy cafe that seems to stand out from many of the others.

And they don’t even have a cronut hybrid on the menu.


Coffee-wise, it’s pretty decent, be it hot and milky espresso-based or chilled and temple-numbing cold drip.

My favourite plate of food has to go to the mother ducker (22). An earthy ensemble of lentils, sautéed spuds and shreds of tenderly warm duck topped with the most perfect poached egg. Pity the shaved asparagus was a no-show and the chilli jam was more akin to a chutney with no bite whatsoever. Negatives aside, this is one bowl of goodness I’d tuck into anytime, despite not getting everything the menu declared.



It’s all about cumin-spiced lamb in the beeting the sheep (19) – rolled in thin pastry and fried until golden and crisp. Some grated beetroot (I think it’s meant to be pickled) and goat cheese provide the condiment-factor, with a little extra crunch from shaved radish and snow pea tendrils.


With many innovative breakfast options, it can be a little tricky choosing without the risk of food envy when you spot something else go to another table.

Cured salmon is always a winner in my books, so I chose it with the #hashtag browns 2.0 (18). Bacon steak or grilled haloumi are the other add-ons. The salmon is absolute perfection and I’m chuffed with the generous quantity of it.

The let-downs? A poached egg that had way too much simmer-time, rendering it to a hard boiled egg. And a pity the bubble and squeak hash brown patty it came with was pasty and lacked any form of noticeable seasoning.


A touch of Americana is evident in the berets, stars & stripes (15) – a rather sexy collection of ingredients that get the tastebuds dancing. Brioche French toast weighed down with maple bacon, whipped ricotta and smear of peanut caramel. A light sprinkling of cornflakes sealed the sugary deal. This one’s a winner.

So too is the chorizo that comes with the speedy gonzalez (18) – strong porky and paprika flavours that, with the fried eggs and beans, make for two rockin’ breakfast burritos. And the lemon-marinated avocado zings up the palate in the process.



  • Cuckoo Callay
  • 324b Newtown Railway Station
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9557 7006
  • website
  • Cuckoo Callay on Urbanspoon

Black Betty BBQ at the Oxford Tavern


Gone are the days of lads flocking to The Oxford Tavern to fulfil some kind of fantasy with bare female flesh and jelly wrestling. The pub had a late-2013 makeover, introduced some on-trend American fare and the devoted Inner Westies followed. Sydney still seems to be rocking with food from our across-the-Pacific neighbours.

Black Betty – that quad-drummed chamber smoker in the corner of the beer garden – debuted her full-time job in July of this year, and has been smoking her meats every weekend since. Brisket, pulled pork, smoked chook, ribs and more. It’s American barbecue, baby!





The natural inclination for many-a-carnivore at a place like this would be to try a little bit of everything. And that we did at this particular gathering of bloggers and plus ones. Foregoing the supplied cutlery and using the implements we were born with; tearing away moist chunks of smoked chicken, shreds of pork, lean slices of brisket and rather dry pork and beef ribs. I’m guessing Betty can be a little temperamental from time to time.

The small bread rolls reminded me of the ones you get in the U.S. – very little substance, a little sweet and powdery to the touch. I got the impression that the smoked pork sausage was one of the favourites; all juicy and studded with fat.

Some much needed vegetation joined the mix and helped cut through the richness. Coleslaw and a kale, broccoli and edamame salad freshened the palate of its smoky intensity. Until, of course, you dove in and sampled some of the sweet-and-smoky burnt end beans.

Probably should have grabbed another one of those $20 jugs of peach mojito.

hnf dined as +1 of Grab Your Fork and as a guest of the Oxford Tavern. 





  • Oxford Tavern
  • 1 New Canterbury Road
  • Petersham 2049
  • 02 9550 9900
  • website
  • The Oxford Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tram Stop Diner & El Cuervo Cantina


When I was out of town late last year I heard that a diner had opened in my neighbourhood. It was news that didn’t really excite me as not only was I in the States surrounded by diners, but I haven’t quite gravitated to the American fast food trend that saturates Sydney at the moment.

On returning to Sydney, I quietly watched the new place on King Street south. Tram Stop Diner never seemed all that busy. Something that often comes down to location, menu and good old word of mouth. Aside from a breakfast menu that was only available from 10am, the regular lunch and dinner menu didn’t veer all that far from a bunch of regular sandwiches and burgers, salads, chicken & ribs and specials. It was time I gave them a go.


The macchiato was pretty decent. Food-wise, I went for a half rack of bbq beef ribs (9) lightly coated in hickory smoked bbq sauce. They looked pretty delicious but the meat was a tad on the chewy side, and more of the smokey bbq flavour wouldn’t have gone astray, either. A nice little cabbage and carrot slaw came with it.

Of the three salads available, the beetroot (14.5) sounded just the ticket. Big hunks of roasted beet and pumpkin, served at room temperature with Persian feta, candied walnuts and micro herbs. A good sprinkle of Kapai Puku added some much-loved crunch thanks to its mixture of seeds, nuts and puffed amaranth.

This wasn’t your ordinary diner salad and it was actually good for me. Loved it. Although, a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing would have made me happy as well.



I never quite made it back to try anything else, but I have noticed the Tram Stop Diner hasn’t been open for a while. Looks like it may be bye-byes for them?

It wasn’t long before things began to change at 609 King Street. The old signage was still up on the windows, but flashes of Mexican signage was appearing and disappearing. What the hell is going on here?

It appeared that El Cuervo Cantina moved from its Enmore Road digs; re-opening in the same space as Tram Stop Diner. The story is that there are two businesses sharing the same address. Diner by day and Mexican cantina by night. As one of the guys that works at the cantina said to me on last visit, “I don’t know what goes on with the diner during the day”.

They’re not connected. They only share a lease. I’m also told that this is Mexican food made by Mexicans. Something they’re clearly proud to announce.


I haven’t eaten Mexican in Sydney much despite the fact that, it too, is just as trendy as American diner food. When a restaurant goes all out with themed décor I tend to (and probably shouldn’t) make the assumption that the food is overshadowed by the over-the-top surroundings. They’re places I find myself avoiding.

No sombreros, “day of the dead” skulls and flashing neons here. And I like it. The menu is simple, fairly small and features the usual empanadas, nachos, burritos and fajitas. Tacos of the day (11) was a line-up of beef, pork and chorizo. No sloppy toppings, just spiced meat with onion and coriander. Very much like the ones I adore from Tehuitzingo in New York. Except they specialise in offal toppings, something I’d love to see here at El Cuervo.

It’s been a while since my last tostada (7), and here at El Cuervo you have the choice of beans, chicken or beef. Crispy corn tortilla topped with torn juicy slow-cooked beef, lettuce, cream and crumbled queso fresco. Simply delicious.

The last chicken mole I had was over a decade ago in Mexico City. I had to give the mole poblano (25) a try here. The chicken breast may have been very dry, but the spiced chilli and chocolate sauce was just as I remember it. Rice, refried beans and chilli sauce come with it, plus an insulated pouch keeping a couple of corn tortillas nice and toasty warm.

My grand plans of returning to try other menu items were halted when I checked their facebook page and learned they were temporarily closed; resolving a few issues with the building owner. As it stands today, they’ve closed for good. Which is unfortunate, as they dished up some mighty fine Mexican.





  • Tram Stop Diner / El Cuervo Cantina
  • 609 King Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 8021 3486
  • Facebook
  • Tram Stop Diner on Urbanspoon
  • El Cuervo Cantina on Urbanspoon

Brewtown Newtown


“Where are all the books?” says a young mother in a surprised and panicked tone, as she turns and pushes her stroller into what she thought was Berkelouw Books. The look on her face was priceless.

That’s the thing about Newtown. Turn your back for a few months and you’ve got something new happening. What was once a warehouse filled with books and a lofty cafe has been transformed into Newtown’s latest address for coffee, food and a thing or two to buy.

Brewtown Newtown is the newest venture by the folk behind Gnome in Surry Hills. The bones of the warehouse have been retained and subtly sectioned into a variety of seating, an open kitchen and coffee making counter.



The coffee sure hits the mark. It may just be an introductory offer, but if you lift your cup and see a coffee bean motif on the saucer, rather than the regular gnome motif, a free coffee is coming your way. Looks like I was a winner!



The breakfast menu offers the regular muesli or egg dishes but there are few more creative delectables if you want to step away from the conventional. Beetroot cured ocean trout (15) was they way to go, on my first visit. A slice of toasted rye sourdough, generous smear of smashed avocado, watercress, Persian feta, beetroot relish and some glorious ruby ribbons of ocean trout.




The second visit was geared for the lunch menu. A bunch of sandwiches sounded tempting enough but it was the braised rabbit (15) that stood out from almost everything else. Slowly cooked with veggies and tomatoes and spiced up with cinnamon. A flavour combination that could easily be mistaken for a Moroccan tagine. The meat is sweet, tender and beyond generous for the price point. The polenta “crouton” on which it rests is more like a soft baked wedge of polenta that absorbs all of the glorious juices. And the poached summer plum is the perfect accompaniment.

The other go-to dish has to be the duck ravioli (16). Two very large and very plump pasta pillows loaded with shredded and slightly sweet duck meat. Porcini and wild mushrooms bring a rich earthiness, and a light dribble of truffle oil over the shaved cheese is enough to make you salivate before you even get a taste.




There’s no dessert menu as such; just a small glass cabinet tacked to the end of the counter, displaying a few pastries and muffins that are made in-house. Now it may not be from New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, but the cronut here at Brewtown has already become one of its more popular items. Forget the fork that comes with it, as eating something like this involves the fingers. Layers of light croissant-doughnut pastry that’s doused in cinnamon sugar. It’s worth getting sugar all over your face for.



Upstairs is O’Connell Street Merchants, a collaboration of independent fashion, design and lifestyle concepts and a soon-to-open gelato and affogato bar. There’s a florist, Samantha Robinson porcelain, TokyoBike bikes, homewares, stationary and accessories from The Dan300 Group, ici et la deck chairs and sustainable clothing from Tluxe.





How about one more cronut teaser?


  • Brewtown Newtown
  • 6-8 O’Connell Street
  • Newtown 2042
  • 02 9519 2920
  • website
  • Brewtown Newtown on Urbanspoon

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers’ Markets



Having the Eveleigh Farmers’ Market closest to home may be a good thing, but it’s always nice to have a choice of where to pick up farm-fresh produce when I’m in the mood to part with more of my cash than normal. A mere 20-minute walk from home is Marrickville’s Organic Food & Farmers’ Market, a buzzing little spot that seems to have grown somewhat since I last set food in the precinct. This place is like Sydney’s Wynyard Station at 8.30 am on a weekday, just sans the suits. You can barely move without bumping into an organic-looking Inner Westie donning a tote bag in one hand and jumper-wearing pooch in the other.



One thing I noticed is much of the produce in unpriced, so it’s a nice surprise when it’s time to open the wallet. That’ll be $5 for that bulb of garlic, thanks, and welcome to organic life in Sydney.

There’s a decent variety of stalls that tempt us with their freshly cooked goodies along the shaded and congested walkways. Dumplings, grilled sausage sambo’s, noodles and vegan-friendly fare.


And that would be Paddy’s Irish potato bread in the above pic. Potato, butter, flour and salt. I’m thinking butter is high in the proportions, judging by the colour of it. Yes please!




As you tread towards the car park-end of the market, things begin to look a little flea market-like. Used books, plants, records and vintage clothes and housewares. There really is something for everyone.





  • Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets
  • 142 Addison Road
  • Marrickville 2204
  • 02 9999 2226
  • Every Sunday 8.30am-3pm
  • website

Osteria di Russo & Russo


Our little part of Sydney seems to be on the up and up. King Street south is seeing as many closures as there are openings, and every time I walk up Enmore Road I spot something new. Mind you, Enmore Road didn’t get much of my attention in the past, but things are set to change.

The other half requested newcomer Russo & Russo as the birthday dinner pick, a blink and miss it place that looks to be your average sheer-curtained shopfront on this gritty strip. It appears to have been part of the Enmore fabric for quite some time but those window curtains haven’t even had time to gather dust.



Vinyl tunes and raised voices fill the dim, candle-lit space and some supremely warm service makes you right at home. The menu comes pasted in the first pages of old books; a little confusing to begin with but if you’ve been to one of those cafe’s that use Golden Books as menu’s, you’ll get the drift.

Yes, there’s a la carte going on, designed to share and brought out one plate at a time, but it was the chefs selection that stopped us in our tracks. 4 courses $40 or 7 courses $65. Bargain. $5 corkage. Even bigger bargain. But to state the obvious, if we chose the same dishes straight off the regular menu, the value works out the same per person. Providing the size of the dishes isn’t bigger when ordering a la carte.

Seven courses it was, and to be honest, I didn’t even look at the individual dishes. We were informed that we could pick and choose what we wanted as part of our spread. Like the sound of the ragù? Then ask them to work it into your meal. I like their style.

One thing that couldn’t be altered was the Port Stephens oyster starter. Shame. The other half doesn’t eat them so they were both mine. Apple mignonette dressing and all.


Appropriate to the current season, and appropriate to my appetite was the insalata bietola. It’s here that it became evident that kitchen ring-leader Jason Saxby did some time with some top shelf chefs. It looks pretty; artfully aligned the way chefs are presenting their food these days. Salt-baked beetroot, balsamic, cumquat, pomegranate, rye crumbs & beetroot chips. It’s artful in the mouth, as well.



When it comes to the humble risotto, many people don’t seem to get it right. The Russo & Russo specimen hit all the right places for us. Rice grains that still have a bite, and a shallow bowl that still retains its liquid. It’s far from the gluggy mess we’re all used to seeing. Jerusalem artichoke and truffled parmesan. A glug of extra virgin olive oil, some pepper, you’re laughing.


There was something about the zuppa di pesce that didn’t win me over. It comes pre-arranged in a bowl; blue mackerel, mussel, fennel, bottarga (salty pressed fish roe) & fregola, with a thick sauce/soup poured over the top. Lovely flavours and textures but it was barely warm when it was time to eat it.



I found it a struggle to share the next dish. Petto d’Anatra. Duck breast, king mushrooms, hazelnuts, cavalo nero, puffed spelt and a delicious slick of duck jus. My only gripe is that I wanted more.



It has been a while since I last enjoyed a cheese dish as much as I did with this one. Formaggio. Simple name; not so simple on the palate. We’ve got Parmigiano-Reggiano panna cotta, grapes, spiced pear, walnuts and sopa syrup. Perfection.


The home stretch, of course, involves a bit of sugar. The rocher, for starters. Some rapidly-melting milk sorbet, chocolate hazelnut brownie, milk jelly and thin chocolate biscuits. Once again, I didn’t want to share.

Finally, as we both receive some complimentary walnut liqueur, a final plate is given to us before we hit the pavement. A tuile topped with rose water-scented white chocolate & goat’s milk, candied cumquat and light dusting of salt and black pepper. A little something to remind us that we need to return real soon.


  • Osteria di Russo & Russo 
  • 158 Enmore Road
  • Enmore 2042
  • 02 8068 5202
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Taylor Thai Restaurant (closed)

I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointment when I walked into Taylor Thai. Nothing to do with the restaurant, just the fact that businesses don’t seem to survive in this location. It comes as no surprise, really. Being tucked away beneath an apartment building isn’t cause for concern, but when the apartment building is off on some side street away from through traffic, vehicle or pedestrian, things become an issue. Yes there’s word of mouth, social media and hundreds of residents in the immediate vicinity, but quite often that just isn’t enough.

Cafe Scrumptious wasn’t around for long in this same space, neither was Straits Kaffe, which is a shame as I really liked the food at Straits, so I can only hope this newish Thai place breaks the gloomy trend. Word has it the chef hails from Spice I Am, so it was this word that prompted me to put on my thongs, grab the other half, a bottle of booze and walk the five minutes it takes to get to Taylor Thai from my house.

The menu is in pamphlet form, the kind you get in your letter box, and I couldn’t help but utter the words “It looks like any Oz-Thai menu you get up and down King Street and anywhere else in suburbia”. Curry puffs, tom yum goong, green curry, pad Thai … really? I dug a little deeper and settled on one of the salads, of which there are six choices. Wise move as I craned my neck and peered into the kitchen, spotting one of those big clay mortars sitting on the bench, surrounded by ingredients. This was a good sign.

Anyone that’s been to Thailand would have seen those young girls and aunties out on the street pounding som tum and the like; pounding, layering and adding each ingredient until a deliciously crunchy, juicy and spicy salad is created. Ok, to be honest, the som tum ($11.9) here at Taylor Thai is nowhere near as prik-hot as the ones in Thailand but it’s pretty damn good. Green papaya, tomato, dried shrimp, garlic, peanuts, chilli, lime … you know what I’m talking about.

The selection of entrées is as predictable as ever. Fried spring rolls, curry puffs, pork satay, fish cakes and a couple of others. Deep-fried chicken wings ($5.9) sounded just the ticket. I thought they may have been tossed in something before they were scorched in hot oil, but no, all we have is chicken wings fresh from the fryer. Crunchy and dry with sweet chilli. That is all.

It’d been a while since my last choo chee ($11.9) so I thought it was time to revisit this creamy and golden curry. I usually go the seafood route but somehow it ended up being chicken; coated in a light batter, fried until soft-yet-crispy and generously doused in choo chee sauce. The spice indicators hover just over the mild levels so it’s not too destructive for those with aversions to a bit of prik. I really liked this dish, as I did the pad prik king crispy pork belly ($13.9). I mean, how could I not do pork belly when there are three dishes on the menu that feature it? I’m not one to play favourites but, hold on, yes I am. This was my favourite dish of the night. Thin bits of pork, green beans, a good slug of chilli ( I mean prik), threads of lime leaves, nubs of crunchy pork skin and a gorgeous dry sauce of shrimp paste, fish sauce and whatever else was in there.

Lips tingling. I’m happy. And I’ll be back.

  • Taylor Thai Restaurant
  • Unit 1101/12-14 Eve Street
  • Erskineville 2043
  • 02 9516 0729
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