Level 6, Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt St Mall
Sydney, NSW 2000
(02) 9221 0600
How can it be November already? Seriously, how? October has been one of those blink-and-you-miss-it months. Consequently, I’m only just latching onto the fact that The Hunger Pangs has been looking a little abandoned as of late. And not because things have been ho-hum on the food front. Actually, my calorie intake over the last few weeks has been off the chain (good thing I renewed my gym membership), so I now have a mountain of photos and random notes floating around on my Mac to round up and somehow make sense of.
Anyhoo, fellow foodie G and I have been talking about a trip to Sydney for as long as I can remember, but up until last week, our timing had always been off. As soon as we saw the small window of opportunity arise, though, we pounced, booked ourselves on the next flight out and strapped ourselves in for a whirlwind of food and fun.
We flew in pretty early, so even after the airport shuttle bus ride from hell (our driver was a maniac, my butt still hurts from flying over those airport speed bumps), we had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel. We ambled down to Westfield on Pitt Street and made for Chat Thai, one of the million places on our ‘to visit’ list.
Our hearts sank as we peered into the full house, mostly suits loosening up their ties and splitting from the office for lunch. The only seats available were at one of the communal tables. Communal dining is a concept that I have yet to warm to. I don’t know about you, but I find it really awkward. Sure enough, when we squeezed our way through the crowded restaurant to sit opposite an Asian couple, they shot each other an ‘oh no they didn’t’ look as we took our seats. And I could practically feel their gaze sear through me as soon as I dug my camera out and started snapping away. Good times.
I ordered my usual lemon, lime and bitters but immediately let out an inward sob as soon as they brought out G’s ice blended watermelon juice (and again as two lychee stunners made their way to the table next to us). G was gracious enough to let me have a sip, but if I were her, I would have told me to get my own! It was super pretty and delicious to boot; the perfect drink to have down at the beach or poolside.
Did I mention their menu is a beast? It’s so long, they had it bound and illustrated. We started off with a few of the satay chicken skewers (2.5 each). The crunch of the peanuts and the juicy morsels of chicken coated in a killer sauce amounted to nothing short of awesome. They were even better when dipped in the cucumber, garlic and chilli infused vinegar on the side.
My chicken pad thai (12.5) was good, but not the best I’ve had. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have ordered it because I have outrageously high expectations when it comes to pad thai. You know when you try something for the first time and it’s so mind-blowing that the next time you try it (and each time after that) it never measures up to that first time? That’s me in a nutshell. Sidebar, Derby Thai does a mean pad thai. Anyhow, the ratio of noodles to chicken here was way off (too many noodles, not enough chicken) and the tamarind paste was sadly lost in amongst the strong fish and soy sauce flavours.
After some deliberation, G went with the stir-fried crisp pork belly, fresh chilli and holy basil (13.5). To G’s delight, the pork belly was indeed crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside, but the more she chowed down, the spicier it got, so it was a wee bit of a struggle to get through in the end. It was still a great dish, nonetheless.
While it may not be on par with Chin Chin or Cookie, it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that Chat Thai would be a massive hit with Melburnians. At the rate Mamak is going right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did bring it here. I, for one, hope they do. It was cheap, tasty and authentic Thai fare that I would happily go back for.