Tag Archives: food

Thaitown’s best asset – Chat Thai

I made the announcement to a group of close friends. There was a deafening silence at first and then the reprimands began. ‘You haven’t been to Chat Thai? Like, none of the Chat Thai’s?’  No, I whisper. ‘But you love Thai food?’ I try to defend myself by explaining how the first time I tried to go it was a 2.5 hour wait. But it was pointless. The group were unanimous in their decision– there was no excuse.

I may not have dined there but I do know all about Chat Thai’s founder and owner – Amy Chanta. A migrant success story, Amy moved to Australia in the early ’80s, leaving her two small children in Bangkok with a Chinese nanny. Two years after working as a machinist, Amy finally had enough money to bring her children to Australia. Stints at U-thong in Cammeray and even McDonalds gave Amy the skills to open her own restaurant and so the Chat Thai empire began.

Each dish is overflowing with fresh herbs and vegetables

Unlike most restaurant chains, each Chat Thai outlet offers something slightly different. There’s the Chat Thai at Manly Wharf – delivering piping hot takeaways to hungry office workers who’ve just jumped off the ferry and then there’s the flash new Westfield one – tucked beside Xanthi on Level 6 – with its super cool dessert degustation delights. Tonight we’re at Haymarket – where a late night supper menu feeds shift and hospitality workers until 2am.

A must order – khanom buaing – sweet thin wafers are filled with meringue and threads of candied egg yolk

Chat Thai’s Thaitown offers an ever-changing menu that specialises in market food from different regions of Thailand, bridging the gap between takeaway and fine dining. Start with fried fish cakes or gai satay, following by the popular crying tiger – char grilled beef with smoked chilli and tamarind relish. The pad ki mao with roasted duck comes highly recommended, as does bpla raadt prik – a whole snapper deep fried and served in a roasted chilli and garlic sauce. Throw in a green papaya salad and a chicken larb and there’s your DIY Thai banquet. If you don’t want to expand your culinary repertoire then there’s always pad thai  and we are happy to vouch that this is undoubtedly the Rolls Royce of all pad thai’s.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Chat Thai here

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Best new cookbooks

With four glorious days up your sleeve this Easter weekend, now is the perfect time to have some fun in the kitchen. Here at Best Restaurants, it goes without saying that love to dine out but our passion for food doesn’t end there – we are also keen cooks.

Here are 3 new gorgeous cookbooks (and our favourite recipe from each one). Follow the link to download each recipe.

  1. Mum’s Jam Tart from My Mother’s Kitchen– Guy Grossi ($49.95; Penguin Books).

1. Mum’s Jam Tart

  1. Chilled Pea Soup With Crab Salad And Black Olive Oil from Manu’s French Bistro – Manu Fiedel ($49.95; Penguin Books).

Chilled Pea Soup With Crab Salad And Black Olive Oil

  1. Alaphias Chocolate Cake from Best-ever baking recipes – David Herbert ($49.95; Penguin Books).


Alaphias Chocolate Cake

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Restaurant Review: Watts on Crown

Just like a cafe in Paris, the dream behind Watts on Crown is to create a one-stop-shop for every dining desire. The man behind this vision is chef and owner, Hamish Watt, who cut his teeth at none other than Neil Perry’s Rockpool and who has spent the last decade working in the Britain. With wife and front-of-house, Tiffany, the duo hope to transform the old Vespa site on Crown Street into a neighbourhood hangout with a wine bar, formal dining area and a top-notch bistro menu.

The elegant upstairs dining room

With two-levels, the restaurant’s space is a combination of bar, cafe and dining areas. Upstairs acts as a formal dining room with black and white walls, wooden floorboards and rectangular mirrors framed with heavy gold lacquer while downstairs offers a latte-sipping scene with an open counter bar and a mix of both stool and table seating.

Owner and Chef Hamish Watt, with wife and front-of-house, Tiffany.

The menu is similarly multi-faceted with an array of small plates available throughout the day and then separate breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The food is classic bistro fare, with dishes such as chicken liver parfait, scotch eggs and goats cheese stuffed zucchini flowers however, of worthy mention was an entree of ceviche with a seawood and sesame salad. A wasabi oil lined the plate, creating a bitey zest to the toasted sesame. The roast barramundi had a crisp skin, while the flesh was moist and rich in flavour. A fennel puree was rich and luscious while julienned snow peas created a welcome crunch and freshness. There is also a strong emphasis on native ingredients with one of their signature dishes featuring a roast kangaroo loin with roasted beetroot, poached rhubarb and Agro Dolce sauce.

Roast kangaroo loin with roasted beetroot, poached rhubarb and Agro Dolce sauce.

Offering over 100 wines, most of which are available by the glass, drinking at Watts on Crown is not going to break the budget. If you are dining upstairs, guests can also BYO at $6 a bottle. This family-friendly local restaurant also offers offsite catering and the entire space can be booked out for functions up to 60 (upstairs).

With renovation plans in sight, Hamish and Tiffany have hopes to create an alfresco dining area out the back, complete with a small herb and vegetable garden for the kitchen.

Anna Lisle

Watts on Crown on Urbanspoon

Read more about Watts on Crown here

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Filed under Reviews, Surry Hills, Watts on Crown