I find myself strangely alone in the hallowed halls of EDS this past week as the rest of the staffers spend some time north of the border for a mini-getaway. This would explain the lack of posts of late, as well as the moaning and groaning that’s common around these parts; all food-related, of course.
So while Gem and Tris are out galavanting and sampling the myriad of tastes that Sydney has to offer, and which you’ll no doubt read about soon, I’m here holding the fort in Melbourne and slaving away for another review.
And what better way to do that than to head to a venue that is as far removed from the glamour of the Sin City as possible: my local Thai takeaway restaurant.
Suburban eateries are like your long-time fuck buddies: handy, comfortable, filling and reliable. They’re a guilty pleasure; something that fulfils the need when effort proves too much. A standard that you come back time and again to but not necessarily bring back home to meet mother. And while you may extol their virtues to others, there’s the greedy hope that you’ll one day keep him for yourself and maybe settle down and have two dogs and a cat, and maybe a baby because he has such beautiful eyes and a cute smile and… Wait, I’m getting my metaphors mixed up.
Anyway, suburban eateries.
In the heart of Laverton’s shopping strip, you will find an unassuming, nondescript-looking shop front that leads into one of the southwest’s newest hidden gems. Fresh Chilli Thai Restaurant is your traditional suburban eatery with a twist. Here you’ll find an extensive menu including the usual Thai fares of curries, rice and noodle classics. However, instead of cheap laminex tables, scratchy metal chairs and dust-covered Asian decorations on the walls, you’ll discover a nicely appointed modern interior with homely ambiance. It’s your local Thai, all grown up.
On my Saturday night visit for dinner, our group of four ordered, along with several entrees, a selection of dishes that included red prawn curry, cashew beef, sweet and sour chicken, and prawn and calamari in oyster sauce. All were reasonably portioned with generous helpings of vegetables and meat. A person in the group was surprised to see so much cashews with his beef, being a fan of the bent nut.
My red curry came out in a medium-sized bowl filled with a soup of mildly spicy flavours and slivers of soft bamboo shoots along with plump pieces of prawns. Served over a heap of steaming jasmine rice and it was nomilicious. In fact, everyone commented at how tender the meats and how light the sauces were; a stark difference to the usual toughness and thick sickliness found in other lesser eateries. Certainly, from my previous visit, I found the green chicken curry and red duck to be the same. Even the oft-popular Pad Thai had a lighter and fresher (*groan*) flavour at Fresh Chilli.
Pad Med – lots of cashews and beef
Red prawn curry – the bamboo shoots were delicious
Fresh Chilli is popular with the locals, both as a dine-in and takeaway, and so the place can be a little noisy when filled to capacity. But still, the food will win you over every time. The bar is stocked with several wine listings, both red and white, with a few available by the glass. They also offer a number of imported Asian beers, along with the local brews. My tip, however: make use of the free BYO (that’s right, no corkage!) and bring in your favourite tipple. Whilst not recommended, the table next to ours brought a whole esky along, giving a whole new meaning to the term. That’s the west for ya!
Aptly named, Fresh Chilli Thai Restaurant proves to be a fresh addition to an otherwise lacklustre strip out in the suburbs, and one that you will certainly come back time and again to. Even with your mum.
Fresh Chilli Thai Restaurant is located at Shop 1, 1-5 Aviation Road, Laverton. Ph (03) 9369 3796. Bookings recommended. http://www.fresh-chilli.com.au
More photos over at my Flickr page.