Chat Thai – Possibly Sydney’s Hippest Thai Restaurant. Used To Be A Lot Better
[Sydney, Australia] One of the hippest places to dine in Sydney is a Thai restaurant. Of course, the definition of ‘hip’ is nothing but universal, especially in an Aussie context.
Located right opposite Capitol Theatre near the heart of Chinatown, Chat Thai may redefine your impression of the typical Thai restaurants if you have yet to be in this part of the world.
The queue just to get in was extremely long. We took about an hour during the weekends.
Chat Thai opens till 2am, where many restaurants close early enough. Well, except maybe the Asian operated ones. My tip, come AFTER 10pm, BEFORE the musical opposite ends.
Plus, there are always supper items at a cheaper rate.
The first thing you do there is to check for availability of a table. If you see a line, quickly take a pen and write your name CLEARLY on a waiting-list by the door.
DO THAT FIRST.
Ask for estimated time, and come back 15 minutes before. If not, just wait around, because they can always give the table to the next customer.
Once inside, you should experience energy, two floors of dining area, exposed brick walls, quite cramped spaces, and lots of plates going around. (Not in any order).
Some history: Chat Thai was established in 1989, family owned and operated, sources ingredients from Thailand.
The menu is extensive, anything from Todt Mun Goong Prawn Cakes (AUD$14.90), Som Dtum Green Papaya Salad ($12.00), Gaeng Keaw Gai Green Curry Chicken (AUD$14.00), Dtom Yum Goong (AUD$19.00), Padt Thai (AUD$13.00), to Sticky Rice and Mango (AUD$8.00).
There were 10 of us at the table. The comments ranged from “So good”, “very delicious”, to “not authentic enough” and “over-rated”.
I liked Chat Thai enough in the past, so much so that I came here a few times a few. However, in a recent visit, I thought that all the dishes ordered were either too salty or the seasoning tasted off.
Most of the time I liked its Ba Mee Mhu Daeng Barbequed Pork Egg Noodles aka Wanton Mee (AUD$12.00, smaller portion for AUD$6.00 at supper) and Beef Glass Noodle Soup (AUD$6.00 only when I came during supper).
This time, when I ordered a dry Wanton Mee. A wrong order of a soupy noodles arrived. After informing the waitress, a ‘new’ bowl was sent to the table, well with perhaps a third of the bowl still drenched wet in soup.
I leave it to you to draw to your own conclusions.
To compare, I asked for another dry noodles, and this time it was indeed dry, but the seasoning was just too sweet.
It made my heart sink a little, that a restaurant I used to like in the past, would deliver this. Maybe it was just that day, or the inconsistency.
The edge of Chat Thai is that the restaurant served individual yet large enough portions. And seafood, meats, vegetables were fresh.
There was a different in quality of the beef and pork used here, even when you would compare to Thailand.
My friends liked Chat Thai as we do not get restaurants like this back home in Singapore, while dining Thai actually feels in, happening, forward.
The energy there was infectious. Just that food was much better a year or two back.
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