Friday 26 April 2013

Bangkok Rain

176, Rathdowne St, Carlton, VIC 3053

Bangkok Rain on Urbanspoon
What a treat! More people need to get here and enjoy the offerings of this under-rated Thai Restaurant. It's not even that far from the city and is probably one of the best Thai restaurants in the inner north region. This is authentic 'home' cook to order Thai and you can actually let them know how spicy you want your dishes. It's a great family run restaurant. If you have not been there, I suggest doing so now. The flavours are well balanced, the ingredients are fresh and it's not over powering like some Thai places can be.

The Place
This is a small cafe that has a really amazing mural, feels really cozy, and is always clean. It's a bit dark inside but that's part of the ambience. They usually have jazz music going too. I really like the space even though you tend to be seated rather close to other diners. It's also a child firendly space. The one thing that is somewhat difficult is probably the parking around the space - there's not a lot of it and you have to park on the street (Rathdowne and other off streets close by).

Things to do Nearby: Lygon Street is not too far and a 15 minute walk gets you to Brunswick Street. This is close enough to Cinema Nova (no more than a 10 minute walk).

The Food
Yummy Fish Cakes
They have a great selection of curries, stir fries, appetizers, soups and they are good for vegetarians too.

The highlights amongst the appetizers are the Thai Fish Cakes and Curry Puffs with their generous serves of Thai sweet chilli sauce. The Thai Fish Cakes are freshly cooked and balances the fish paste with the crunchiness of the snake beans. The Curry Puffs come with light pastry and yummy filling.

With the stir fries, the various Fried Rice offerings are really yummy without being greasy like so many other places. The other dishes such as the Cashew Stir Fry and the Basil Stir Fry are also good to sample. They are not too sweet and are cooked to order. They can go from really mild to seriously hot - you just have to know how you like it.

I have also had the Tom Kha Gai here which is love, fresh, and authentic (though I would like a bit more tanginess). I have to say that the ingredients are really fresh. None of that pre-cooked meats coated in sauce business that you might find in some places. Therefore, you have to be prepared to wait a bit more than some of the quick and fast food type places.

Fresh Tom Kha
The Service
This family run restaurant it very down to earth with a no fuss attitude. They are always happy to engage in conversation and to explain the dishes. It's all a bit casual and might put off some people but really, this is all very informal and relaxed and I suggest that if you are going there, you need to take that on too. Despite the casualness, I have always found them to be most attentive and willing to help out. If you are lucky, the chef herself might bring her proud creations out to you.

I like the informal feel and the authentic food. It's a place that I am proud to recommend and even most of Urbanspoon readers love it. All the comments seem to be favourable. So, give it a go.

Cultural Moment
Ok - this is a cultural moment with a difference... it's not very cultural but I am inspired to discuss it. The quandary of whether one should highlight a hidden gem and share it with everyone - at the risk of diluting the experience for one self. Should this be done? Should we let everyone know? So, if after reading this - you all start going and everyone has to line up to get in because it gets so popular, then I have just spoilt it all for myself, haven't I?

However, that's not in the spirit of this blog or of sites like Urbanspoon. I think a hidden gem, when shared can become more polished rather than diminished. Here's hoping that they continue to do well and continue to improve and flourish. I look forward to many more outings in the hidden gems I have discovered around town and to share them with you.


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