I'm a mother, wife, writer and online store owner. I've lived in the southern suburbs of Adelaide all my life.
Published June 24th 2012
Thai food is by far one of my favourite cuisines; the fresh vegetables, the flavoursome sauce, the spices. So you can understand my delight when I learnt a new Thai cafe has opened its doors in the historic and beautiful town of Willunga, south of Adelaide.
Ampika's Kitchen is situated in an old house and offers traditional Thai cuisine mixed with a hint of originality. The house has been beautifully renovated but still maintains the integrity of the original building. The tables are spread through small rooms which makes the dining cosy and warm.
Upon arrival at the café we were seated at a table next to the fireplace and soaked in its warmth as we sat deciding which menu items made our mouths water the most.
The décor is a mix between traditional Thai and retro including tables and chairs from the 70s and traditional Thai wall hangings that gives the café a warmth and casualness one likes to feel whilst dining with friends or having a quiet night out with your loved ones.
Unfortunately the café does not hold a liquor licence which means patrons can only order soft drink, juice and other assorted beverages as well as traditional green tea but the atmosphere and delectable food make up for that.
As a vegetarian I was impressed with the number of meals which were able to be ordered as a vegetarian option including red or green curry, pad satay, pad Thai and laksa. I'll admit it; I go to Thai restaurants with an open mind and a plan to try something different but more often than not I will end up ordering Laksa. I can't explain why, but it's one of those meals that draws me in with the fresh spices, the creamy texture and the fresh vegetables and noodles. The laksa I had was all I had expected and although it wasn't as spicy as I would have possibly liked, I probably could have asked for it to be hotter.
For those who enjoy their meat there is a wide range of options including pad krapao ("Stir fried sliced chicken breast or tender beef, with fresh seasonal vegetables, chilli, Thai herbs and hot Thai basil"), massaman curry, jungle curry and who could forget the classic red or green chicken curry? There's also Ampika's Kitchen's own 'salt and pepper chicken'.
My husband and a friend decided to try the salt and pepper chicken and were pleasantly surprised. This meal came to the table with fresh salad and I'm told it was delicious, fresh, filling and not too overpowering.
Desserts available include traditional Thai delicacies as well as the more standard options such as moist carrot cake with cream, and ice cream with hundreds and thousands if you've had all the variety and new flavours you can handle for the night.
The staff were friendly, the meals were delivered promptly and all at the same time (there's nothing worse than sitting awkwardly while everyone but one person has their meal – do you wait for their meal while yours goes cold? Do you eat yours and then awkwardly avoid making eye contact with the person who got theirs last as you don't want them to feel pressured to hurry up?)
EFTPOS is available and they have no problem with doing split bills which is a lot easier when you're going out with a group of friends.
I was a little surprised when I called to be told the café has two 'dining times' on a Saturday night, either 5:30pm to 7:30pm or 8pm onwards. I haven't experienced this before and found 5:30pm a little early and 8pm a little late so discussed our options with the owner and it was agreed we could arrive at 6pm as long as we were gone by 7:30pm. I did find this a little odd but the owner told me they have made this decision rather than turn patrons away as they don't have a large amount of space.
The meals at Ampika's Kitchen Thai Restaurant are reasonably priced and the presentation and taste is unsurpassable.