Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published February 10th 2015
Putting on my best Thai, licking off my plate
Regular readers of these modest tours through the jungle of modern Australian dining will have noticed that it is my habit to chat about the decor if the food doesn't bear description.
My first thought going into the Bangkok Noi Thai Cuisine was 'I hope the food's good, the decor isn't too elaborate.'
Masaman Curry at Bangkok Noi (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
As it turned out the food wasn't good, it was excellent, even spectacular. So you have been spared a lyrical description of beige walls and beige bare wood tables.
The little restaurant, only very recently opened is scrupulously clean, neat and simple with some dozen tables inside and a couple outside on the side walk.
Simple, but effective decor at Bangkok Noi (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The restaurant offers both take away and dine in for lunch Tuesday to Saturday (10:30am to 2:30pm) and dinner seven nights a week (from 4:30pm).
I always feel a trifle fraudulent writing up Thai food as I know so little about the manner in it becomes transported from produce to delectable meals.
My daughter-in-law elect is trying to train and educate me but it's a slow, uphill battle. I overcame my problem by asking the server what she recommended. Her manner was perfection and charming with a smile you could warm yourself by and her suggestions were excellent.
Delectable Curry Puffs at Bangkok Noi (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
We began with a serve of vegetable Spring Rolls and Curry Puffs each ($7.90 per serve) - delicious, and the pastry on the puffs just melted in the mouth, the filling rich and lightly curried. Served with a small salad and Sweet Chilli sauce.
This we followed with three main courses shared between the two of us so we could try a fair range.
With help, we ordered Masaman Chicken Curry ($14.90), Pork Pad Thai ($13.90, Crispy Duck Ginger Shallot ($19.90) and a small Steamed Rice ($3.50).
Crispy Duck Ginger Shallot ($19.90) (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Several things struck me about the food - firstly the speed at which it came out of the kitchen. Considering that nothing is from the stock pot and everything is put together as ordered I was amazed that they were so fast. It was admittedly a slow night, but even so.
Secondly, the quality of the ingredients were truly impressive. Considering the price of the dishes one might imagine that chef might be tempted to skimp - but no, everything was absolutely top class fresh food.
Pad Thai Pork at Bangkok Noi (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Thirdly the fresh, light, flavours of the dishes. Even the curry seemed fresh and light on the tongue. The crispy duck was just superb, the skin truly crispy and the meat succulent, the dressing sauce subtle and tasty.
This was a dish I have not eaten before, but whose acquaintance I was happy to make.
The Pork Pad Thai was as good as I've had anywhere and better than most, better even than I had in Darwin, which has the best Thai food outside of Thailand. Thai cuisine is ideally suited to that climate.
Less so to Perth, but in the humid heat of last week we might be excused for thinking we were in some sub-tropical resort.
Deep Fried Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
For dessert we ordered Deep-fried Ice-cream which comes with a choice of Caramel, Chocolate or Strawberry toppings.
We went home replete, carrying our doggie bags of food we simply couldn't cram down, happy and full of good food.
On our next visit we are going to try some of the other dishes - The Pad Bamee, the Pad Lard Nar, Choo Chee Curry Fish, Tom Khar and Somtum. The very names sound delicious.
It is my sincere hope that if this restaurant becomes a huge success, as it certainly deserves to, that they don't spend the money on doing up the decor, but in wages for help so chef in the kitchen can continue to produce the kind of delectable provender he or she currently is.
Service was swift, the food was amazing, the price was moderate and the seats were comfortable - what more could any diner possibly want?