When I was growing up in Perth and looking for a take-away meal, we had the choice of Chinese, chicken and pizza. Fast forward a couple of decades and Perth is now represented by most cuisines, Thai featuring prominently and with good reason.
Lanna Thai in Subiaco was voted by the Sunday Times as one of Perth's Top 10 Thai restaurants in 2011 and has a number of gold plates to its name (albeit a few years back). It has a reputation for authentic food and friendly service, and if you like a gilded dining room complete with fish tank and wicker chairs then you will be very happy.
We turned up on Lanna Thai's doorstep a few minutes before opening time of 5pm on a Saturday. We have three small kids: dinner time for us is when most normal people eat lunch. But on seeing us with a baby in our arms, the friendly staff opened the doors and let us in.
Since it was a hot summer's day, we had decided to stay away from the heavy curries and noodle dishes. Instead we were looking for a light, fresh Thai salad. We were in luck as Lanna Thai has ten on the menu, packed with fresh herbs and vegetables and not a drop of coconut cream in sight.
Most of the salads are $19.90 (a few are $16.50) and as such they are not the cheapest option, but they are full of flavour and very fresh. We chose the Yum Pla Krob ($19.90) which was crispy fried fish pieces served on a salad made with herbs, green apple, plenty of chilli and cashew nuts. For our takeaway the fish came separately, which meant it didn't go soggy with the dressing.
There was too much red onion for my personal liking, but the salad had a punchy dressing with enough heat to notice but not enough to destroy my tastebuds for the rest of the meal. The apple was a brilliant foil to the heat of the chilli and the substance of the fish and cashews.
We also chose the Yum Nua ($16.50) which was grilled beef salad made with mixed herbs, cucumber and tomato. There was so much beef, it was brilliant value (especially compared to the fish), and even though I wasn't initially convinced that tomato belonged in the salad, it went well with the cucumber and this dish was definitely the winner of the night.
We had also ordered the Gai Hor Bai Toey ($9.50) an entrée dish of four pieces of chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves. The chicken was meant to be marinated and perhaps it was, but despite being wrapped in the leaves, the chicken was dry and stringy. The size of the chicken pieces was impressive and once it was swimming in the dressing from the Yum Pla Krob it had plenty of taste, but on its own, it was very disappointing.
If you are wanting a more typical Thai meal, then the menu also offers a range of curries ($16.50-$19.90), stir-fries, rice dishes (pineapple fried rice $13.00) and noodles dishes (Pad Thai $13.50). There is also an entire section of vegetarian dishes ($14.50).
If you don't know the area, you will find Lanna Thai at the back of Subiaco Mews, a pocket of shops on Hay Street opposite the Colonnade. Parking within the Mews is paid within 9am and 9pm, which is a bit rich, but now you have been warned, you will probably find free street parking nearby.