New vegan menu is now available at this CBD Thai Restaurant
Phat Elephant, located in the Brisbane City's Post Office Square, has built up a reputation for great Thai Food and good customer service. They have now launched a new vegan menu to give diners more options, though, of course, you don't have to be vegan to enjoy these flavoursome offerings.
Located in upstairs in Post Office Square, this restaurant is open on weekdays offering lunch and dinner with an extensive drinks, wine and cocktail menu. Most seating is inside the restaurant with some seats outside on the deck overlooking the square.
Phat Elephant is known for its great food and friendly service
This is not your cheap neighbourhood Thai restaurant but one that provides a wide range of great Thai dishes which are becoming more common around Brisbane. With many dishes priced around $15 to $20, it is not overly expensive and you can be assured of better quality and effort. Yes, they have your basic curries, tom yum and pad Thai dishes, but there are many more things for the adventurous to try.
A few notes on Thai Food
Thai food is a unique cuisine, making great use of both local foods and traditions as well as incorporating influences from both India and China in its cuisine to create a unique style of intricate and well-presented dishes. If your understanding of Thai food is limited to this like green, red, yellow and massaman curries, then you have barely delved into the possible flavours. Even people who have been to Thailand end up eating the same few dishes across the country from restaurants that cater to tourists and missing out on the wide range of options.
Phat Elephant has long offered a great selection of non-vegan Thai dishes
What you are getting at Phat Elephant is a great selection of choices from the cliches dishes through to things that are more interesting. One thing to be aware of when ordering food in a Thai restaurant is the level of hotness of the food. In Thailand, the amount of chilli in dishes varies from the mild spiciness of Bangkok cuisine that appeals to Brisbane people through to the "this has to be war crime", level of chill used in some parts of the countryside.
New Vegan Menu
More and more Australians are going vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian (that, is they like vegetables and eat them for most meals, but are happy to eat meat as well) and are looking for these options on the menus. It also helps when going out for dinner these days to have menus that cover all the various bases of people's diets, from gluten-free to vegan.
I was lucky enough to be invited to enjoy a sampler menu of Phat Elephant's new vegan menu. The photos here reflect this in terms of the size of the portions, which were smaller than what you would be served as part of the normal menu. Above is are vegan spring rolls and tofu squares. I quite liked the tofu as it can be hard to find great tofu dishes in Australia. The spring rolls were perfectly cooked without becoming too crisp or soggy. You definitely want to eat them with sauce though.
There are a number of vegan noodle options on the menu. We tried both the Pad Thai Noodles and the Drunken Noodles. Both are great filling dishes with just enough flavours and chilli to enjoy, though chilli lovers will want to ask for a bit more spice when they order.
Of course, they do pineapple fried rice. This is the standard Thai dish that immediately lets you tell whether the Thai restaurant you are visiting is you cheap suburban Thai that never has this or something that is a little special. It is available in both vegan and non-vegan versions.
One of the most interesting offerings we were given was stir-fried vegetables served in an upturned glass. This is a very Instagram friendly dish as when you lift up the glass it releases the steam. Captured on video it is a great shareable dining moment, though the vegetables are a little bland for my liking but great for someone looking for something simple and healthy, perhaps as a shared side dish to go with other meals.
Our dessert option was black sticky rice pudding with coconut milk. The non-vegan option is served with ice cream. This is the perfect example of how authentic food doesn't always work for the tastes of locals. At a table full of mostly local Australians, it was not a popular option, but the south-east Asians at the table loved it. So try this dessert for some authenticity while keeping an open mind.
Cocktails & Drinks
Phat Elephant has a great selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. For non-alcoholic drinks, the coconut milk served by basically punching a few holes in a fresh young coconut is a popular option. For groups, the 2L beer towers or alcoholic slushies in a jug are always popular.
Phat Elephant has a great bar and cocktail service
Phat Elephant is one of the best Thai restaurants in the city and their menu combines the Thai standards most people are familiar with along with more interesting dishes. The vegan options are great for people who want to eat vegetables and it also makes Phat Elephant a great destination for your group as everyone will have something that they can enjoy.
The desserts are worth checking out though most Australians have not yet developed a knowledge and love affair with real Asian desserts, so might find ones like the black sticky rice Pudding not to your taste.