One of Parramatta's best kept Thai food secrets. At Spice Gourmet Thai, forget about the fact that you're seated and enjoying authentic Thai food in George Street. It can easily feel like you're alive in a Thai food paradise, as if you've been granted a free flight to Thailand on a culinary journey that will succumb to the senses. That with great company, and you're set for the evening.
Right next door to The Roxy Hotel, it is incredible to suddenly realise that head chef and owner Peter has been running this fantastic restaurant for almost 11 years. Once you take a bite into authentic, spicy food it all gels together and makes complete sense. Although the restaurant is relatively small in size, it is busy with beautiful ambience. It might be easy to think (at first glance) that you're actually stepping in for a Thai massage. This is how welcoming the staff make you feel. Beautiful floral cushions, dark brown walls and Buddha statues make up the simple but exquisite ambience with candles on every table. This time I have died and gone to Thai food heaven.
For starters, a friend of mine and I were treated to two Tasmanian Oysters ($3 each) with lemongrass and coriander relish. The oysters were presented beautifully, and they felt like they were purchased fresh from the fish markets. The relish was strong with a beautiful lemongrass aroma and flavour. This dish is bursting with flavour. So far, so great. The next dish is something unique, and a gamble that is paying huge dividends in the Sydney restaurant scene. That's right, welcome to some sensational Salmon Spring Rolls ($10.90 - 4 pieces) comprising of salmon and spinach wrapped in pastry served with sweet chilli sauce. The fish taste is subtle, yet for the record salmon spring rolls are incredibly unique. The subtle salmon taste blends in nicely with the spinach pieces dipped in some amazing home made chilli paradise.
My friend opted for the curry puffs ($6.90 - 4 pieces) and they were the best curry puffs she has ever tried. I agree. The curry taste is not overpowering and the batter is soft with a smooth texture. No heavy crunchy tastes on this dish.
The mains were equally impressive. My friend is a true 'pad thai' girl, although she loves to explore different Thai cuisines. The Cashew Nut Noodle with chicken was the best Thai noodle dish she had ever tried. Comprising of stir fried flat rice noodles with roasted chilli jam, egg, cashew nuts and vegetables, the noodles did not overpower the dish for a change. Peter was generous with the vegetables and the chicken pieces were succulent and tender. My friend opted for some white rice that arrived in the shape of a love heart, while my saffron rice came in the shape of a flower without it's stalk. Nice one.
Tasmanian oysters with lemongrass and coriander relish
Too often, there are so many restaurants in Sydney that skimp on the core ingredients, no different to a burger or salad being overpowered with too much lettuce. At Peter's restaurant, the meat and vegetable pieces were served in abundance. This is enough to put a massive smile on your face. The party was not over yet. The Red Duck Curry ($19.90) made way for a special dish presented with care and finesse. Not the type of dish that takes up too much table space. The dish came with duck that was well roasted (to the bone) with cherry tomatoes oozing with juice and flavour. Subtle tastes of chilli and lychee were also observed. Strong Thai herbs and basil flavours were also enjoyed in this dish.
The head chef kindly created a few more dishes to our liking including some pork belly with some fresh vegetables and more cherry tomatoes. The flavours were strong. 'McThai' does not belong here, this is the real deal. The prawns in the Prawn and Lemongrass Salad ($17.90) were of generous king prawn size standards with the most flavoursome kaffir leaves I have ever tasted. This dish also came with some home made mint in lemon and chilli jam dressing. These flavours were a match made in heaven, they married well together.
The Spice Gourmet Thai experience would not be complete without some Fried Ice Cream ($11). Little to our surprise, we were expecting a small dish with a scoop of ice cream, and yet a generous four scoop feast landed on our table in no time. The melted chocolate also complimented the ice cream nicely, and the fried batter makes one feel like they are tucking into a delicious coconut bar. Speaking of coconut, my Rich Young Coconut juice ($5.50 - when available) made me one lucky foodie. Too often (in Thai restaurants) most coconut juice is made with oodles of palm sugar - not at this place. To my surprise, my juice landed on my table inside a real coconut with a novelty (purple) umbrella. Despite being difficult to see how much juice I had left on any given, I did not care as the juice was fresh, original and refreshingly delicious without spoiling my food. My friend was in the mood for some Coke instead. Comments uttered out of her mouth such as "I could never do your job as my taste buds aren't as strong as yours" came from someone who loved the strong flavours as much as I did. This is why she settled for the known Coca Cola to drink. It was also great to have been given some water between us. The staff are smart and intuitive. This is important when it comes to dining out.
For awesome food and service, make your next (and future) Thai food destination 'spice gourmet.' Otherwise if you're fortunate enough to live close by in areas such as Parramatta, Harris Park, Westmead and Wentworthville; Spice Gourmet Thai deliver for free provided you spend at least $25. The spice specials are also amazing, and if you're in the mood to customise your own Spice Gourmet Thai food experience, you have the opportunity to do that as well.