To any traveller that's stepped foot on Bangkok's steamy streets - Sukhumvit Soi 38 will stir up a faint recollection if not many fond memories. It's the name of one of the city's best-known food streets; loved by both tourists and locals. In Adelaide's it's where you'll find the city's best example of Thai street food - from the Issan region in the north, through to Bangkok's central cuisine and the Malay-style curries of the South.
Sukhumvit Soi couldn't have more fitting owners - two ex-tour guides who spent years travelling through South East Asia paired up with friends who share a love for Thai food. It also helps that Terry - as well as spending years as a tour guide - grew up helping out on his Aunt's street food stall in Northern Thailand.
The food is the closest you'll get to eating in Thailand. Salads are packed with fresh, punchy herbs; dishes are dotted with chilli and are served not just spicy, but Thai spicy; and well known dishes like Pad Thai and Thai green curry are pushed out of the spotlight to make way for lesser known "Crying Tiger" beef rump or crunchy Bangkok style chicken wings. Familiar dishes are still on the menu, but there's just so much more to try.
One of the best ways to eat is by following the pinto menu. A selection of dishes picked from the regular and specials menus to give you a full sampling of Sukhumvit Soi's offerings. The set menu starts at $38 per person, with an extra $8pp getting you dessert and an extra $20pp getting you matched wines.
On to the wines. This isn't just a haphazard list thrown together to suit those partial to a bit of vino. With family connections to one of SA's best-known wine bars, the wine list has been carefully curated to make sure you've got the best white to go with your larp and a good red to suit that spicy sausage. If you know your wines you'll easily find a good drop, but if you don't staff are knowledgeable about what works well with the menu.
Sukhumvit Soi have a strong commitment to not only local and ethical ingredients, but to making sure that there are a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options available. They'll also try their best to cater to other dietary requirements. This doesn't just mean they chop up some mushrooms and throw them in a nondescript sauce. There is a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu, and multiple unique dishes based on Thai favourites have been created to suit those forgoing meat.
Desserts and drinks stick to the Thai style, with fresh fruit juices and Thai ice teas suiting both humid Bangkok days and hot Adelaide summers. Desserts are always changing, but fresh fruit sorbets, sticky rice and deep fried fruits are always winners. Keep your eye out for the ice cream sandwich - a street food staple made from a sweet bun filled with sticky rice, coconut ice cream, pineapple, peanuts and topped with evaporated milk. Weird but wonderful.
Sukhumvit Soi is a long skinny restaurant, that manages to fit a lot into the small space. Much like bustling Thai streets, it can get busy and loud - but it's a good fit for the restaurant that straddles the line between casual and classy. The restaurant doesn't put on airs - there's just a focus on serving good food well.