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Published October 17th 2021
A new restaurant option in Goolwa this summer
On leaving chilly Goolwa for a warmer winter in the Sunshine State, I was aware of a new and exciting restaurant opening up in the main street. I practised patience and delayed gratification until my return for the summer when I immediately booked a table at Thai Days.
Friends had raved about the fresh and flavoursome food as well as the ambient decor and excellent service. I knew what they meant the moment I arrived. The brick and timber interior of the restaurant is divided by slatted screens and lit by vintage lights and candles. The buzz of conversation indicated contented diners and the greetings by staff were welcoming. We were shown to a table near the front window and given water and menus to peruse.
Goolwa is Australia's first 'Cittaslow' (Slow Town) and prides itself on an abundance of regionally produced food appropriate to the seasons. OK, so Thai-style food is generally not considered local Slow Food but a spicy change of flavours is nice from time to time. Besides, the Thai Days menu does feature Goolwa Cockles (stir-fried in chilli jam).
In order to experience as many tastes as possible, without giving in to gluttony, my husband and I decided to share two entrees, one main and a dessert. And a bottle of local wine of course. Peking Duck Pancakes with Hoisin Sauce, shallots and cucumber were our first treat. They were good, perhaps just a tad dry, a smidge more sauce would have worked well.
I was hesitant to order Soft Shell Crab as I don't think we grow such an animal nearby and I figured it may have been imported and thawed. The promise of accompaniments by way of Thai Pesto-mayo, tobiko, snow pea sprouts, coriander and fresh chilli convinced me the dish was worth a try. As it happened, this was an excellent choice. Despite its dubious origin, the crab was tender and juicy and the fresh flavours of pesto, chilli and coriander were perfect accompaniments.
The curry menu is mix and match in the sense that diners can choose a curry sauce (green, red, yellow or massaman), then choose from a variety of meats, seafood or vegetarian options. We chose the Red Duck Curry, which was aromatic and full of flavour. It was also quite filling and, for just a moment, my heroic determination to enjoy dessert almost faltered.
After an appropriate interval, we settled on Purple Sticky Rice with coconut cream, ice cream and roasted peanut. I was momentarily transported to a palm-fringed beach in Khao Lak. In my mind, of course.
I chatted with co-owner, Mai, before leaving Thai Days. Mai explained that, despite being confident that her restaurant would be successful, she was surprised at its immediate popularity during the depths of a glacial Goolwa winter. I'm not surprised at all. The summer crowds are coming and Thai Days will definitely be a popular restaurant choice so booking is a must and a wait is probable. The wait will be worth it. I'd make at least two consecutive bookings if I were you; there's plenty of tempting dishes to try.