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Published April 28th 2013
The servings are as modest as the name
Considering there are about a million (give or take) Thai restaurants in the inner west alone, and a whole lot more throughout the rest of Sydney, naming your restaurant The Best Thai is a pretty big call. But that is exactly what this little Leichhardt restaurant has done. Whether this was a clever marketing ploy or rather a case of absolute self-assurance I'm not sure, but the orange sign out the front declares loudly to passersby that this place is the best.
And I have to admit, a name like that does make it pretty hard to walk by. Sure, it might seem unlikely, but you can never be too certain about these things, especially going on outside appearances alone. One of the most authentic Thai places I knew of in Sydney (which, sadly, has recently closed down) was so nondescript I often wondered what led me to venture in there to begin with. And by going in you will either confirm your suspicions that it's not the best Thai in town and be able to act all superior in the knowledge that you were right or you really will end up eating the best Thai food in Sydney. So it's a win-win situation really.
On that note I decided to try the place out for myself.
The first thing I noticed as I climbed the stairs was the amazing smell emanating from the place. Inside looked a little cramped and it was a beautiful day, so I grabbed a table on the front porch overlooking Norton Street, which is lined with potted chilli plants. There is also an upstairs dining area and quite a large courtyard out the back, for those who prefer to escape the hustle and bustle (and the noise) of the busy street.
It took a little while before anyone came to take my order, but I later discovered that this was due to the fact that the waiter was pulling double duty in the kitchen. Despite the delay in ordering, the meals came out quickly and were piping hot. It should also be mentioned that the service was very friendly although it was visibly very busy.
True to its name the Hot and Spicy Noodles was sufficiently spicy, if not a little on the salty side for my taste. The Pad Thai, on the other hand, did everything it's supposed to, but nothing more than is necessary. Admittedly, I didn't try any of their specials, as they were all of the seafood variety, but nevertheless I didn't have any reason to think that this Thai was a cut above the many others in the area. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't at all bad, it just wasn't exceptional and the name definitely suggests that it should be.
On the plus side both of the meals were very generous servings, and looking around I noticed that everyone else's meals also looked to be of a decent size, which is not always the case with cheap lunch specials. The restaurant is also licensed, so you can grab a couple of Singhas with your meal without byo-ing.
Leichhardt, and Norton Street in particular, is known for Italian food rather than Thai. If you're in the area and not in the mood for pizza or pasta, you could definitely do worse than stopping by at this cosy little spot, even if it doesn't live up to its name. But really, that would be a huge ask.