The power went out in the restaurant just as our meal arrived. A collective initial gasp exhaled as a loud cheer from the room. Soon, waitresses and chefs were buzzing about the restaurant under scattering mobile phone light. Service continued, conversations resumed, they brought candles to tables not near the natural light at the street front window-side tables. No one moved. The Thai cooking at Khao Pla in Chatswood is that good.
It’s a chaotic and haphazard experience from the start. Once it was pointed out to us, we placed our names on the clipboard waiting list and were fourth in line. Immediately we were shown straight to a table ahead of others who waited patiently. One of the four waitresses who looked after us brought some water and glasses, another much later, the menus.
The menu was a comprehensive offer of dishes not usually seen in most Thai restaurants in Sydney. It felt more traditional than modern twist with a lot of focus on seafood – the wok fried pippies was new for me.
The char-grilled baby octopus sticks were dripping with a sticky sour, hot & sweet sauce and inside a surprise mini explosion of an eye-watering spicy paste coated the mouth. The crispy pork belly with beans had a soft delicate meaty flesh covered in the crusty skin that crunched without challenge.
A yum mango salad that had battered and deep fried fish fillets in it had a chilli that kept trying to run away with heat and was all the time brought back into harmony with a balanced sweetness. This stuff was master class.
It’s BYO with a $3 per person corkage but don’t bring booze. Try the lime iced tea with the food instead. I can’t help but feel that those around me drinking last night were really missing on out some flavours.
We finished and the power was still out which made paying difficult as the entire order was recorded and processed on a tablet. It took some time and five attempts, but it didn’t matter. Punters were still coming in, food was still being served (well anything that could be cooked using gas) and under mobile phone torch light people read menus, laughed, drank and enjoyed what is now the new standard for Thai restaurants in Sydney.
A quick dinner for two: $50.
370-374 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood,
02 9412 4978