Tongue Thai’d



date of visit: Friday 16 December 2011

There are some places I eat at where the service is so good it helps me gloss over inconsistencies in the food. And then there are some places where it’s all about the food. Tongue Thai’d would be one of the latter.

So do you want the good (the food) or the bad (the service) first? I’m going to start with the bad so I can end on a positive note.

A friend had booked a table for eight for a Friday night before Christmas. Now, I know December is party month and everywhere is booked out but once you do actually have that booking you rather expect that everyone will be able to sit at the table. I think we were very lucky that person number eight didn’t arrive, because she would have had to have been paper thin to fit between the table and the wall or she would have spent the entire meal having people (staff and customers) push past her. Yes, Tongue Thai’d is extremely popular, but I do feel that the management’s eagerness to serve as many people as possible rather outweighs the restaurant’s physical size. People might enjoy their meal just that bit more if they had a bit of wriggle room. I’ve seen some sites describe the restaurant as family friendly but having been there I certainly wouldn’t turn up with a child that needs a high chair!

Aside from a rather squeezy table, the service, at best, can be described as adequate. Some staff were a lot more on the ball than others and I think the issues we experienced (missing drinks, the bill taking a long time to arrive) could be rectified easily by employing one or two more people and perhaps having well defined sets of tables that are looked after by individual staff. Our friends who are regulars here did say that since the modest expansion of the restaurant the service has taken something of a battering.

So now the good. The food. Which did land on our table in a timely manner and the staff, and kitchen, did cope with our requests for additional dishes with no problems. Being in a group, we started with a selection of entrées including an excellent crispy rice ball salad which everyone liked so much we had to order another one. We also had spring rolls, Thai samosas (quite different from Indian ones) and fish cakes. Everyone was happy.

For main courses we ordered the signature dish, the Tongue Thai’d eggplant. This was crispy aubergine with a sweet and sour sauce and chicken mince. That description really doesn’t do it justice. It’s the dish everyone raves about and it really is worth trying. At my insistence, we ordered another aubergine dish from the specials menu – more crispy aubergine but this time with fish, chilli and garlic. I liked this dish even more. In fact, I would go back for this alone.

We also tried the prawn and mango curry – not something I would ever have ordered myself but also really good, as well as the whole flounder.

After rather a lot of food, we somehow found space for desserts. I ordered the hazelnut meringue with apricot and cream and the only other person I’ve discussed dessert with tried the sticky toffee pudding. I liked the fact that the dessert menu made a real effort at the non-Thai dishes, but we did both feel that we could have done better making our respective desserts at home. But let’s face it, how many of us go out to Thai for the desserts?

It was lovely to go to a Thai restaurant that features some different dishes on the menu (more aubergine in Thai restaurants please!). Apparently Tongue Thai’d focusses on northern Thai cuisine which, on the basis of my visit, I’d say is something we don’t see enough of in South Australia. Having said that, more conservative Thai eaters aren’t left behind and the menu does feature the staples of Thai restaurant food such as pad thai, and green, red and massaman curries.

There’s plenty of food and, once you do get the bill, it is reasonably priced. Just be aware that you will need to book, the restaurant can be a bit cramped and noisy and the service … well, it’s casual. But once you have some crispy aubergine you probably won’t care.

Unfortunately, Tongue Thai’d doesn’t have a website (grumble, grumble) but you can you see a menu online here and it does have a facebook page.

Tongue Thai'D on Urbanspoon

Manee Siam

Thailand: Bangkok

photo by puuikibeach

date of visit:  Tuesday 25 October 2011

Manee Siam happens to be more or less over the road from a friend’s house so it’s quite a surprise it’s taken us so long to get there. I have to admit that I’ve often wondered whether or not the restaurant is open – one of its street front signs looks unbelievably worn and tattered for an open business … It turns out it is very much open for business and after a bit of a false start (double booking by me – ouch!) we finally made it for a very early (6pm) dinner on a Tuesday night.

Even at this early time we weren’t the first people in the restaurant – another family had beaten us to it! We were quickly settled at our table with proper table linen and high chair and plastic cutlery and crockery thoughtfully provided for the baby.

With a baby in tow there’s not usually very much mucking around when it comes to perusing the menu and choosing food. With beers at hand, we settled on sharing some entrées before the mains. We started with spring rolls and fish cakes which, if we’re being brutally honest, were really nothing special at all. In fact, after the meal we all admitted that we were a little bit worried about the rest of the meal. The fish cakes in particular were the chewy, rubbery type that you can’t help thinking have gone straight from the freezer to the fryer and been just that bit over cooked.

But we all held our disappointment in check and our main courses soon arrived. I had chosen the hot chilli pork: a stir fry with green beans, capsicums, chilli paste and basil. At a ridiculously cheap $12.50 the portion size was perfect and there was plenty of heat from the chilli paste along with sweetness from the basil. The dish wasn’t overloaded with beans or capsicum as a filler and wasn’t drowning in sauce. I was very pleased.

Also at our table we had a beef massaman curry which passed its test with flying colours – especially on the beef tenderness front. And Andy had the seafood combination stir fry with basil which he cheerfully polished off. Both of these dishes came in at just $15 each.

Service was perhaps a little slow – it wasn’t an issue for us because we were dining so early on (although, by the time we left around 7:30pm, quite a few additional parties had arrived) but I can see how this could pose an issue at busier times. For me, the slowness of service was made up for by attentiveness and thoughtfulness: no restaurant yet has brought out dedicated baby friendly tableware and the staff were all friendly and helpful.

Of course, the icing on the cake was how ludicrously cheap and good our meal was. We spent $30 a head, which included a generous tip (so we could easily divide the bill by three!) and included the entrées, mains, rice, one dessert (ice cream and lychees – I don’t think you need a description of that!) and drinks. If you were trying to save money you could easily leave having spent less than $20 a head.

We don’t eat Thai very often but we’d be more than happy to return to Manee Siam and I suggest you try it out too!

Manee Siam Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Prawn Pad Thai

Prawn Pad Thai

date:  April 2010

Pad thai is such a staple of Thai restaurant menus that it’s something I’ve never thought of making at home.  To be honest, I very rarely even order it.  But we had some prawns in the freezer and I found a simple pad thai recipe on the UK Delicious website.

At short notice we weren’t able to pull together all the ingredients from the local supermarket, so you may want to consult the original recipe.  However, we were really impressed with our finished product so don’t panic if you can’t rustle up all the ingredients.

I started by soaking some rice vermicilli in hot water.  I suspect that I either did this for too long (or the noodles spent a little too long in the wok) because they ended up rather short and clumpy – so I advise you to read the instructions for whatever noodles you use!

Make a dressing by mixing together 1½ tbsp fish sauce, 1½ tbsp palm sugar (we found this in our small local supermarket and I really recommend seeking it out – the taste is amazing and distinctly caramel like), and 1½ tbsp of rice wine vinegar. This is the sweet/sour/salty combination that Thai food is well known for.

Heat some oil (we use peanut) in a wok and add chopped garlic (to taste) and one chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes and then add chilli flakes (also to taste – I opted for hot!) and then the drained noodles. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then push to one side. Now, tip a lightly beaten egg into the wok and scramble, before mixing in to the noodles.

Mix through the dressing before adding your prawns (or chicken, or vegetables – no reason why you can’t turn this into a vegetarian pad thai!). Toss well to ensure prawns are cooked (if green) or warmed through (if already cooked).

Finish with chopped spring onions and serve dressed with chopped coriander.

How easy is that?

Make more than you think you’ll need – I was expecting leftovers for lunch the next day but we scoffed the whole lot in a single sitting!