You know what’s clever? Discovering vaccinations is clever. Making cereal out of Milo is clever. And opening Hochi Mama right next door to Rice Paper Scissors is clever. So why is Hochi Mama being where it is such a clever move? Well, when Rice Paper Scissors first opened, its concept of building your own banquet from a selection of dishes for a set price caught Melbourne by storm. These days, you’d be lucky to get a seat there even if you waited right outside for it to open. And that’s where Hochi Mama comes in. Boasting a style of dining very similar to Rice Paper Scissors, it’s perfectly positioned to catch the overflow from next door. Whether this was planned…
It may have technically been Spring for a month and a half already, but that won’t stop the chilly Winter winds nipping at our heels through to Summer (typical Melbs). But I know a way of bringing a bit of much-needed sun to these lingering Winter evenings – Thai Tiki Hut. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants in Melbourne, but Thai Tiki Hut takes the cake for hodgepodge quirkiness. Not content to mix Thai with a stereotypical tropical theme, they’ve also thrown in some (for lack of a better term) war-time glam, complete with retro Thai war films playing on the TV. The result however is not nearly as tacky as you need fear, and the cordoned off booths…
According to Zomato, Nine Elephants is the best restaurant in Docklands. And because you can only go so wrong with Thai food in Melbourne these days, I finally went and checked it out one day after work. Nine Elephants is a little bit off the glittery, bar-studded main strip of Docklands, and there’s no sign either, so it’s a little hard to find. But here’s the trick: look for the pretty spherical lights that dangle from the high ceiling, visible through the glass front of the restaurant. But despite the stately ceilings, the restaurant is surprisingly cosy, and it hits that nice higher-end East-Asian restaurant feel without feeling like it's pandering to the exotic.
Ever since coming back from my trip to Korea and Hong Kong, I have been revelling in the slight drunkenness that comes from the joy of having such a huge variety of food at my fingertips. As great as food in both countries were, it is both amazing and liberating to be able to change my mind half a dozen times throughout the day about what cuisine I want for dinner, and not ruin any plans in the process. I spent my day oscillating between wanting Middle Eastern and Thai food, but the fact that the Lebanese restaurant I’d been eyeing up didn’t take card made up my mind for me – Sabai it was!
A couple days earlier, I was looking for a new place to eat when I came across Saowanee Thai. I browsed through some pictures, read a couple of reviews, one of which included phrases such as ‘I have never eaten such fully sick food in my life’, and ‘Anyone who lives in Thailand needs to move house now because this is the real Thailand’. Needless to say, I was not convinced. Still, the place seemed to have unanimously good to great reviews, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to keep an open mind.
A long day at work calls for Thai food. And either Melbourne is getting better at making the perfect pad grapow, or my standards are getting lower. But I find that I don’t mind either way, as long as my Thai craving is satisfied. And today, my stomach has taken us to Khao San Road, a restaurant named after a street in Bangkok that was formerly a major rice market, but has since developed into what Wikipedia calls a ‘world-famous backpacker ghetto’.