489 Keilor Road
Niddrie, VIC 3042
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.
For a restaurant that has been decorated almost entirely in a revoltingly lurid shade of green, the overall effect is a surprisingly pleasant one. But even if it wasn’t, the smiling staff would’ve certainly done the trick.
The stir-fry of Beef Pad Gratiam Prig Thai ($16.5) was not as tender as some that I’ve had, but was made up for by the copious amounts of aromatic garlic and the peppery sauce. It would however have been good to have some veggies thrown into the stir-fry, as there is almost nothing worse than a bed of warm, soggy lettuce.
The Chicken Pad Kee Mao ($14.5) on the other hand was basically flawless. The glossy, elastic rice noodles were seasoned generously with a mouth-watering combination of Thai basil, fish sauce, and chilli. The accompanying vegetables were crisp and fresh, and there was plenty of chicken.
Kao ($3pp) had to be ordered separately, but I did find the jasmine rice served in an ornamental aluminium tureen to be quite the novelty.
Although Saowanee Thai may not look like much, its popularity is certainly warranted. The food is bold and flavoursome, and prices were reasonable for what we got. I would’ve loved some chopsticks instead of the spoon and fork they give you, but hey, when in Niddrie.
Rating: 13/20 – good to be proven wrong.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.