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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Recommendation’ Category

Baby Mammoth, Northbridge

Baby Mammoth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A work colleague told me about Baby Mammoth. She is vegetarian and raved about a cauliflower dish that they made in this funky little bar on William Street.

Baby Mammoth is in the heart of Northbridge, nestled amongst many Asian eateries between Newcastle and Aberdeen Street, it is indeed a funky little bar. Sporting contemporary artwork, intimate booths and mood lighting, you can come here for a first date or a cocktails and shots evening with friends – it is a very versatile venue. They advertise a plethora of international craft beers on a very large chalkboard as well as some innovative cocktails. The menu has a South African flavour and consists of smaller plates and larger plates, designed to be shared.

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We were pleased to be given a table for four even though there were only two of us – we like to have room for all of our dishes so that we can eat comfortably. The waitress was very helpful and non-intrusive. We ordered two glasses of Clare Valley Riesling and got down to studying the menu, deciding on two smaller dishes and two larger dishes.

The first dish to arrive was a tuna ceviche. Lots of plump tuna chunks, tomato, corn, red onion, chilli and lime juice – this was a stunning dish with a nice spice level. It really refreshed the palate without being too overpowering.

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Then came the smoked fried potatoes with chilli mayo. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of a potato-phile and nothing pleases me more than a perfectly cooked chip, jacket, or roast potato. Well…. baby Mammoth just took it up a level by smoking roast potatoes – who knew? I could have easily eaten the whole plate to myself – very tasty and heartwarming with a definite wow factor.

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Next we had the vegetarian bunny chow – lentil curry with pickled cauliflower, cashews and brioche. It was a South African curry, and we chose medium heat. To be honest, when ordering curries, I prefer them to be cooked according to the heat that they naturally should be, and not given a choice of heat strength because this indicates that the chef just uses more or less chilli. I like the appropriate spices to be well cooked throughout the curry, and for it to be presented as they present it in the country of origin. Having said that, this was a nice curry blend, and the lentils were good quality and well prepared. The brioche was soft and luscious.

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The last dish to arrive was a triumph. Spiced pork ribs with turmeric and ginger sauerkraut. Boneless and beautifully sticky, they had been cooked to perfection – had I not been so full, I would have ordered another plate of ribs.

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So did Baby Mammoth deliver ? Most certainly. I also realise that I didn’t try the cauliflower, date and barley dish recommended by my friend, so I must pay a return visit. There were at least 7 vegetarian options on the menu, and with the extensive drink menu and variety of non-veggie options, there is something here to please everybody.

Read more about Baby Mammoth here.

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Island Market, Trigg

Island Market Trigg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Island Market is the new restaurant right on the beach at Trigg. Situated in the building that used to be Kailis fish cafe, and Trigg Island Cafe before that, it has had a makeover inside. Pastel colours, trees and a lofty airy feel, it still has the great view over the ocean – deal for romantic sunset dinners.

The menu is a tapas style sharing affair with a modern Australian and Mediterranean/middle Eastern vibe.

We chose to start with pita bread and dips. The pitas are freshly made every day and arrived in a quirky pizza style cardboard box. We chose labneh and feta dip and baba ghanoush.

The dips were very moreish, the labneh had a nice garlic hit and the baba ghanoush was smoky with a nice depth of flavour and a sprinkling of sumac and olive oil.

We also chose the crudo of kingfish, nicely presented with piquant tomato, peppers, olives, cucumbers, slivers of red onion and a sherry vinaigrette.

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Next came a small portion of fish and chips – supremely fresh snapper, and served with lemon and aioli:

Even though we were getting full, we tucked into the next two dishes of fried cauliflower with hummus, pomegranate and molasses, and chicken wings, adobo and pickles.

The cauliflower was delicious and the wings had a smoky flavour. They came with some quirky dehydrated hand towels. You pop the little discs in the water and they grow and rehydrate before your eyes:

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We really were too full for dessert but couldn’t resist the liquorice ice cream with dulce de leche and bitter chocolate crumble. I love liquorice ice cream and this version was very well made and packed with flavour.

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A very good meal with a beautiful view and nice wines on the menu. Will I be going back to Island Market ? Certainly yes, but I don’t think we’ll order quite as much this time – the portions were quite filling.

Click here to visit the Island Market website

Paper Avenue, Joondalup

Paper Avenue is a new cafe that has recently opened on the corner of Boas Avenue and Davidson Terrace in Joondalup. It is very clean and modern in style, and the staff are passionate about providing really great food and coffee.

It is an ideal brunch/lunch spot, all food is homemade with love and care.

The menu includes:

Banana bread with lemon zest and a raspberry and star anise compote – absolutely delicious:

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Buttermilk pancakes with raspberries, jam and lemon curd. Very nice although the jam made them taste really sweet and I would have liked some yoghurt or marscapone to even out the intense sweetness of the jam:

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Strawberry smoothie  – again very nice, pretty and lovingly made, but can be a little variable – the most recent version had too much yoghurt and not enough strawberry:

Beef brisket brioche – absolutely overflowing with brisket, with a little special sauce (thousand island style) and apple and mint slaw, tastes lovely and is very filling:

Brisket Benedict – a very nice twist on eggs benny with hunks of bread and plentiful brisket, guacamole and perfectly cooked eggs all coated with hollandaise:

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John, Erika and Justin have created a really stylish cafe here. All food is created with perfection in mind, and they are very friendly owners, always keen to give customers little extras to try – “Here’s some chutney that chef made fresh this morning” is a typical example.

The coffee is great, sourced from Locale in Melbourne, it’s clear that they are prepared to go the extra mile to serve the best. With seating inside and outside, I can see Paper Avenue being very busy through summer and beyond – it’s just what Joondalup CBD needed.

Duck Duck Bruce, Fremantle

Duck Duck Bruce Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tucked away in Collie Street, Fremantle, this is one of the best cafes in Perth. It’s quirky, the food is amazingly good, the staff are lovely, and everything is prepared with love and care.

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When we arrived slightly early, our table wasn’t quite ready, but the staff were really friendly and helpful and did their best to get us seated as soon as possible. The menu is funny – dishes have very amusing names like Orange is the New Stack – a pancake stack with burnt orange curd and toasted almonds or The Dating Game – a cauliflower dish with dates, cavolo nero, kale, maple miso dressing, pomegranate, pine nut and parsley crumble.

I chose a hot chocolate to drink, made with coconut milk. It tasted superb, and came with marshmallows and a little duck shaped white chocolate speckle.

The coffee being served on the day was Five Senses Crompton Road blend – it’s always a winner when Five Senses coffee is in the grinder.

I chose a kind of eggs benny style dish with beetroot cured smoked salmon and potato bhajee hash browns – called We’re all Going on a Summer Hollandaise. It tasted divine – perfectly cooked eggs, crispy hash browns, carefully prepared salmon, spinach, cress and greens.

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My companion chose Beans Beans Good for the Heart – smoky beans, poached eggs, plenty of toast, a lovely cheesy bechamel sauce, a touch of sweetness from the bacon jam and a nice crunch to the cheese crisp. All in all a wonderful dish.20170924_103841

Every mouthful was a joy and I can’t wait to return to Duck Duck Bruce. They do lots of good work in the local community and help to support stray animal homes. You can tell that the staff really enjoy working there. I’ll be back very soon and I might just try the pancakes next time.

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Market Eating House, Bunbury

This is a restaurant at 9 Victoria Street in Bunbury. The outside is unassuming, and old fashioned building with a purple facade, it just blends in to the row of shops, but make no mistake this is a hidden gem.Capture

Inside the restaurant has a homely but slightly industrial feel with exposed brick walls. The staff are really friendly and knowledgeable – we arrived a little early and sat at the bar for an aperitif. On the advice of the bar waitress we chose a glass of Rieslingfreak no 3 which was a very tasty Riesling and an excellent choice.

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The menu is designed for sharing and has a Middle Eastern feel to it. Market’s philosophy is to use sustainable and ethically sourced local ingredients, and the wood fired oven is the centrepiece of the restaurant.

We chose the ‘Feed me more’ menu where the chef selects a variety of dishes from the menu including dessert – this option is $62 per head.

The first dishes to arrive were a basket of homemade bread, hummus with ground lamb, raisins and ras el hanout (which is a spice mix), smoked and spiced nuts, and olives. Every mouthful was delicious and the bread was lovely and fresh.

The next three dishes were equally tasty:

Turkish lamb sausages with pickled onion and cracked almonds.

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Smoked snapper croquettes with caper leaf mayo:

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Harissa chicken wings with a dill yoghurt dip:

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Every dish was very thoughtfully constructed and the flavours matched well. The chef has clearly thought about texture and flavour when devising the menu and the quality of ingredients shines through. We couldn’t wait for the next dishes !

The next set of dishes were the larger, main course component of the meal.

The beef was served with enoki mushrooms, stout, burnt onions and salsa verde, absolutely divine with the beef melting in the mouth.

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The cypriot grain salad with pomegranate and yoghurt was delicious. Who knew that grains could taste so good !

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The kale salad with onion and garlic crisps was also divine, tasty and filling.

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The slaw with cabbage, radish, sunflower and pepitas was very morish.

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Then barramundi fillet with chermoula (a spice rub), broccoli, capers and mint – beautifully cooked with a crispy skin and soft fresh flesh, tasted superb on the palate.

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We finished up with sticky date pudding and home made ice cream.

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In summary, a wonderful meal. Everything very carefully constructed and beautifully prepared. The restaurant was packed to the rafters, and even when we were finishing up around 9pm, more diners were coming in. For a little town like Bunbury, this is a diamond of a restaurant, and somewhere that I would be very happy to return to.

Click here to visit the Market Eating House website.

Vat 2, Bunbury

Vat 2 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vat 2 is a restaurant with a lovely outlook across the jetty at Bunbury, and the menu is quite exciting with a combination of cocktails, share plates and larger dishes. It’s a nice big area with a variety of contemporary artwork.

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20170908_185418I started with a blue cocktail containing galliano and blue curacao – very nice.

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We chose our dishes from the tapas style sharing menu.

The first one to arrive was a tray of asian prawn dumplings, and they were delicious, topped with tobiko (flying fish roe), a really nice umami start to our meal.

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The second dish was pork belly. I generally love pork belly when it is cooked well – it needs to be cooked so that the pork is really tender, and the fat either melting or beautifully crispy. I found myself separating the pork from the fat and the crackling and felt that it could have been prepared with more care. The pork was nice, the crackling was nice, but there was a chewy layer of fat in between that was unpleasant, and I left the fat on the plate.

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We also ordered a salad which was a nice contrast to the meaty dishes. The dressing was good, and there was plenty of capsicum, cucumber and tomato.

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The next dish was a Japanese fisherman’s basket. Fish, squid and soft shell crab in crispy tempura batter with mayo. What a disappointment. Not a massive portion for $26, and it was soggy where it had been cooked in oil that was not hot enough. After eating a few pieces of fish and attempting to cut the crab (which just oozed oil everywhere), we left it. Not pleasant at all.20170908_194537

Lastly we had BBQ chicken ribs which were cooked nicely and had a lovely crispy coating.

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So what did we think of Vat 2 ? It’s quite an expensive restaurant and the menu is full of promise. The food is generally nice but doesn’t deliver on all fronts and not worth the price tag. The waitress did offer a part refund (10%) for the fisherman’s basket but to be honest, taking $2.60 off the bill didn’t really make us feel much better. The dumplings were definitely the star dish, the BBQ chicken was nice, but quite a safe dish, and the rest wasn’t really cooked with the care that you would expect from a restaurant with a sophisticated menu.

It was a Friday night and the place should have been buzzing, but it wasn’t very busy, and I think I know why.

Scents of Siam, Joondalup

Scents of Siam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This restaurant is one of two Thai restaurants in Grand Boulevard/Reid Promenade, Joondalup. They are entirely different in their approach, the other one serving traditional Bangkok fare that you would find in most cafes and hotels in Thailand. Scents of Siam is different – it is a labour of love for its owners. Dan, who manages front of house, is Chinese, and his wife who is the Thai-Chinese brainchild behind the dishes, manages the kitchen. They strive to present a fusion of old and new dishes crossing the boundaries of Thai and Chinese and covering the whole geography of Thailand from north to south.

Generally, I don’t like pan-asian restaurants that try to serve more than one cuisine in order to please everybody, but Scents of Siam doesn’t do this – it brings us a very special insight into the food that the Thai-Chinese communities eat, and if the recipe isn’t perfect then chef doesn’t put it on the menu.

Dan explained the menu to us in detail and he also talked about the journey that he and his wife had travelled to find the location for their cafe. He explained that the dinner menu is still under development – they are new to Joondalup – and very much testing the waters with their unusual range of dishes.

I chose a special drink to start with – a butterfly pea flower iced tea. When presented, it is blue and tastes quite floral:

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Then you add a shot of lime juice, and some theatre happens ! It turns purple and tastes much more fruity:

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For our starters we chose mixed mushroom rice paper rolls. Containing button, enoki, shiitake and oyster mushrooms they were very juicy and tasty. A wonderful start to the meal.20170701_182959

Next was Son in law eggs:

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Wonderfully oozy with a crispy coating and a delicious chilli tamarind sauce, Dan told us the two stories of how they were named. Story 1 tells that a father wanted to know if his daughter loved him more than her husband, so he challenged his son-in-law to a competition where they would cook eggs for her to see which eggs she preferred. He was convinced that his daughter would choose his version, but sadly for him, she chose her husband’s eggs and they became known as son-in-law eggs. Story 2 tells how a lady was cooking at the bottom of her house, which was a house on stilts (built for the monsoon). She accidentally dropped an egg into hot oil but when she scooped it out, she realised that it was very tasty, cooked quickly with a firm white and a soft yolk. She was thinking about what to call this egg recipe when she looked up, and through the gaps in the floorboards she saw her son-in-law walking above, wearing nothing but a sarong, and she rather rudely got the inspiration to call them son-in-law eggs !

We ordered 3 dishes for the main and first up was a delicious chicken penang curry. It usually comes with quail’s eggs, but I am extremely allergic to them, so I asked for them to be omitted. This dish had such a wonderful depth of flavour, that I could eat it again in a heartbeat. Complete with thai holy basil leaves, the brightness of kaffir lime, plenty of good quality chicken, and a rich smooth coconut sauce, it was an absolute pleasure to eat.

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We also ordered roti, wonderfully light and crispy and perfect for dipping in the curry.

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Pad Thai was served with extra chilli in case of need, and was a wonderful mix of noodles, beansprouts, chicken, tofu and prawns, perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious.

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Dan was so happy that we liked the food, and asked if we would like a dessert. We said yes, not knowing exactly what to expect, and we were presented with a lovely thai creme caramel with mango sorbet.

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The creme caramel was sprinkled with nuts and there was a hint of chilli in the caramel. Very yummy and a perfect end to the meal.

The bill was also a pleasant surprise $58 for all this. A wonderful host, lovely food, and very reasonable prices – now I can’t wait to return.

Long Chim, Perth

Long Chim Perth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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This is not a restaurant for the faint hearted. Owned by Aussie Thaiophile chef David Thompson, it is a fun place to go – loud, brash and unashamedly like a street style cafe. The food is authentic in looks, flavour and spice – it is HOT, you know, Silom Road hot, so if you can’t take spicy food, then maybe this is not the best choice for you.

On the Saturday night that we visited, the crowd of diners were mainly groups of young ladies, meeting up for dinner before a night out at the clubs. There is a lively bar area, and it’s okay to meet up just for drinks if you don’t want to eat here. The waitress was really friendly and explained the menu to us, starters at the top, noodles in the middle, and family style sharing dishes around the edges. There is no real uniform here, so it’s a bit difficult to tell the wait staff from everybody else, but all of the staff are lovely once you work out who’s who.

We chose to go for traditional dishes and selected fish cakes to share for a starter.

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They were plentiful, nice small-ish irregular shapes with a lovely dressing of chilli, onion, thai basil, lime and sweet fish sauce dressing. All the elements of sweet, sour, fragrant and hot that you expect from an authentic Thai dish. It did leave a tingle on my tongue though – I am used to hot food, but I couldn’t help thinking that there would be many of my friends who would find it challenging to finish the dish.

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One of our mains was thai green curry. Again, very authentic, I remembered the same flavours from a cafe along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, very tasty, but also very hot again. Even without eating the whole chillies on top, there was a strong spicy warmth in every mouthful.

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Jasmine rice was plentiful and slightly sticky – just like you get in Thailand.

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We also chose crunchy pork – which was not hot at all. It came with a lovely sweet dipping sauce (no picture), and most pieces were delicious with the soft roast pork and the crunchy crackling. However, I did find some pieces overly fatty and I couldn’t eat the fatty part. It was nice to have this dish as a relief from the spiciness of the rest.

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We also chose a glass noodle salad. Lovely slippery thin glass noodles topped with ground pork, squid, prawns, dried shrimp, onions, coriander and herbs, and of course…. a plentiful supply of chilli.

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Everything that we ate at Long Chim was authentic, delicious, and fragrant – definitely the place to come if you are hankering after that real Bangkok flavour with the real Bangkok spice. I loved it, but some will find it challenging and may need to ask for the chillies to be toned down a bit. It wasn’t cheap at approx $130 with just two soft drinks, but it was delightful. I loved the atmosphere, and will be making a return visit.

Samson’s Paddock – Mosman Park

Samsons Paddock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We chose Samson’s Paddock on a bit of a whim. I received an email to tell me that it was included in the Entertainment Book, and the pictures looked nice, so I booked.

It is in Glyde Street, Mosman Park – an interesting building with comfy armchairs, an upper deck and lots of nooks and crannies. We were seated on a high shared table – which I didn’t mind too much as we had booked fairly late, given the choice I prefer a regular height table.

Samson’s serve every drink that you could imagine, and also craft beers – we chose our favourite Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine – and had a nice variety called Lone Goat.

The menu has tapas style sharing dishes and bigger dishes too. We went for the tapas style.

The first dish we chose was panko crumbed whiting and prawn with a daikon salad and spicy aioli dip. The prawns and fish were good quality, a nice size, and everything on the plate tasted good. The salad was nicely coated with dressing – a very nice dish to start.

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Next came wagyu rib fingers with kimchi. These were the star of the meal – beautifully spiced, boneless, rich, melt in the mouth – full of flavour and very very moreish.

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Third we had a citrus salad with oranges, radish and cucumber. It had a nice selection of different oranges, but I would have liked some more slices. Again, every leaf was coated in dressing and it was a salad that had been prepared with care.

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Next came a confit duck leg with kasundi (an Indian tomato relish), ginger and cabbage. Again, presented and prepared with care, the duck was melting and tasty and everything on the plate went well together.

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We did choose another dish, but it was so tasty that we didn’t have time to take a photo. We chose a cheeseboard with brie – it arrived with fruit bread, grapes, figs, and craisins. The brie was perfectly ripe and oozy but the bread was a little stale and I would have preferred some fresher slices.

All in all with our $34 Entertainment book discount, it was a lovely meal and we will definitely be returning.

Lemongrass Thai Kitchen – Joondalup

Wow – what a find – this lovely little family run Thai restaurant is in Reid Promenade, Joondalup, a few streets away from the main shopping centre. It was a little hard to find because there is another Thai restaurant in the same row, and although Lemongrass has a sign on the window, the sign above says “The Food Larder”, so it is a little confusing. If you aren’t entirely sure, it’s the one that is just a door away from Paddy Malone’s.

On the night we arrived, most of the tables were reserved for a party, but the owner found us a table inside. There are also pavement tables. All staff are really friendly and the owner is an Australian married to a Thai lady.

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We didn’t want a huge amount of food, we only stopped by for a quick dinner, but the meal that we had was absolutely superb. We started by sharing Thai chicken wings, which were crispy, meaty and very tasty, served with a sweet chilli dip.

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Our main course included som tam (papaya salad) which we chose to have spicy, and it was very authentic with lovely tomatoes and peanuts, a very fresh spicy tangy dish.

We also chose a chicken penang and rice. The owner recommended the penang as a lovely rich curry and it did not disappoint – again very authentic and had our tastebuds popping. We needed another portion of rice to complete the meal, and this arrived very quickly even though the staff were serving a large table simultaneously.

Lemongrass is a neighbourhood gem – judging by the party table, it looks like the locals have already noted how good it is. I will definitely be returning because it delivered on every detail.

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