Eat Local - Tom Yum Thai @ Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thursday 15th September

This week we're trying Thai, which I've never had before, while jas loves it. On Groupon 'Tom Yum' Balwyn was offering a "nine course banquet" for $34 for two. 

The reason for the quotation marks is cause it's nine dishes, like teppanyaki style-ish. Nine dishes not courses. There are ten plates/bowls, and bizarrely they count rice as a course. But then there are places that sell mains for $16-ish+ that don't include rice, which will cost you extra. So taken in mind it's 8 dishes + rice. Also unlike some other places drinks aren't included, it's just entree and a lot of mains.

Tom Yum is located on a one block shopping strip, with a couple shops, two barbers and some cafes including Snow Pony. On a Thursday night only Tom Yum and the two barbers are open. The only restaurant in the area, one you'd have to seek to find. The chances of spotting it as you drive by are very low. 

 A friendly waitress greeted us as we arrived, the restaurant was about 50% full of parties of four or more, all families, mostly asians. We're guessing that's because we're near Box Hill. This place is also around the corner from us, if you're counting big driveable blocks. It's also in the same tram line as Ikea.

Deep Fried Entrees

We started with deep fried entrees, spring rolls, thai samosas and thai fish cake. Accompanied by real sweet chili sauce, the only actually chili, sweet sauce we've ever had (gotta ask what brand they use). The fish cakes were a bit chewy (jas flipped them off the table trying to cut them XD) and they reminded him of sausage meat. The spring rolls were a couple steps up from being those generic ones you buy at the supermarket with lettuce in them. 

Tom Yum Soup w Chicken

Next was a small bowl of tom yum soup, with a great base. You could really taste the lemongrass and chili. Though the chicken in it was a stark bland contrast and the mushrooms under cooked, slightly raw. 

Green Chicken Curry Cooked in Coconut Milk (Gang Keow Warn)

A green curry soon arrived as our first main, and the highlight of our night (though we also have a pandan sponge in the car :P). I love coconut, so was quite excited about this. Jas, a thai lover, says that green curry doesn't always contain or rather isn't always cooked in coconut milk. So this isn't a baseline. 

The curry was very good (I'd get this again) it was creamy with depth, vibrant with spices. They used chicken breast, when thigh would have been more suited, and there were bones. And we all know once you've munch on a bone or something unpleasant your rate of enjoyment drops dramatically as you carefully navigate your away through the rest of the dish.  

To go with the green curry (and other mains, whoops) was a small bowl of steamed rice and another of glossy coconut rice. Which looked glossy/wet though wasn't, it was nothing we've had before. Extra creamy rice that's a delight. it reminds me of sweet, rice pudding.

I would have thought all the mains would arrive all at once to be served with the rice but nope. Though the next three dishes pretty much arrived at the same time.

Beef Stir Fried w Chili Basil

With a chicken theme for tonight jas was excited about the beef stir fry, which didn't disappoint. Well marinated in an asian style, we both found it very familiar. I've had this dish in Vietnamese Cuisine, and he said it was similar to black bean beef at Chinese restaurants.

Chicken Pad Thai Noodles (Pad Bi Ga Pow)

Pad thai turned out to be a noodle dish that uses rice noodles, aka pho noodles! There was chicken which I thought was egg, as eggs would really suit this dish, though there were little bits of eggs throughout the dish. With a sweet soy marinade this is the sweetest savory dish, and sweetness noodle dish we have ever consumed. 

It was something that held its own light. Which also meant it did not go with the other dishes at all. This dish was sweeter than our unsweetened rice pudding dessert at Gurkhas last week! And sweeter than that cake I have in the car. Though not sickly sweet or anything.

What the hell is with all the green beans?! Jas says they're in season and his go-to veg. I do not like green beans, as they're in almost every single lite n easy dinner!

Stir Fried Vegetarian Lemongrass Sauce

Should we order a salad? This was Tom Yum's salad, with tofu, broccoli, mini mini mushrooms, cauliflower and other veggies. In comparison to everything else it was bland, not from lack of effort though. There was a lemongrass sauce, to be the dressing though instead of being absorbed it just sat under everything, in other words it just slipped off. Also some of the veggies were on the raw side.

While we did make a booking we were still seated by the kitchen, which affected the atmosphere of the space. Sinatra played in the background, but so did a radio in the kitchen. Yeah. There was a door but with the waitress constantly serving up dishes it wasn't closed. It seemed everyone was using a Groupon tonight. 

Service was good though minimal. Oddly we weren't offered the drinks menu? I can't recall the last time when we went to a restaurant and weren't handed the drinks menu. I wonder if they have milk tea?

For $35-ish we were pretty happy with dinner. Yes'd we'd recommend this place in a Groupon, without we'd still say yes. It's a nice atmosphere with mains under $15, a rare dinner cheap eat in this town of Camberwell. We'll be back for that green curry. 

As we live within walking distance on a warm evening we'd like to get take away. Which is the cheaper option. They have main + rice dinner boxes for $10! And there's a few selections to choose from.

Note - $20 card min. Free delivery with purchases over $25*, or flat $5* fee if under. Through Delivery Hero. Update - One night we called up for takeaway, for pickup or delivery and they said they don't do takeaway...

*This info came from their take-away brochure printed in 2013. Wow, they either printed too many or didn't manage to give out that many.

Have you had amazing green curries? 
Are there any hard to find gems in your neighborhood?

Tom Yum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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