Khao Pla – Chatswood

Khao Pla on Urbanspoon

The top line: If what you’re after is very flavoursome “out of the ordinary” Thai food and you have a palette for things on the spicier side, then it might be worth visiting. However, if your usual order is a pad see ew, a refreshing salad and fried ice-cream at a Thai place, then consider passing this place up. DSC_2180 The background: A group of friends and I walked past this place one evening while we were exploring Chatswood – it was packed, and had an interesting description: “Thai indie kitchen” – which got us wondering how “indie” Thai food could get. Therefore, when another friend decided to have her birthday celebrations here, we were pretty damn keen.

The review: We walked in at 6pm, and hadn’t booked – there was nothing available for our modest group of 5, except the outside tables. However, it was a cold, windy evening so we decided that a 30 minute wait appeared to be the more attractive option.

Banana blossom ($17) – Banana blossom, poached egg, poached chicken, prawns, shallot, dried shrimp and roasted coconut with roasted dried chilli and tamarind dressing

Guys, this was a salad. Where are the greens you may wonder? Well, to answer that question, there wasn’t really anything except banana blossom that fits in that category – and this wasn’t even green. The poached egg was perfect, which burst nicely with the prodding of a fork, with the bright orange innards flowing out and dressing our “salad”. I think the best part of this dish were the prawns, which tasted very nice with some of the egg yolk (but there were only two so some poor souls missed out). I could say that this was very flavoursome, and perhaps would pass more for a main…

Pork ribs ($19) – Twice cooked, sweet and sour pork ribs, palm sugar and tamarind

This was spicy imo – and as someone who could usually only take mild chilli, this was not that enjoyable. The pork ribs were good with crispy skin, but those greens (soaking up all the oil, salt and space) were the cause of my excessive water drinking.

Gaeng Panang ($14)
Gaeng Panang ($14) – Thick red coconut milk curry with chicken pea eggplants and kaffir lime leaf

One of the best dishes on the table! Best eaten with a side of rice 🙂 The chicken pea eggplants were interesting…try one for the experience but personally I thought it was strange tasting. On first look, they look like normal green peas. They also burst with tiny seeds on impact, so don’t try to take a little bite of it thinking you’ll have a good time.

Kana moo krob
Kana moo krob ($15) – Wok fried crispy pork belly, scud chilli and Chinese broccoli

Another good dish – this was one of their most popular dishes on the menu (and in the restaurant, appearing on a lot of tables)! It came with 6, which was perfect for our group of 6 – how lucky. The outer coating had a sweet flavour – kind of like the type you get with deep fried sweet and sour pork in Chinese restaurants I suppose, which was nice. The meat inside was tender in the centre, but towards the edges I thought it was a bit tough and hard to chew. However, it seemed like I was the only one of the group to think this (‘A’ thought her rib was very very tender and juicy).

Pad kra pao gai (Basil chicken) ($14)
Pad kra pao gai (Basil chicken) ($14) – Wok fried chicken, chilli, bamboo shoot, and holy basil

This was the other spicy dish we had trouble finishing – it was spicy even for those who descend from a northern Asian background. Personally, if you avoid all the big glaring red chillis, I thought the chicken was tasty – well seasoned and nice to eat. I dunked some in some of that red curry though, to dampen the chilli.

Steamed Jasmine rice ($2.50)
Steamed Jasmine rice ($2.50)
Black sticky rice ($10) - Warm black sticky rice, jasmin tapioca, Thai tea ice cream with dark sugarcane sauce
Black sticky rice ($10) – Warm black sticky rice, jasmin tapioca, Thai tea ice cream with dark sugarcane sauce

Definitely one serving size. This was so tiny, and the scoop of ice cream was so small, that at $10 per serving, it was not worth it at all! I would not recommend getting it, because even though it was tasty, the price could not be justified. We were most excited about the Thai tea ice cream, which was basically a rendition of their Thai milk tea in ice cream form – and man, was it good!! Tasted exactly the same as the drink though, so you’re not missing out on too much! We also tried a scoop of Thai coffee ice cream, which came in a scoop only slightly larger than the one we got with the black sticky rice dessert. The coffee flavours were strong in this one, and it obviously wasn’t the most popular dessert on the table. Still not worth the $6 it cost, so would not recommend. (By the way, you might not be able to see from the picture, but the scoop is actually tiny… like the size of a ping pong ball).

Scoop of ice cream ($6) – Thai coffee
Thai milk tea
Thai milk tea

Thai milk tea could never go wrong. This drink could never fail me. And it didn’t! It was so good, but also rather sweet. I like my milk tea sweet, so it didn’t really faze me, but I could see how it would be too sweet for some. Bring on the condensed milk! Comparing it to other places, I think Chat Thai had a better one.

Final thoughts: We thought they tried a bit too hard to be “indie”. It did not really suit our palettes and we thought the flavours were rather heavy. It was also pricey for what it was, especially the desserts (so you might want to hit up the nearby Gelateria Gondola instead, where you get three awesome scoops for just $10!).


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