When it comes to lunch in the City of Sydney, we are absolutely spoilt for choice. Whatever your location in the city, budget or craving, there’s bound to be something that’s good and satisfying. There are plenty of old favourites to fall back on as well as new ones to uncover and explore.
However with so many options at our disposal, there are some that you forget about even though the experience may have been good. For me, Home Thai is one such place.
Home Thai has been around for a number of years and it’s one of the names that rolls of the tongue when most people talk about good Thai in Sydney. It’s a favourite lunch destination for many judging from the line that forms on the right. Either that or Macky’s back in town.
A colourful cornucopia of fruits and other dessert items line the entryway into the restaurant and the open-planned kitchen, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the restaurant which is fairly dark and monotone. The place is bustling during the lunch rush with service and top-ups of water being fairly quick though it can get a little cramped in some areas having to encroach on other people’s person space as you navigate around some tightly packed tables. However, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for some busy city restaurants.
Once we place our order, it doesn’t take too long before the food is served.
Fresh Spring Roll ($9.90) – I had a bad experience with these at another Thai restaurant so I wasn’t really looking forward to these, so it came as a surprise that these were pretty good. It’s a play on textures from the crunchy cucumber, crisp bean sprouts, soft tofu, tender chicken mince, chewy Chinese sausage and the soft and slightly chewy rice paper casing. The tamarind sauce is sweet without much of the sourness you might expect from such a sauce and goes well with the otherwise unseasoned ingredients.
Keuw Tiew Lod ($6.90) – Another dish that’s a play on textures with the steamed glutenous rice noodle wrapping that’s tender and stretchy juxtaposed with the fresh crispness of bean sprouts. There are also small cubes of firm tofu and black mushroom but there’s so few of them that they get lost among the bean sprouts like a pebble in a haystack.
The spicy dressing-like sauce has a light but unapologetic kick to it that comes as a surprise given the otherwise innocuous looking dish. It’s a welcome surprise given that the rest of the dish is more about texture than flavour.
Banana Flower Salad with Prawns ($14.90) – When it’s done right, a banana flower salad is a wonderful dish that incorporates its crisp texture as a carrier of flavour of the dressing and other ingredients of the salad. At their sister store in Dixon St, they have a good version of this dish also served with prawns which is quite light and refreshing. However, this dish isn’t anything like it and I felt bad recommending this dish to my dining company.
Rather than the banana flower being used as the vehicle to carry the flavour of the tamarind-based sauce, the sauce was applied in such a heavy-handed manner that it was the sauce that was the vehicle carrying the texture of the banana flower. The dominance and monotony of the sauce was overbearing, not allowing any of the other flavours of the dish, from prawns, chicken, shallots, coriander, onion, dried coconut, cashew nuts, fried shallots & chili jam, to come through. It it wasn’t for the excessive use of sauce, this might have been a good dish.
Pork Hock with Rice ($9.90) – For those of you of the porcine persuasion, a lover of all things pork, this is a dish that you need to have in your life.
A generous mound of succulent five spice flavoured pork hock with tender gelatinous strips of skin with all the fat rendered away. The pork is rich, meaty and utterly satisfying, accompanied with the fresh taste and light crispness of the poached Chinese broccoli for contrast and a light vinegary chili and garlic sauce that isn’t all that spicy but helps to cut through its richness. The rice rounds off this filling meal, soaking up all the wonderful juices from the pork and the five spice flavoured sauce. The dish eats much like Hainanese chicken rice (a dish they also sell) and while it’s very different in flavour, it’s just as satisfying.
When it comes to good, inexpensive Thai food, Home is where my heart is. It’s not the only place that does good Thai in the city and like the other good Thai places, you’ll likely need to pick a number and join the queue but for what it’s worth, it’s well worth the wait. Particularly for the Pork Hock with Rice. For something so delicious, filling and satifying for under $10, it’s a shame that I’d forgotten about Home Thai and how good the food could be there.
Forgotten no longer.
299 Sussex St, Sydney
(02) 9261 5058
Mon-Sun: 11am – 11pm