Sailors Thai Restaurant, Sydney

I’d been wanting to visit the restaurant proper of Sailors Thai for a while. I’d never made it to Nahm in London, run by the same David Thompson and wanted to try refined Thai food where the reputation was made.

After a few random last minute attempts, we were able to obtain a table on Saturday night. This entailed a pre-dinner martini at Blu Bar at the Shangri-La, which was humming with the buzz of groups preparing for a big night out. I had to have my watery martini remade, but was compensated by the great views.

Anyway, on to the restaurant. I was quite surprised to see what a lively space it was. I expected more formality, but the place was oozing enthusiasm. It set the scene for a fun evening.

Service was charming. It’s always good to have servers who want to share their opinion and with the amount of interesting dishes we decided to go for the tasting menu (no real surprise)… The slightly novel approach here is to choose 2 entrees & 4 mains to share from the  menu.

The one dish that seems to be a must-try are the Yamba prawns with peanuts, chilli, coconut, lime & palm sugar on betel leaves. It’s what we started with.

It’s indeed a mind-blower with more flavour than the brain can comfortably handle. The sweetness of the prawn hits first, then all the other flavours pile in delivering a zinginess that has to be experienced to understand – sour, sharp, chilli. It’s a bit of a wow culinary moment and not easily forgotten.

Things calmed down a bit with a duck salad with asian celery, coriander

This was as expected competent & moreish, the relevative fattiness of the deck balanced against good sharp flavours. it was well enjoyed.

These two entrees were followed by the mains, which came in quick procession. So in no particular order:

braised beef ribs with lime, mint, coriander, chilli & shallots.

It was dark, unctuous, meaty and fiberous. Quite frankly everything you could wish for in a slow cooked beef dish. The herbs nicely stopped the sauce from being overwhelming and provided some necessary balance. It was  very good.

Next up was a Mulloway jungle curry

The curry had split, but it was easy to forgive with the flavours unaffected. The seafood was well cooked with a well balanced spice & fragrancy which didn’t overpower the fish.

We had another seafood dish and this was a crispy fish salad with Crispy fish salad with salmon &  salmon roe:

Beautifully presented it was an unusual dish with the cucumber, crispy skin accompanying the lightest of salmon curries with very little in the way of spice. It had a mild creamy consistency which didn’t make it immediately appetising, but it was certainly a pleasant dish to enjoy. If anything it served to break up the heavy spicing of the other dishes with the salmon skin providing an added textural dimension

The main dishes finished with caramelised pork hock with chilli & vinegar dressing:

This was another meaty sledgehammer of a dish and none the worse for it. The extensive use of vinegar is a relative novel thing for me and I enjoy how it cuts through the fattiness of pork. It combined with the sweetness of the meat and it’s a great dish to finish on.

We had a good range of dishes which showed the full variety and balance of Thai cooking, yet we were a little disappointed by how the main dishes were served. We expected a normal tasting menu with one dish at a time to concentrate on, but all the plates/bowls arrived within 10 minutes of each other, reducing the meal to traditional dining occasion. We had to pick our way through the various dishes without fully savouring them.

And continuing the theme of  ‘all at once’ dining we were served a dessert platter – a trio of 3 coconut puddings:

It may well be a sweeping judgement (which I’m good at), but in my experience most Asian cuisines do not produce memorable desserts. Sailors Thai didn’t do a lot to change my mind. The 3 pudding where all very similar – full-on sweet coconut flavours, just with different textural components. I couldn’t describe them in detail except to say there was a coconut sponge, a coconut sweet and a coconut blancmange. They were pleasant to a point and helped bring the meal to an end.

So even though we did not fully embrace how the meal was served and the dessert, this was a very good dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with the ambience, service and great flavourful dishes. It was good value and we’ll certainly look to return, but this time prepare ourselves for a more relaxed sharing meal.


One Response to “Sailors Thai Restaurant, Sydney”

  1. Reemski Says:

    Ah, good to see, think I’m coming to Sailors Thai for my looking forward to it even more

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