It's a scenario familiar to many. You're loitering in the Valley with an hour or so to kill before a gig and want something quick, not too flashy, not too pricey but tasty to keep you going. If you've much sense your first thought will be of the Chinatown Mall – many a restaurant there to suit your needs. Of these, Thai Wi Rat should be a pretty solid contender.
Very few restaurants in Brisbane declare themselves to serve Laotian food, which Thai Wi Rat does. It's a nice point of difference to be sure, however the main focus is Thai food. Brisbanites, and Australians for that matter have long proved their love for this South East Asian cuisine – though Thai Wi Rat doesn't necessarily offer anything new on this front, when it comes to cheap and cheerful convenience, they're hard to beat.
Curries, stir fried dishes with rice, soup noodles and salads abound, but the stir-fried noodles are the way to go. First select from vermicelli, egg noodles, thin rice noodles or fat rice noodles, then choose from a catalogue of sauces including guay teaw pad kee maw (spicy sauce), guay teaw pad thai (tamarind sauce) and guay teaw pad ce ew (dark sweet soy sauce), available vegetarian, with a variety of seafood, beef, pork or chicken. For a safe bet, order the guay teaw lard na (Thai-style gravy sauce) with combination seafood ($14.90).
Its prime position makes it ideal for a quick bite before a night out but Thai Wi Rat takes reservations and on our early Saturday night visit, the vast majority of the outdoor tables had been booked. Not a problem, as seating is surprisingly ample given the number of Asian restaurants vying for space in the area. Thai Wi Rat is extra fortunate in its location, with the Mall's water feature running adjacent to the restaurant's main outdoor seating area.
The drinks list offers a range of Thai style iced drinks, enough wines and beers to keep you occupied, as well as a shot of Thai Whiskey.