If you’ve ever waited outside Chat Thai for an hour in the rain, listen up. They’ve opened a new pan-Asian eating house in the city called Assámm and there’s currently no queue.
Chat Thai has come a long way from its Thai grocery store origins. With upmarket incarnations in the Galeries Victoria and Westfield CBD, now Assámm has a smart address in the Queen Victoria Building. Offering a nice alternative to the earl grey teas and cucumber sandwiches served every which way, Assámm has all your Thai favourites along with offerings from Korea, Japan, Vietnam and more. Best of all, it’s the same good value that had you joining the cult in the first place.
Within moments of placing an order, the kitchen team will have plates piling on your table. The satay chicken skewers ($2.50 each) and mhu bhing pork skewers ($2.50 each) are as honest as at any street vendor, hand-grilled over charcoal and served with a punchy nahm jim jaew smoked chilli dipping sauce. The spicy green curry ($16) combines local goodies such as apple and pea eggplants with the heady flavours of kaffir lime, galangal and coriander — it’s soupy and fragrant, and you’ll be left with lips tingling.
From here, you can venture east for Vietnamese rice paper rolls ($10) south for a Laksa ($13) and who knows what direction for a ramen with wontons, crab meat and BBQ pork ($15). Non-drinkers will love the traditional northern Thai coffees sweetened with condensed milk ($5) while drinkers rejoice with BYO wine ($3 per person).
While the dessert menu has been sadly reduced, Assámm weren’t foolish enough to ditch Sydney’s best mango sticky rice. The sweet and syrupy rice is offset with crunchy fried mung beans, while a perfect cheek of mango is drizzled with a sweet coconut cream sauce. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll add a side of coconut ice-cream ($3).
If you can’t handle the clipboard waiting list at the Thaitown original, take a train to Town Hall and you’ll walk right in. Let’s just hope it stays this way. Don’t tell anyone okay?