Regent Place has just given birth to its very own lan-caar bo-rancor (old Thai shop), Senyai. A laneway eatery resembling what one might expect to find in Bangkok's steamy back streets, Senyai has joined the Assembly, Chefs Gallery, and Miss Chu family. And what a welcome addition it is.
Might we also bring your attention to the level of authenticity this places has. Senyai is actually a traditional teak house that was found in Samut Songkhram (just outside of Bangkok), shipped to Sydney, and attached onto the walls of Regent Place. Inside, the walls are scattered with colourful decorative plates, framed Thai pop stars and royal family, and cabinets full of vintage Thai paraphernalia. In the faux outside area you'll find a metal fence strewn with graffiti and posters. Yep, it feels just like the real deal.
It's a good idea to order a slushie-like blended juice ($5) like lychee, or rambutan for the more adventurous, before beginning to peruse the menu. A good battle plan is to seek out what seems to be the magical 'S'. Chef Nu Suandokmai (ex Bathers' Pavilion, Cafe Sydney, and Nu's Restaurant) helps guide you through the menu with these, which stand for 'Senyai original recipe'.
Start with a serve of miang kham ($6) — betel leaves topped with diced lime, red chilli, dehydrated prawns, nuts, red onion, and coconut sauce. Next try the po pia jaan ($12) — crispy prawn pancakes covered in layers of super-fine deep-fried rice paper, with an almost spongy inner texture.
The khanom jeen namya ($13) picks up on the idea of the do-it-yourself betel leaves. This dish allows the diner to choose the amount of noodles, Thai laksa broth (with fish balls) to pour over them, and whatever extras they want, including bean sprouts, pickled greens, diced beans, coriander, shredded cabbage, and Thai basil. It also makes for an easily shared meal that can be individualised.
Another for those seeking out something hefty is the khao kha moo ($18) — incredibly slow-braised pork hock cooked in cinnamon and star anise (with veggies and rice). Somtum Thai ($16), a traditional Thai green papaya salad with all the extras, is your go-to when looking to cleanse the palette.
Dessert, anyone? The roti grob ($6) is your best bet. These babies are sweet Thai pancakes that are simple, light, and perfect for a crisp finale to your meal.