Authentic Thai Taste

92-94 Johnston St
Collingwood, VIC 3066
03 9495 6694

One morning on the way to work, I received a text from Jonty.
It simply said “That Taste??”.
That got me got excited..
Jonty can be considered as my ang moh (Caucasian) brother. We are the same age, we both looove eating, we are inexplicably conversationally synergistic.And when it comes to eating out at this yummy restaurant, we can be quite bossy as to what the group should order… in a fun-loving way. :p
It has almost become habitual. We don’t catch up that often, but when we do, we eat here. And we eat ALOT. This time round, our common friend Ky was visiting from Adelaide, a group catch up was in order, so did we what we always do: we ate here. :D
This restaurant is located in a strange part of Collingwood, some distance from the main stretch. The frontage isn’t exactly that conspicuous, so most of us will probably only hear about this place by word of mouth. My ex-coursemate, Serena, introduced me to this place and it’s legendary pork shanks 2 years ago. I’ve been eating here quite often since then.
I sometimes judge an Asian restaurant’s authenticity by the Asian to Non-Asian ratio. More Asians means more authentic. Yesterday, I walked by Dragon Boat in Chinatown and saw that the entire first floor was ang moh. Oh dear, not sure if I want to eat there. Here, the ratio was good, I saw Thai families eating here, speaking and ordering in Thai, 3 generations of one family sitting in one table. Must be good if the Thais actually dine here, right?
Jonty and Lili, I like my friends camp. Hahaha!
We were the last to leave this place.
The other segment of the restaurant allows you to sit on the floor. When it’s crowded on weekends, they open up this section and you can dine there. I’ve noticed that the online take-away menu is nowhere as comprehensive as the dine-in menu. Many of the dishes we ordered weren’t in the take-away menu. It’s better to dine in here to eat the good stuff.
Thai Fish Cake $8.80 for 4
They normally come in 4’s but we had 5 here because of our group. They were served hot and tasted pretty good, the spices were fresh and shot up my nose. It’s one of my favourite Thai entreés, I like it when the smell of lemongrass and other herbs wafts in as you bite into it.
Fried Kang Kong with Crispy Pork $18.90

One of team Jonty-Booo’s must-haves. I wouldn’t call this vegetarian dish healthy, but it tastes really good. The sauce is on the sweet side. A smash hit with the entire table.

Penang Duck Curry $18.90

Jonty and I also normally push for everyone to order this dish. But lately I’m starting to think it’s too rich without sufficient spiciness. Out of a scale of 10, this curry hits 2-3 in terms of spiciness. Not enough for me.

We once had a young visiting friend from Tassie dine here, for him it was his first time eating Thai. He looked at the duck pieces in the red curry and asked “Is that Cheese?”. Rofl.

Our plate of roti to share. I don’t think it’s freshly made. We will stick to rice next time.
Thai Pork Shank $28.90

A must-have. Goodness, talk about sinful food. The pork comes out hot, you slowly dismantle the flesh off the bone and listen to the outsides crackle as you knife into it. Good crackling, and the meat is nicely succulent inside. But to be frank, all I want is the crispy parts.

Fried Whole Barramundi with Apple Salad $28.90

We thought of trying something new. I thought the dish was okay only, the sauces were quite overpowering with sweet, salt and sour without much spiciness. I personally prefer barramundi steamed.

Still, we managed to devour every last bit of fish. Except the head.

Thai Papaya Salad $8.80

Ky can’t tolerate spicy very well, so we ordered this ‘mild’. My gripe is that they served this salad at the tail end of our meal. I also suspect the spicy version also won’t be spicy enough for me.

Mango Sticky Rice with Mango Ice Cream $12.90
Incidentally, it was Ky’s birthday that night. Jonty very sweetly got the staff to dim the lights for this humble dessert. I like that thoughtfulness in my friend.
This dessert was goooood. The durian sticky rice is good as well but we didn’t order it as most of the table didn’t like durians.
Taro in Sweet Coconut Milk $6.60

I’ve never had this before. Very very sweet and rich dessert that’s served hot. The colourful rice balls were chewy and the coconut milk was gooey. We found this dessert okay, but on the strange and unfamiliar side.

Sweet Black Sticky Rice Pudding in Young Coconut $9.90
The menu description made me think of Pulot Hitam (Malaysian black rice pudding). Well, this Thai version I must say is very very weird! It tasted like black rice in hot translucent sweet goo. I got slightly queasy and all of us didn’t really like it. Still, we ate it all, lol.

Thai Taste is becoming less popular with me in terms of authenticity. My reason is the food isn’t spicy enough for me, and some of the heavily sweet/salty/sour dishes could be balanced better with spices. However, if Jonty asks me to dine here again, I’d still very happily go. And it’s not just for old times sake. It’s because the menu still has great must-have dishes like the pork hock and kang kong that I’d readily come back for.

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