Tom Toon Thai Noodle Cafe
241 Victoria Street
Richmond, Victoria 3067
03 9417 7447
Having visited IKEA one Saturday evening (surprisingly, the crowd dissipates by 5.30pm), Fatbee and I made an attempt to dine at Jinda Thai, only to discover it was as stupidly busy as Chin Chin…!
Thankfully, good dining options are in abundance along Victoria St in Richmond. My companion seemed fond of Tom Toon, so I acquiesced.
But why is our table littered with so much colour? That’s because I couldn’t resist popping into DAISO before dinner. For the uninitiated, it’s the Japanese equivalent of a $2 shop, only a lot better. And I’m so happy it’s finally mushrooming all over Melbourne (not to mention Muji and Uniqlo has arrived too)!
Every item in the entire shop is priced at A$2.80, and even if I can’t find some useless-but-cute knick knack to accessorise my home with, I always have the option of getting these unfamiliar but reliably tasty Japanese snacks! Love that cartoon chicken-looking caramel corn packet.
Thai Iced Milk Tea 3.00
Tom Toon has an unassuming frontage with a dark, cosy and equally unassuming interior. With my previous visits to this place, I mainly stuck with the noodle-y one-dish meals. But this time, we paid homage to some of Fatbee’s favourite dishes here.
It was a rather warm evening, and it’s funny how the both of us went woefully quiet in the heat… (I SOOO have to move to Tasmania, Melbourne’s becoming too hot!). The Thai iced milk tea helped a little, but I often find the Thai version of this drink to be on the dilute side… and miss the richer and more tannic Malaysian iced teh tariks.
Tom Sab 9.90
Spicy Thai hot & sour soup with soft pork bone, lemon grass, lime leaves, chilli, coriander & spring onion
The first dish that arrived was Fatbee’s must-have dish here: the spicy pork bone soup. While technically not a tom yum soup, it is very reminiscent of a good spicy one… with the added ooomph of flavourful pork broth. So good!
This soup was so good that when it almost ran empty, I pretty much lifted the bowl and… ‘applied to face’.
Som Tum Poo Pla Ra 9.90
Sliced green papaya with salted crab, tomato, chilli, fish sauce, pickled mud fish (Pla Ra), lime & palm sugar
I think I ordered this because having ‘poo’ in a dish’s name just sounded cute, but the truth is, ‘poo’ just means crab in Thai… haha!! When we ordered this, our waitress asked how spicy we’d like it… I instantly blurted “SPICY!!”.
I loved the rendition of som tum here, they really used green papayas (like how it should be) instead of green apples… and WHOA MY GOODNESS was it spicy!! As we ate into it, the chilli hotness pretty much went into my ears… making this one of the spiciest dishes I’ve had in Melbourne in a long while.
I baulked a little with the presence of black-and-briny baby crab legs (more shell than meat… and spiky!) and might order a crab-free som tum next time. The pickled mudfish (pla ra) was interesting though, it came as tiny deep fried pieces and tasted almost like fried pork lard.
Pud Kha Na 9.90
Crispy pork stir fried with chilli, garlic & Chinese broccoli
Our final savoury dish (another favourite of Fatbee’s) was a deeply crispy, almost jerky-like crispy pork fried with Chinese broccoli. It was good too, with a very moreish sauce.
All the dishes we ordered were spicy, especially the nose-drippingly hot som tum. As my ear canals started catching fire, I finally understood why each table came with a box of tissues… I had to keep wiping my nose!
Mango Sticky Rice 9.90
Dessert consisted of a Summer must have… sweet, fragrant in-season mangoes with sticky rice. It was the perfect end to this meal.
I’m glad Fatbee took me on a culinary tour of his favourite dishes here, it turned out to be a very enjoyable dinner. Thinking about this place makes me feel hungry and I liked how the dishes aren’t toned down. Also, the menu at Tom Toon is pretty extensive, but the good thing is the portions aren’t big and the pricing’s friendly. It means you can share more and sample more dishes without busting your wallet.