It seems I need to retract the comment that I rarely eat Thai food. I seem to be trying out quite a few restaurants – I’d say so far my favourite would be Jinda Thai – that said, I recall struggling to get staff to serve us, waiting on tables and being rather squished in our seating – probably not the ideal place for a work function (come to think of it work functions probably aren’t the best situation to try snapping photos of food as well).
We chose to go to Paladarr Thai Issan in Alphington based on its location (we had people coming from the city, Glen Waverley and Mitcham) and its reviews on urbanspoon. I was keen to try it out because it was also in the Entertainment book in the gold section – with the year going so quickly I better make the most of this edition! It has also featured in The Age Good Food Guide for the past three years in a row and runs cooking classes.
It was quite a drive to Paladarr – it’s located right next to Alphington train station and is surprisingly located in the midst of apartments and housing complexes. I think I might have missed their restaurant front because it didn’t look nearly as impressive as other photos on urbanspoon. Inside however was different. I can see why Paladarr is popular – the seating is comfortable, decor elegant and their staff were very eager to cater for our dietary requirements. The restaurant is actually quite ideal for work dinners as it is formal enough with a wide variety of food and an extensive wine list. The restaurant however a bit on the expensive side with main sized curries being about $29 – having a look at their take away menu they seem to boast much more competitive prices for pick up – it’s a shame it isn’t local for me at all.
Ordering dishes to share amongst nine of us was rather difficult and we had initially toyed with the idea of having a banquet meal but we opted for a selection of curries accompanied by a salad and rice.
As you can see from the photo we ran out of space on our table for all the plates and dishes. Whilst sharing is great for trying a variety of food, it really highlighted to me that the curries here all tasted around the same. We ordered the duck red coconut curry, diced lamb with pumpkin and their vegetarian curry.
I found their Moreton Bay bug tom yum soup refreshing (the photo is of a third of the soup) but was puzzled by how hard and chewy some of the soup contents were – I think there were chunks of really woody lemongrass that shouldn’t be served to customers…
Desserts wise I tried their coconut cream pudding – this was soft and only just set, exactly what I’d look for in such a dessert. The accompanying ice ream was on the other hand, disappointing and rather puzzling in terms of its flavour – possibly ginger. I was initially enticed by this dessert because it mentioned sugar dusted taro threads but it seemed to only be a decorative component rather than adding much flavour/textural complexity.
Other people tried their parfait of lime and ginger ice cream and their lemon tart (not so Thai!).
Overall I think Paladarr would suit business dinners and more formal occasions. The food was good but not great and without the discount the dinner would have been rather expensive. To have lovely Thai food in a more casual setting, I’d opt to go to Jinda Thai.