A hidden gem in Bayswater - Thai Esarn Restaurant is a place I would never have visited by accident. It’s a trek from my house and in a seedy area, but I’d happily risk having my windscreens smashed. This blog post is long overdue and a compilation of 2 or 3 different dinners.
Don’t be put off by the crowd in this photo. This restaurant is frequented by locals but is actually a great spot for authentic Thai cuisine.
Pretty table settings, cutlery and furniture. Adds a touch of class!
Stuffed Chicken Wings (4 pieces for $8.00)
The stuffed chickenwings are oily and tasty, but there’s not enough ‘stuffing’ inside for my liking. The sauce was sweet, tangy and just a little bit spicy. On its own, not a bad pick, but the menu at Thai Esarn is extensive and you don’t have time to waste on less-than-amazing dishes!
Tom Yum Soup (Vegetable - $6.50)
I ordered the Tom Yum Soup with vegetables (it costs extra with meat / seafood). This is a suitable place for my warning: if you order a dish and ask for ‘hot’, it will be HOT. My impression is that the waitstaff adjust the scale depending on the customer. Mild is underwhelming, Medium / Hot is powerful, and I wouldn’t risk my tongue with Very Hot. It’s difficult to tell what you’ll get - so if you’re sensitive to chilli, downgrade your chilli level to be on the safe side.
Pad Thai (Chicken - $12.50)
I loved the Pad Thai. It was oily, saucy, spicy, packed with flavour and plenty of peanut pieces. Definitely worth a try (and it’s a safe option).
Cashew Nut Stir-Fry (Chicken - $14.50)
One of my dining companions has a very low chilli tolerance and ate most of this dish by herself. Honestly, I was too busy chowing down on other dishes to pay any attention to the Mild stir-fry.
Red Curry (Duck - $16.50)
Yes. The red curry is a must-try and I can never go past the duck. As usual, I’m greedy and would have liked more duck meat floating inside, but that didn’t stop me from slurping the leftover sauce with steamed rice. Omnomnom!!
Angry Fish ($16.50)
This fried fish delight is one of my all-time favourites. The sauce was spicy as hell, plus sour and salty. Each piece of fish was cripsy and juicy. Just looking at the photo is making my mouth water! Heads up, it’s misspelt on the menu as ‘Angny Fish’.
Massaman Curry ($14.50)
My brother really enjoyed this beef curry, even though it was less spicy than expected. The sauce is rich and meaty, but seems less fragrant than the red curry. The lumps of potato seem a bit unusual for a Thai curry, but while it pales compared to my favourite duck curry, this dish still pulls its weight.
Tum Sur ($14.90)
What an entertaining and slightly revolting surprise to our meal. The problem with a large and difficult-to-interpret menu is that occasionally you hit and completely miss. Tum Sur is an authentic ‘salad’ that I found complete unpalateable. You’ll spot shavings of papaya and bits of tomato mixed with vermicelli noodles. However, the entire dish is overwhelmed by the salty seafoody punch of the ‘salty crab’. We later discovered this crab is preserved and uncooked, which explains the unusual squishy translucent flesh. Wow, keep clear unless you know what you’re doing!!
Som Tum Thai ($11.90)
Learning from our earlier mistakes, we carefully asked the waitress for a suggestion because we were very keen to try a tasty papaya salad. A bit frustrating because things sometimes get lost in translation, but we eventually selected Som Tum Thai on her recommendation. This was a spicy, sour, fantastic mix of papaya, beansprouts, tomatoes and peanuts. I’m sorry to say the papaya was a little scarce, but still a delicious dish to pick at, would recommend!
Pad Kee Maw (beef - $12.50)
We mixed it up and tried a different noodle dish, this one with flat rice noodles. It didn’t impress me as much as the pad thai, possibly because it had more vegies, but it was still wholesome and tasty.
Thai Esarn is a fantastic restaurant with many impressive stand-out dishes. I love exploring the menu, even when you end up with something unexpected. It also helps that many dishes can be customised - you can chose just to have vegetables, or you can select the meat you want (*wink*). Remember which dishes you enjoyed so that you’re not lost on your return visit(s)!!
Likes: exciting, delicious food
Dislikes: unpredictable levels of spiciness
Value for money: reasonable
Overall: awesome (not standard food-court Thai)
1 Beechboro Road
(08) 9272 9189