20 August 2013
Six lovely ladies and one handsome gentleman were due for a catch-up. We headed to Red Opium in East Perth on Sunday evening. While our booking was for 8 people, we only had 7 attend, so we were allowed to order à la carte rather than sticking to the set menus which are required for groups of 8 or more.
We excitedly ordered a bunch of small dishes to share as entrées, plus main dishes and jasmine rice. Red Opium does some fun and tasty tapas-style small dishes, but the main dishes are better value if you want larger portions for similar prices. The food is mostly Thai-inspired so the menu includes pad thai, but you should explore the more unusual dishes on offer!
Yin and yang dips ($14.80)
The minced pork tomato dip was salty and meaty, but not spicy like we warned by the waiter. Interesting choice to pair dips with papadums and pork crackling, which seem to reveal a mix of Indian, Chinese, and Western influences. Heavy hit of coconut in the creamy prawn dip, seriously yum.
Thai fish cakes ($5.80 per serving)
Each serving of fish cakes includes two large balls (lol) and a generous drizzling of tangy chilli sauce. The fish cake was tasty and better than the stuff I find at Asian supermarkets, but the sauce was the real winner in this dish.
Son-in-law eggs ($6.80)
My friends enjoyed these eggs which are boiled and then fried to give them a crunchy outside. I’m not a fan of boiled eggs so I can’t comment on the flavour, but this dish seemed popular with the rest of the table.
Crying wagyu ($18.80)
Thin tender strips of wagyu beef, spicy sauce, and a lightly dressed salad. Very tasty dish, but there were not enough beef pieces to go around. There should be more meat on this plate given the steep price.
Crudo tuna ($13.80)
Who expects to find raw tuna among Thai-inspired tapas?! The little pink tuna cubes were dressed lightly with olive oil and lemongrass. I enjoyed the surprising flecks of sea salt among the mix. Quite tasty, but my favourite mouthfuls of raw fish are the salmon sashimi bites at The Bonsai Restaurant & Cafe Lounge.
Som tum with soft shell crabs ($20.80)
Red Opium offers an excellent rendition of the popular green papaya salad, but it could use more sourness and vinegar. Definitely order this dish with the soft shell crab that tastes like Asian-KFC! Crunchy, salty, and delicious. I also appreciated that they didn’t skimp on the papaya (which I whinged about when I visited S & T Thai and Thai Esarn).
Jasmine rice ($4.20)
My friends thought I was crazy for taking photos of steamed rice, but I have my reasons. This is a stupidly small serve for $4.20 because rice costs so little. Give us a bucket of rice argh!
Chilli jam chicken with cashew nuts ($19.80)
This dish was our first main and it was underwhelming. It was too Westernised, not spicy, and quite a meagre serving of chicken. The sauce was ok but nothing to sing praises about.
Masaman beef curry ($19.80)
Thankfully, the masaman curry sent our expectations soaring again. Beautifully tender beef swimming in a rich and flavoursome sauce. This dish was awesome! We ordered “hot” for all our dishes but we hardly tasted any spiciness in this curry.
The roast duck curry was greeted with excited grins. Meaty pieces of duck and a creamy delicious sauce with lychees, pineapple, brussel sprouts, and tomato. Weirdly enough, there was a Japanese twist to this dish and I enthusiastically dug out edamame (green soy beans) from the sauce. This was the only dish that we thought had a little bit of spiciness *sadface*.
Toothfish green curry ($25.80)
The pieces of toothfish were moist and had a wonderful crisp skin on top. Loved finding more edamame beans and brussel sprouts in the sauce. Normally I’m not a fan of brussel sprouts, but I enjoyed them in both the F-duck curry and Toothfish green curry. Once we polished off this curry and the remaining rice, everyone was feeling full *phew*.
Our dinner for 7 people was surprisingly cheap and came to around $30 per person (before the Entertainment Card discount). This restaurant only accepts cash which also means that you’ll pay a fee to use EFTPOS. BYO booze and prepare to pay $2 for each wineglass.
Service was very polite, accommodating, and attentive. Big brownie points for the waitstaff constantly bringing out new bottles of free chilled water throughout our meal.
Unfortunately, they ran out of desserts except the icecream, so we headed to Superstar Waffles to satisfy our sweet tooth(s).
Likes: unique twists on popular Thai dishes, excellent service, consistently tasty food, unique restaurant decor
Dislikes: food wasn’t spicy at all, some entrées were unnecessarily small
Value for money: excellent
Overall: everyone loved the dinner, so we’ll be back!
Unit 21, 326 Hay St
(08) 9221 8780