Shop C1, 550 Lonsdale Street (Healeys Lane)
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9606 0991
So I just returned from a trans-Tasman trip. In due course, I will be blogging about a burger joint in Queenstown that’s just as famous as the tourist town’s snow-capped peaks, the birth of The Chimichurri Song and finding a Vietnamese bakery in Rotorua. And while I love and miss New Zealand, it will be a long time before I come within sniffing distance of Bluebird chicken-flavoured potato chips, sauv blanc and meat pies. I will be going on another mini blogging hiatus to concentrate on uni work but I’ll leave you with a post to tide you over.
There are heaps of things that the inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand will disagree on (who has the better cricket team and whether Crowded House are Aussies or Kiwis) but there is one thing that both countries love and that is Thai food. I had some surprisingly decent Thai food in Rotorua, a town with no less than five Thai restaurants in its town centre. However, if the owners of Tidlom Thai were to establish yet another restaurant there, I’m sure the locals wouldn’t mind.
Located in an alleyway just around the corner from my work, Tidlom Thai is a quiet achiever among the bakeries, cafés and Subway stores in my neck of the woods. I’ve walked past it many times on my way to grabbing a duck and pear baguette from Le Traiteur but never thought about going in. That was until I received an e-mail from one of Tidlom Thai’s owners, Top, inviting me to come in and try some dishes that were true to what they cooked at home. Sick of eating pad thai dishes that were way too sweet and so over bastardised Thai food, I decided to take Top up on his offer.
With co-worker Sean in tow, I made my way to Tidlom Thai one Thursday lunchtime when we both had a spare moment to escape the jungle that was level 11 in our building. As you can see, it’s very easy to miss Tidlom Thai for its signage is very tiny.
Top wasn’t in when we rocked up, which was a shame because I would have loved to have a chat with him. However, his team of lovely waitresses were on hand to answer any queries we had and ensure that we were in and out of there within the half hour.
The restaurant itself is simple. It’s pretty much all clean tiles with cute little trinkets dotted around to make it more personalised. Sean thought the Thai pop posters were pretty cool while I liked the wall of Bangkok rego plates near the window.
Top had, in his e-mail, encouraged me to try their Thai iced coffee. At the time, I was on a coffee ban (which has since been broken) so I didn’t order any. Sean did, though, and convinced me to have a little sip. It was sweet and creamy, very much like a Vietnamese coffee but not as strong. Sean did say that he could taste traces of alcohol in the coffee and when I said, ‘Um no duh, it’s being served in a Singha glass?!’ he insisted that it was tequila and not beer. Strange fella.
At lunch time, the menu is limited to predominately noodle and rice dishes. Rice dishes are a consistent $9.90 while noodle dishes are $10.90, with a choice of beef, chicken or vegetable for fillers. Those wanting something a bit different will have to fork out a few dollars – crispy pork will attract an extra $3 while egg options (fried and omelette) are $2 each.
Sean had the pepper and garlic stir fry on white rice, with beef as his choice of protein. Sean found the dish absolutely delicious and while I thought the dish was, overall, a decent dish with the beef being tender and well-cooked, I thought the seasoning was a bit too peppery but that’s just me being fussy.
I liked my chicken pad thai a lot better. Having been displeased with the too-sweet pad thai dishes I’ve been encountering in many Thai restaurants in the city, I was surprised to find that Tidlom’s version was not loaded with palm sugar. It delicious with the right amount of sweetness, tanginess, saltiness and heat, the way a REAL pad thai should be. I will definitely be coming back to order this dish again and again.
Sean and I really enjoyed our lunch and vowed to return, this time with a few of our other colleagues. We were both impressed with the restaurant’s hospitality and the food was pretty damn good too. I also liked that they focused on purely Thai food, with nary a laksa or nasi goreng in sight. I’ve been told that the dinner menu has a wider range dishes so I will definitely be having dinner there at some point to try their other dishes.
Disclaimer: Sean and libishski dined as guests of Tidlom Thai.