Review of Pure Thai, Northmead
Pure Thai is an unassuming little restaurant in Northmead serving up honest and tasty Thai food. No tricks here, just all the classics we know and love, done well.
Driving out to Northmead to meet my fellow diners, I find myself getting quite emotional in the car. You see its the same route as the way I used to drive to Westmead Children's Hospital, a trip that I have done many a time, taking my youngest, Mr 2yrs, to have multiple surgeries for an ongoing medical condition. While he received fantastic treatment from the amazing team at Westmead and is fine now, this drive is bringing up many memories of being a mum, terrified for her baby. All parents out there would understand that feeling when their child is sick or has a serious medical condition. Pure terror and the wish that you could take away the hurt and the risk from them and put it onto yourself. I arrive with lingering memories of sadness and worry but that soon melts away as I am greeted by the super friendly waitress at Pure Thai. I tell her that I am also Thai and can she please ask the chef for the food not to be too sweet. This is a common problem for me in Thai restaurants in Sydney. They tend to cater to an Australian palate which prefers sweeter and more mild Thai food than the fiery and sometimes aggressive flavours of the traditional food you would find in Thailand. I'm glad I do, because I am quite pleased with the balance of the dishes overall.
I secretly judge my fellow diner for ordering the Salt and Pepper Squid. This is not really a Thai dish and not something I would ever order in a Thai restaurant so I put it down to her being "so Australian...". But I have to eat my words because as I steal a taste while we take snaps of the dish, the batter is light and crunchy and so flavourful with tender squid, it's fantastic! Still wouldn't really call it a Thai dish but I bet it's popular with the punters and I can see why. The Red Curry with Duck is lovely and creamy, a bit on the sweet side for me but this is meant to be a sweeter curry. The duck is roasted and is aromatically spiced on its own before being placed in the curry. The combination of the two is a wonderful match and everyone is a fan. I have to admit, I am a bad Thai because I don't like Tom Yum! #badthai #tomyumhater A very popular dish in Thailand and here in Australia, Tom Yum is a soup filled with flavours of hot chilli and sour lemongrass, usually served with prawns. I'm just not a fan. It kind of reminds of dishwashing liquid! Sorry but it's how I feel! I give this one a go anyway but its not for me. The other girls at this lunch love it though, so please ignore my opinion on this one!
Next up is the Satay Chicken which is marinated and grilled, served blanketed by a creamy peanut sauce. I love it. I usually make my satay sauce more chunky and a little bit spicy whereas this one is smooth and mild, but its nicely balanced and an excellent accompaniment to the still juicy chicken.
“The Drunken Noodles (aka Pad Kee Mao) gets its name from a situation some of us may find ourselves in from time to time. That, my friend, is being drunk! The story goes that when you are very drunk, your senses are comprimised, including taste so this dish is totally amped up on the chilli and pepper factor with the addition of aromatic and almost medicinal tasting Thai basil.''
The version here at Pure Thai doesn't hit the mark for me. To me, it tastes more like a Pad See Ew, its still tasty but more vanilla cousin. Don't get me wrong. It's still nice but not a Pad Kee Mao to me. I don't know if this is how they normally do it, or if they dialled down the chilli and basil because one of our diners declared herself as not too much of a chilli fan at the start of the meal. If you get a spicy version here, please let me know! My requested dish for this banquet was the Som Tum with Soft Shell Crab. Som Tum is a shredded green papaya salad which hits the more piquant flavours of Thai cuisine with big bursts of spicy chilli, acidic lime and tomato, anchored with the delicious funk of dried shrimp. I like this salad in my Thai meals because its a great counter balance to all the rich fried items and creamy curries. In my experience, westerners can find this dish challenging because it is very spicy, a different textured papaya because it is unripe, overall quite sour and has a fishy aroma. I grew up eating this so I love it but I understand how others may not enjoy it. This is the case today, with my 3 fellow dinners keen to taste but not really enjoying it. Fair enough, each to their own and more for me! #greedy
Massaman curry is always a hit and I cook it myself quite often for guests because everyone loves this dish! The version here at Pure Thai is cooked perfectly. I can see and feel the investment in time they have put into this dish. The beef simply collapses under the weight of a spoon and the curry sauce is spiced well and fragrant with nice balance.
I am quite impressed with the offerings at Pure Thai. Although I found one dish to be a bit of a miss, overall the balance of flavours and cooking technique was spot on for me. They tell us they do a big takeaway trade and I am not surprised, the food is good simple food, which is what we all want at the end of the day isn't it?
Pure Thai 12 Kleins Rd, Northmead 2152
*I dined here as a guest of Pure Thai and Food Blogs Media but all opinions remain my own.