Tel: 9356 4944
Address: 261 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney NSW 2010
Cuisine Type: Thai
Transport: Bus 311
Let the world know, should such knowledge escape it, that Sydney has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the known universe, and a sizeable proportion of them are Thai establishments. Fantastic – one of the world’s best cuisines in one of the world’s finest cities. Into this scenario comes one plucky restaurant called The Best Thai. Oh yes? In this company? Ha! We’ll soon see about that…
A wide-open frontage invites passers-by from salubrious Victoria Street to sample The Best Thai’s popularity for themselves. Pretty Young Things sit outside in gaggles, slurping on their BYO wine, chatting in loud voices and chomping their way through Australian-portion (ie. huge) Thai dishes. It’s a friendly atmosphere that immediately makes even lone diners feel comfortable.
All the standards are on the menu, which helpfully uses the dishes’ Thai names where they’re widely known but translates into English for hidden delicacies.
Entrees include southern Thai specialities such as satay dishes, plus fish cakes, curry puffs and crispy chicken wings. Or you can share all the options on one platter for a bargain AUS$6 – ideal if you’re sharing and don’t know what to order.
Of the main courses, take your pick from green, red (Panang), yellow (Massaman) or gang phagai (Jungle) curry and you’ll be sure of excellent quality meat (all for AUS$8, or AUS8.50 for Massaman), but the beef is a particularly good bet – huge amounts and not an ounce of fat to be found on repeat visits. The same is true of the stir-fry dishes (all at AUS$9.80), featuring sweet & sour, oyster sauce, kra prao, lemongrass (of course), prik khing and cashew nuts. Add AUS$2 for a serving of rice.
Pad Thai comes as a meat-free starter for AUS$7.50, but upgrade to AUS$8 to add meat to the shaved peanuts, tofu, beansprouts, egg, thin noodle and a smattering of green vegetables. Or, if you like your noodles thick, reliable favourite pad see ew will fill you to bursting here. I repeat: these are not Thai portions!
An interesting seafood section is heavily reliant on prawns and squid, and all the dishes are a little pricier at AUS$13.80. Try the king prawns stir-fried with garlic and pepper, or, from the salads section, yum pla muk – squid salad with herbs, lemon juice and lemongrass.
For vegetarians, there are more than ten main courses to choose from – stir-fried pumpkin and snow peas with tofu and egg makes a change from pad Thai. And for those who like their dishes on the mild side the chef will take your taste preference into account before cooking.
As is the way with Thai food, everything is fresh and made to order in the open plan kitchen in front of you in minutes, and served by attentive staff who also provide free bottles of chilled water, leaving you to tuck in. A small selection of soft drinks are also available.
There are many other Thai restaurants on Victoria Street and around, but none serving such quality in such portions for these prices. What’s more, if you can’t get down to the restaurant itself, a take-away and delivery service also operates. But note – they don’t take credit cards or cheques.
The Best Thai? As Australianised Thai food goes, it’s pretty damn close.