I’m developing a new hypothesis. It goes like this: there is a direct correlation between worn menus and good food. When I can convince CSIRO to take this important piece of research on, I think that Thai Yindee will make an excellent test site. The menus at Thai Yindee appear to have been put through a thresher, and yet the food is full of pleasant surprises. Indeed most of the menus are missing their cover pages. Without these it takes a while to work out that the menus are really two separate menus (lunch and dinner) stuck back to back and upside to downside, in the one dog-eared document. The upside of this culinary duality is that there are two number 37s to try. Hooray!
Our visit to Thai Yindee came at the end of a challenging week, and as usual our research was not extensive.
“I think it’s called Thai Yindee.”
“Really? Another Thai? I thought it was that dumpling place.”
“No, that’s before the Indian. After the Japanese.”
“The Japanese was last week.”
“Not that Japanese.”
“Oh… Do you think we need to book?”
So our expectations weren’t high, but King Street on Friday night always lifts the spirits. It is a good way to start the weekend, there is a relaxed buzz in the air on Fridays, as if all the punters are just glad to have survived the week. On Saturday nights it is a bit more crazy. There is an air of desperation to the good-time seeking, as if Saturday is the last chance to get wasted or laid before the next week comes charging over the horizon. (Elmore Leonard reckons I should cut this because it looks like writing, but fuck him, he’s dead now.)
From the outside there is nothing to lift Thai Yindee out of the ‘yet another Thai’ dining category, but inside there are clues. The first is the delicious smell, the second is the layout with the kitchen up front, and the third is the well worn menus. The restaurant is warm and welcoming and the other diners look happy. Tonight we are joined by the Stropolina who is in fine form having just had a few days work at a school attached to Randwick Children’s Hospital.
We have been too disorganised to manage to get some wine on the way to the restaurant, so we decide to choose from the wine list. I notice that the couple at the next table have a bottle of rosé that looks very appealing. It is beaded with condensation, and is that pale pink that I associate with nice dry rosés. Unfortunately my primate brain leaps to the conclusion that it is the same as the one in the wine list. No. It is not the same. The one that we get is warm, deep red and very sweet. Strop is undaunted though, quickly saving the day by ordering ice which makes the wine cold and also somehow manages to make it less sweet. Anyway we have absolutely no problem finishing the bottle.
For entrees we order Potato Prawns, Satay Chicken and something called Moo Ping which turns out to be bbq pork on a skewer. For mains we have the two number 37s – Egg Fried Rice and Banana Flower Salad – and Jingle Curry with duck. (I know that it is really Jungle Curry but I am the sort of shallow person who will order a dish purely on the basis of a silly sounding name, or indeed a misspelt one. Strop is further amused by the wait-person’s pronunciation of jungle which involves swallowing a whole live letter g. Small minds etc.)
While we are waiting for the food to arrive there is a very tense moment when discussion of upcoming nuptials reveals that Strop has not been invited to Stropette’s hens night/weekend. Tension abounds – Strop is actually quite hurt by this revelation that she does not qualify as a BFF. To avoid any hasty phone calls to Melbourne, Stropolina and I engage in some rapid subject-changing manoeuvres.
“Did you know that it’s very important to keep the oncology kids away from the cystic fibrosis kids.”
“No, I did not know that.”
“Well it is.”
“Suppressed immune systems are incompatible with phlegm.”
Thank god, the food started to arrive.
It was soon followed by the first of many mutterings of the phrase of the evening, “Yum, this is better than I was expecting.”
The entrees all come with four pieces, which is a bit of a problem as there are only three of us, and knowing our family THAT could lead to nasty scenes. While I am wondering how to cut the fourth potato prawn into three with a fork and spoon, Stropolina comes up with the perfect solution – everyone gets a second helping of their favourite. She quickly gobbles down her own favourite (Potato Prawns) before her parents realise that this solution only works if we all have different favourites. This is the kind of parent managing strategy that you learn after years of working with children apparently.
The Jingle Curry, and the Banana Flower Salad are excellent and the Egg Fried Rice is fried rice with egg. The phrase of the evening gets more of a work out. The Banana Flower Salad is the stand out dish, and the only disappointment, apart from the wine was the satay sauce which was a bit too salty. The wait-persons are friendly and efficient, keeping the food coming and the water topped up.
I would be very happy to go back to Thai Yindee – but that would involve breaking the Rules.
We have had a few queries from friends wanting to join us on future outings so we are going to put up a page listing the next few eateries on the schedule.
Love to all.
Awesome review. I think I remember there being another Thai on the same sight which was always excellent. But, it may have always been Thai Yindee, with a different branding/ sign. The way that I can’t remember which Thai places are which on King St makes me think that there should be one called Thai-nesia. Then I remembered that there is a place called that elsewhere in Sydney: Thai Nesia.
I think I’m getting old.
Google Earth is always a good source for what was there before – and you are probably right, anywhere on King Street the odds are that there has been a Thai restaurant there at some stage. Thai-nesia is a fantastic name, I haven’t heard that before. Now I’m going to have to check it out.