Well, that didn’t take long.
This is our first go at repainting the bridge and it’s a great chance to check out the changing face of King Street. We haven’t been idle during our short hiatus. We made a pilgrimage back to where it all started at Number 6 where we had lovely quiet meal at Izote. We’ve also checked out Luyu &Yum Yum, which definitely deserves further investigation and a post of its own – if only for the chance to have another of their wonderful whisky sours. Excursions up and down the coast have revealed quite a few culinary highlights including Vietnamese at Newcastle with Camilla and Tim, burgers and retro rock at Catherine Hill Bay pub, home cooked chicken-in-milk courtesy of Peter and Zena down in the banjo picking hills of Cobargo, and a Quarterdeck breakfast on the inlet at Narooma with Lisa and Greg. So much food, so little time. Oh well, we can only eat what is put in front of us, I suppose.
Bangkok Bites is a relative newcomer to the King Street midlands, replacing the unlamented Simply Noodles. Whereas its predecessor was for a long time, grey and empty, Bangkok Bites is all colour and movement with plenty of saliva inducing smells coming from the kitchen. The decor and the set up is reminiscent of the original Chat Thai, although there aren’t people queueing outside to get in. Not yet anyway. The new restaurant is located in a prime position, close to the cinema and promotes itself as bringing a taste of Bangkok street food to King Street. They certainly have the staff to provide quick turnarounds. Strop counted six in the kitchen and four on the floor. Vroom.
As we were shown to our seats, it was clear that they had squeezed as many tables as possible into the space available – I had to step into the very busy corridor to remove my jacket, holding up the progress of three waitresses. As one poured us glasses of water she told us that the establishment is cash only and BYO. Important to establish the ground rules up front. Luckily we had come prepared with folding stuff fresh from the ATM and a nice little bottle of pinot grigio. The other clientele were all couples of various denominations, presumably lots of date nights going on. It’s not really the place for big group tables, Thai Pothong has that scene pretty much sown up anyway. The colour scheme features lots of red and yellow, with occasional bursts of flames from the kitchen.
The menu is a comprehensive full-colour large-format booklet, full of graphic stylings that match the graffiti mural along the main wall of the restaurant. I went straight to number 37 which turned out to be a noodle dish, oddly called Buddy Bites Noodles. I didn’t read any further, I was just glad not to have to count my way through the menu. Strop fancied Kung Fu Fritters because she is a sucker for corn fritters as should be clear by now. We also continued our duck salad tradition.
The young couple at the table next to us were drinking coke in fake jam jars (handles? can we please end this madness), and having a deep and meaningful discussion about Game of Thrones, how the women have the best storylines (hmm possibly… except for the short guy), and how someone was “not long for this world,” however it was unclear just which world they were referring to. That’s how close the tables are.
Our food arrived quickly and the servings were large. Very large. Number 37 was first, piled high with noodles and dotted with slices of chicken and beef (oh, so that’s the buddy reference, I should have read the fine print). The flavours were clean and fresh but a bit sweet for me – maybe due to the chilli jam marinade used on the chicken. The duck salad was daunting too, basically a roast duck breast, sliced thickly and laid out on a bed of lettuce. On further investigations there were lots of salad bits and dressing hidden under the duck. And it tasted great, just a slightly deconstructed take on salad. Plenty of luscious duck, looking as if it was still waiting for a formal introduction to the onion and coriander. The fritters were tasty and crunchy, and came with big wedges of fried tofu. I ate them because they were crunchy but I still don’t see the point of tofu.
Bangkok Bites is a hectic and tasty experience. The staff are efficient and attentive despite occasionally sprinting from one end of the restaurant to the other. It’s a great place for a pre or post movie meal, and I’m sure it will give the Italian Bowl a run for its money.
We enjoyed the food, but were defeated by its sheer volume, and had to request a takeaway container to take the excess home. I’m looking forward to those leftovers.
Our journey home was slightly delayed when Strop was taken by the window display next door at Hum. She was taking photos of The Killing DVD box set because she wanted to copy the knitting pattern. Very Strop.