It is sad to say but Thai Passion is just another King Street Thai. It covers the basics but in the end it is indistinguishable from from any number of other mediocre Thai joints on the strip. Harsh? Perhaps, but I don’t think we are alone in this opinion judging by the number of empty seats last Friday night.
We tried. We entered into the transaction with love in our hearts and a try-harder positive attitude – we were all Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose as we ran back onto the field. We had a bottle of yummy Mrs Wrigley rosé to drink, and indeed I had downed a Blog Dolter before arriving. We even ordered the entree called Sexy Girl, purely on the basis of its name and my own brand of simple-minded and wildly-misplaced optimism.
There was nothing really wrong with it. It was just a prawn in some spring roll pastry. Deep fried. With sweet chilli dipping sauce. It was crunchy, but it wasn’t sexy. Not in the least.
Thai Passion claims to be Thai so for mains, Number 37 is being resurrected, and this time it turns out to be Cashew Nut sauce with your choice of wokked animal. We chose the duck because probably the only thing we have learned this year is that we often like what Thai restaurants do with ducks. The ducks probably don’t, but if you follow that argument, the logic leads straight to Green Gourmet and, frankly, once was enough. Strop also takes a fancy to the special on the blackboard: seafood and mango salad.
While we are waiting Strop discusses what I should do tomorrow as I am officially in holiday mode but she still has time to serve. There is ham and cherries to be purchased at the markets, a dog to be deodorised, gutters to be cleaned, and a massive seasonal fail to be corrected. Last week in a rush of optimism, grandfatherly pride and stupidity, I strung crass-massy lights across the front of our house, spending a lot of time and aggravating Strop no-end, trying to wrangle the recalcitrant rope of lights into a form that might be mistaken for writing. In the end we managed to get a bemused Asian couple, who just happened to be passing at the wrong moment, to admit that it did indeed spell out the seasonally appropriate and cheerful, but artfully ambiguous, “Merry…” just as intended. I was full of pride when I turned it on and the little lights began to glow. Well most of them did. Some of the little buggers were decidedly unglowy, but the ones next to the unglowy ones were glowing even more brightly, as if to compensate for the lack of effort being put in by their brethren. They glowed brighter. And brighter. And they got hotter and hotter. There was smoke. Never a good sign. The plastic tube began to melt. It was kind of fascinating watching the plastic liquify, then bubble, and blacken. More lights decided that it was much cooler to be in the unglowy group, which seemed to make the over-achieving glowers angry. They got hotter and brighter and made more smoke. Then there was that smell you never want to smell around self-installed electrical devices, the smell of plastic that is just about to burst into flames. So I turned it all off. I decided it didn’t really matter that the lights didn’t work. A clear plastic tube on the front of the house that said “Merry…” was perfectly alright. A little avante garde even, an ironic monument to seasonal excess.
Strop didn’t agree. “Everyone says you should do it again, but this time don’t bugger it up,” she said.
“Oh yes. Everyone. They’re unanimous.”
I stalled, saying I would think about it, while I tried to think of a convincing argument that would save me from spending more money and risking further failure.
I was saved by the duck. It looked very nice on a big platter with lots of vegies and cashews and sauce. Unfortunately the sauce was very salty and sweet, so it didn’t leave room for any of the other flavours to come through. The duck was good but was overpowered by the sauce. The seafood and mango salad came next. It was another big platter with lettuce, spring onions, apple, and mango on the bottom, and deep fried and battered seafood scattered on top. The seafood was ok and the mango was nice enough but… it was as if the they had been properly introduced in the kitchen, and they weren’t talking to each other.
The meal was relatively cheap though, so there is that I suppose.
Afterwards we crossed the road to Yogurberry, which we thought had died, but we were informed by an enthusiastic young American man, that it had just been closed for renovations. They had installed swings and an overheated man in a pink rabbit suit. Strop was very enthusiastic because they were having a special re-opening half-price deal, so we had extruded, sweetened yoghurt for dessert. Complete with strange little balls of flavour. I hope Strop has got that out of her system now.