I must say that I’ve been very lucky: growing up in Singapore, I’ve been able to consider Thailand as a “weekend holiday” destination, and enjoy all the culinary delights that come with it! Since moving to Sydney, I’ve clearly had less easy access to Thailand, but I must say, Thai food in Sydney is actually quite good.
And with that knowledge, I was super excited to be invited to Tall Lemongrass, in Crow’s Nest!
Owner Wendy greeted us at the door, and then proceeded to completely spoil us with her extensive menu – this was a whole book and a few laminated sheets worth of menu – of Thai classics with a modern slant.
We start with 2 entrees, because…well, do we actually need a reason?
The Mieng Khum, $12, and the Duck Salad Mouthfuls, $14 show a strong emphasis on presentation, and sets the mood for a bit of theatre. Mieng Khum is a traditional Thai snack of ginger, chilli, onion, peanuts, and various other toppings, wrapped in a betel leaf. In Australia, with our abundance of beautiful produce, poached prawn is often added, making a delicious mouthful. Here at Tall Lemongrass, it’s served with an additional egg net and a delicious sweet/savoury dressing, in stunning glasses.
Told you that there was an emphasis on presentation!
Crispy Pork with Caramel Dressing , $20
Of the mains, we chose the Crispy Pork Belly with Caramel Dressing, $20, the Som Tum with Deep Fried Barramundi Fillet, $25, the Pad Thai with Squid, $16, and Green Tea Rice, $3.50, just to mop up all the deliciousness!
Som Tum with Deep Fried Barramundi Fillet, $25
The Crispy Pork Belly came out with an absolute flourish, as all crispy pork belly is wont to do, and the caramel sauce coated the tender-on-the-inside-crispy-on-the-outside pork belly chunks with an addictive sweet glaze. The Green Tea Rice was another delicious surprise – they fry the rice off with matcha powder, giving a very subtle and light green tea flavour that actually works very well with the traditional Thai mix of flavours of sweet, salty, spicy and salty.
Heck, I’d even eat the rice on its own. But we all know that I’d do that anyway.
Deep fried ice cream with filo sheets, $12.50
But the piece de resistance – DEEP FRIED ICE CREAM!!! Cold ice cream, hot crispy filo pastry, a delight for the senses. And check this: It’s better than Holy Basil. BOOM. There, I said it. And even though we were full AF, it was still the best part of the evening. Look, the other dishes were decent, but this dessert was absolutely excellent.
I really like how The Tall Lemongrass is trying to do something new, with very old culinary traditions. They’re trying to do something different with something so familiar to us, and I commend them for that. Unfortunately, not everything works – the Pad Thai, for example, while very cute in their little egg net parcels, was not actually what I’d classify as a main. And I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be if I thought I was ordering a stock standard full plate of pad thai, and 2 small parcels came out to the table.
BUT, I’m an avid supporter of creativity, and as with any restaurant menu – especially one so extensive – is bound to have some executional problems. And realistically, Crows Nest is an expensive neighbourhood, so I guess…well I’m not entirely surprised about the price tags of the dishes.
Great space for a group setting, and the waitresses are extremely friendly and helpful. If nothing else, go for that fried ice cream. It’s freaking amazeballs.