Lemon Leaf Thai Restaurant, Wantirna South (Knox Ozone)

I really love going to Knox City Shopping Centre, as I’ve found the best green grocer right in the middle of the mall. It’s not where you’d expect to find such an amazing green grocer that’s for sure. Every time I go, I’m amazed at just how cheap and fresh the produce are and most of all, the variety of interesting fruits and veggies that you can’t find anywhere else, or at least that I’m aware of (found bell apples and fresh almonds last time).

However, in such a large shopping centre, it’s actually hard to find a good restaurant. I’ve been to Seamus O’Toole’s Irish Pub and Bar Bosh which were not bad, but choices are quite limited if don’t want to dine at a chain.

During my last visit, Yuye and I walked around twice while scratching our heads at where to dine and finally settled on Lemon Leaf, a Thai restaurant. I was attracted by the interesting chairs and attractive decor, even though we actually sat outside that day to enjoy the sunshine. Although the food wasn’t all bad, they failed to impress and some elements even disappointed.

I chose the Lunch Special Set A with 4 courses which cost $25, this includes 1 entree, 1 soup, 1 main, 1 dessert and 1 drink. It seemed too good to be true for that price. Yuye decided to order a separate dish with rice since it’ll be too much for us to eat if we both ordered the lunch sets.

For course 1, I chose the Satay Gai – fried marinated chicken skewers with homemade satay peanut sauce. Lemon Leaf’s satay sauce was quite runny and sweet. I prefer a chunky and slightly thicker sauce over this one as it doesn’t stick on the skewer as well nor does it have as much of that peanuty fragrant taste. The chicken was tender though.

For the soup I chose the tom kar – a milk coconut milk soup with chicken and veggies. I found the soup itself was quite refreshing and tasty. I enjoyed the slight zing in the soup and the creamy coconut taste. However, the cabbage used in the soup was quite disappointing. It was obvious that it had been cut beforehand and left out for a long time so that the edges of the cabbage are brown and dried up. The kitchen staff need to have enough detail to attention and care to at least cut the brown parts off before serving. We ended up throwing out all the cabbage.

For the main, I chose the green curry with chicken. Green curry is my favourite Thai dish and is something I’d always order as a comparison between restaurants so this was an easy choice. Yuye and I both found the curry to be a bit too sweet and was slightly watery as well. The chicken was tender enough and although it wasn’t the biggest dish, they didn’t cheap out on giving chicken. One thing I didn’t like though was the fact that the rice was just dumped in the sauce. I would have preferred it on the side and scooped myself.

Yuye ordered the red curry with duck $16.80 and it also came with rice. We found this curry to be even sweeter as there was lychees and pumpkin in the sauce. Normally sweet ingredients compliments duck very well but it was just slightly overdone here.

For dessert I ordered the Kanom Toey – coconut pudding served with vanilla ice cream. This dessert was a disaster. It wasn’t the best way to end the meal really. The coconut pudding was so small I almost needed a magnifying glass to see it (ok so that was an exaggeration but it was very small!). You can tell from the photo just how shallow the serving bowl was. I also found it to be quite bland, although I could distinctly taste the coconut, it wasn’t smooth and strong like it should be.

The vanilla ice cream was definitely store bought and a bad variety at that. I almost gave up eating it at all.

For the drink, I just ordered a lemon squash. The only drinks available as part of the set were soft drinks, unless if you want to pay extra for an upgrade.

Overall, none of the dishes stood out for me and some were quite the disaster. The prices still seemed reasonable and the service was good but we just didn’t like the taste of the dishes that much. I’m not sure if dinner is better, but at least I’m not in a hurry to return here anytime soon.

Question time: Do you ever choose a restaurant based on how much you liked the decor and chairs?

Lemon Leaf
Phone: (03) 9887 4777
425 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South VIC 3152 (Knox Ozone)

Lemon Leaf on Urbanspoon

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5 comments… add one
  • Girlnpurpledres November 1, 2012, 5:55 am

    I personally LOVE LOVE Thai cuisine. The flavours are phenomenal and just so tasty.

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet November 2, 2012, 2:28 am

    Oh what a shame that this place didn’t live up to the decoration…because it looks quite decent… and BAD quality store bought vanilla ice-cream? that’s a crime to me! lol

  • kitchenriffs November 2, 2012, 4:32 am

    Those chairs are cool – I can see why they appealed to you. I’ve had decent meals in shopping centers, but not many. Most of them are just OK – which sounds like what you experienced here. Although this sounds like it was fairly priced – an awful lot of restaurants in shopping centers in the US are just a bit overpriced, at least in my experience.

  • Ali November 2, 2012, 9:28 pm

    What a shame 🙁 I always use the green chicken curry as the marker between Thai restaurants. It’s also my favourite Thai dish!

  • choux choux November 11, 2012, 9:58 am

    The pudding is ridiculous! It’s way too small. I never order the green curry because it’s always too sweet for me. Sorry to hear this place is a bit of a let down.


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