Thornbury’s not the kind of suburb I would have linked to good food and definitely not somewhere I would have traveled to for a meal. That is, until I dined at Som Tam Thai Restaurant Melbourne. I was quite happy when I was invited to dine at Som Tam because I really like Thai food but we don’t get to eat it much since Yuye’s not the greatest with spicy dishes. Thankfully we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that night.
We arrived very early and was the first people to sit down when Som Tam opened its doors at 5:30pm. To my surprise another family came through the doors right after us. It started to fill up fast as the night went on but the service was always impeccable. Water was promptly filled up, dishes and cutlery changed when dirtied and this was all done with a smile.
The setting was modern and atmospheric with its red exposed bricks and black and white canvas photographs, although I wouldn’t have guessed it was a Thai restaurant from just the decor. This was what intrigued me most. Although the decor wasn’t traditional Thai, the dishes definitely tasted authentic perhaps with a slightly modern touch.
Before our meal, two small plates of complementary som tam was brought out. This is served to all customers so they get a taste of where Som Tam has taken its name from – a Thai salad made using fresh papaya.
We ordered the dishes that the waitress recommended starting with the Moo Satay – marinated collar pork, coconut cream, lemongrass, turmeric with Thai peanut sauce and ar-jard (4pcs $9.90). This dish came with four skewers of succulent pork smothered in a rich creamy satay sauce. I’ve never had pork satay before since it’s usually served with chicken or beef but pork definitely didn’t lose to either.
We couldn’t possibly have gone without ordering a proper som tam so we went with the soft shell crab som tam which consisted of green papaya, snake bean, roasted peanuts, lime, palm sugar, tamarind sauce and a whole soft shell crab ($12.90). It was as fresh, a little bit spicy and very tasty. The soft shell crab was beautifully cooked – crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. This dish was bigger than I thought.
Our main was a red curry roast duck made with house-made five spice roast duck, fresh grapes, longan in a Thai spiced red curry sauce ($18.90). The curry was mildly spicy with fragrant curry spices coming through along with the sweetness of the fruits. It went very well with the tender roast duck.
We paired the curry with a bowl of black sticky rice ($4) and a roti ($4.50). The roti came with satay sauce but I didn’t think it was necessary as the roti was plenty tasty by itself. It was buttery and chewy, good enough to eat on its own.
The black sticky rice was quite tasty as well and was more fragrant than regular rice.
We were already quite full at this stage. The curry didn’t look big but boy was it filling. Even though we were full, we thought it was a good idea to order a dessert so we decided on the black sticky rice with coconut ice cream ($6.90). It was a great choice. The soft sticky consistency of black sticky rice and the subtle sweetness is addictive and it went very well with the icy cold coconut ice cream. I’ve always known coconut paired great with black sticky rice but this was a match made in heaven. We really should have ordered two serves because we were practically fighting over the last bite.
We had a fantastic time and left full and quite satisfied. Although Som Tam is a bit far from home, I thought it was well worth the drive for the well rounded and delicious meal coupled with great service. For those of you living in the area, you’re in luck! It seems that the locals have already found this gem which opened back in April so it’s best to call beforehand and make a booking to avoid disappointment.
Som Tam Thai Restaurant
Phone: (03) 9480 5276
Address: 750 High St Thornbury, VIC 3071
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10pm, Saturday to Sunday 5:30pm – 10pm, Monday CLOSED
NOTE:This post is a sponsored post. Ichigo Shortcake dined as a guest of Som Tam but all opinions are her own.