For my first three years in Sydney I lived in Newtown. As we lived on campus and ate the associated food, my friends and I often got takeaway. And what better place to be getting takeaway than Sydney's Thai Food capital. Consequently I have very high standards when it comes to Thai food. Although, I was a uni student and not eating in the finest establishments, so perhaps it's more appropriate to say I have very specific standards.
Koh Samui didn't quite match those standards, although it's clear that a lot of care goes into the dishes. To tell you the truth, I can't even remember the name of my dish. I'm sure it's loosely translated to flash-fried chicken with vegetables and tamarind. The word Maram seems to stick in my mind, or something similar. Kai (chicken?) Maram? Nevermind, the chicken was excellet; light with just a hint of peanut oil to satisfy the wicked side in me. The vegetables were standard (Australian) Thai fare, fresh and thinly sliced. S-bo had the Thai Chilli Squid which was well on the tough side.
Koh Samui seems to be reaching out with their menu, producing dishes that I don't associate with my lower-end-of-the-market Thai history. Things like Baby Snappper La Prik (deep fried whole baby snapper with special lime sauce) were not things I was privvy to at university. I was looking for my familiar Pad Prew Warn, of which I can't even remember how to spell, Satays and greasy spring rolls. There were spring rolls and they weren't greasy which, despite my previous statement, is a good thing. They were however a little light on filling.
I'm not saying bad things about Koh Samui because it's not a good place. It just didn't match my previous prejudies. The service is attentive and the atmosphere good, as long as they keep the music playing. Don't be misled by the Richardson St entrance. The tables seen from the front window were vacant and deserted, however out the back are more tables and more people in a nice modern, but not stark setting. The price is more than I would usually pay for Thai ($16-$26 for a main), with smaller portions. But there's that uni student again. Although, for that price in Newtown you could be getting some pretty damn amazing Thai food and excellent.
I guess I'll go back. Until I can find a Newtown Thai in Melbourne I'll always need something to satisfy my cravings.
251 Richardson St
(03) 9696 3080
(03) 9696 3080