Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe is a frequent haunt of ours, so when we shot passed Bang Saen Thai we nearly got whiplash! We knew there had been a Thai restaurant there (that we had yet to try), but we just never got around to going. That’s until their recent change of name (not change of owners) and interior renovation took place, which allows the crisp, white and bright decor to become noticeable to passers-by.
Not long after entering a bad-memory version of their name into my mobile’s long list of “need to try” places, Hubby Bear’s parents were keen to go out for Thai, therefore the booking was made, and we were on our way!
We chose from a large selection of entrees, one being the Por-pia Goong ($7.00), which were marinated king prawns wrapped in a crispy pastry and deep fried. Apparently so good you can eat the tails! 🙂 The table openly received two serves of Tod Mun Pla ($10.00), A.K.A. home made fish cakes. You know, every Thai place we’ve been to puts the term “home made” next to their fish cake offering, but they all look (and by report, taste) the same, except these ones. They weren’t that classic flat-patty style cake, they were varying sizes of round balls, quite fresh in appearance and apparently tasty, which all lends credence to the “home made” label.
I chowed into a crunchy Som Tum ($12.00) salad, which I ordered in “medium heat”. I must make a mental note that my idea of medium is really a Thai person’s mild. Despite my burning lips, the freshly shredded papaya swam around with bits nuts, tomato and beans in an abundant amount of tart, tangy chili lime juice.
Whilst I know this isn’t a main dish, my mother-in-law is a tapas style eater, so she ordered the Mixed Entree ($16.00). The rectangular platter arrived with a couple of prawn spring rolls (tasty yet again), fish cakes (now these ones looked like those standard ones you get elsewhere), satay chicken skewers (that were nice, but seemed to be missing the peanut sauce), and minced pork steamed won tons. Overall, a hit with mother-in-law Bear.
My father-in-law ordered the Moo Grob Prink Khing ($19.00) which was crispy pork belly stir fried in ginger and red curry paste. Whilst the flavour was definitely delicious, the pork belly was anything but crisp. And given my father-in-law wasn’t overly keen on chewing flabby fat, it left the dish wanting a bit. There were wild ravings over the Prawn Fried Rice ($16.00) which enveloped scrambled egg, sliced onion, chunks of Chinese broccoli and big, fat king prawns. The Roti Bread ($3.50 per serve) was pretty standard, crisp and tasty.
My Vegetarian Yellow Curry ($14.00) was coconut-milky and overall pretty solid. It had with potato, sweet potato, snow peas, cauliflower, onion, and mushrooms (which I flicked across the table to Hubby Bear’s curry, sometimes hitting the mark, other times not). It was a hearty serve and went well with my steamed rice.
Hubby Bear got his usual Thai fave, the Mussamun Beef Curry ($17.00) which had slow cooked meat in a thick sauce with peanuts, onion and potato. This was the biggest let-down here for him because it was incredibly sweet for his pallet. Whilst he knows this sort of curry lends itself on the sweeter side, some renditions even have pineapple in them, this one tasted like an “Oops, 2 tablespoons too many of palm sugar” version.
We brought our own wine, and the corkage was a fair $5.00 per bottle. Overall? It’s a very comfortable restaurant to dine in, the service is smiling and obliging, the menu is large and well priced. Granted, it’s no Jinda Thai, but if you’re hankering for a good suburban Thai place — we’d recommend you give it a try.
Address: 228 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe VIC 3079
Tip! You can adjust the spiciness of dishes, so be sure to let them know if you do, or don’t like it hot! And err on the less-spicy-side if you’re unsure! 🙂