We weren’t expecting gastronomic miracles from suburban Thai restaurant, Na Songkhla, located in Mernda Villages, in the outer northern burbs. And we can for sure tell you we weren’t expecting to see two bears sitting at a table in their front window. What does one do when faced with extremely large plush toys in the window of an eatery? Walk away normally. But being unsure what sort of omen it was, we entered at our own risk, as the curiosity got the better of us.
A long dining hall was filled with basic dining tables, turned around in a manner where they could seat four (or more), however too narrow in depth to adequately accommodate the plates & dishes upon them. In saying that, the pièce de résistance of decor was – no, not the bears – but their (sparsely stocked) trendy looking bar, of which had the nice bustle of kitchen noises popping through a wall opening from time to time. We’ll decline to comment much on the frat-house-got-it-off-eBay-looking sofa they placed just near the bar, clearly meant for those waiting for takeaway.The service is basic, yet friendly and helpful. And once asked, we were told the bears in the window were “security”. Oh goodness. What have we gotten ourselves into!
Enough about the decor anomalies, let’s talk about the food. Our table ordered the Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes), although they had the classic-hockey-puck shape in appearance, I was told they were nicely spiced with hints of that distinct Kaffir lime leaf every now and again.
The Goong Maprao (Coconut King Prawns) were definitely crispy with their coconut battered exteriors, but Hubby Bear advised he couldn’t locate any of the flavour from the “marinated” prawns inside. So it was left to the sweet dipping sauce to add the flavour to this dish.
The servers were really accommodating and asked the kitchen if they would make a Nur Num Tok (Spicy Beef Salad) without the beef for me, of which they did. They replaced the meat with chunks of tofu; overall, it was okay. The dressing, for me, was skewed to the salty side (normally when I get this salad elsewhere, the dressing is a balanced contrast of salty-sweet-spicy-and-sour). But I’m finding it hard to judge this dish too harshly because I asked them to remove a key component to it. Would I try it again? No. But I’m grateful they made it for me! 🙂
The carnivores shared a Gang Keon Whan (Green Curry), with chunks of chicken breast, capsicum, and green beans. It had the classic coconut base infused with a semi-spicy green curry paste. Nothing miraculous, but tasty enough to chow down on.
The table top space was then overloaded with another dish for the meat eaters, Pad Khing (Ginger stir fry), with king prawns and vegetables. I asked hubby what it was like, and the response was “Alright.” Again, good enough to throw down the hatch, but not great enough to order again.
I shared a Tofu Tod (Satay) with my mother-in-law, and whilst the peanut sauce was nice, the tofu was a little on the “I’m-getting-hard-as-a-rock” side. Flavour-wise they were fine, but perhaps they were deep fried a little too long, or maybe left to cool too quickly.
The star of the show for me was the Vegetarian Fried Rice, it may not look fancy with its big chunks of cabbage and carrot, and sprinkling of egg, cauliflower and broccoli – but it was very tasty indeed! Even the carnivores agreed (who had ordered just plain jasmine rice for their dishes), that the veg fried rice dish was a winner!
Overall, it’s suburban Thai in a sprawling new estate, getting its grip on who, what and where they are. Don’t expect magic to pop out of that kitchen, just expect the standard. Decent food, decent price, decent service. Plus a couple of plush toys for the kids. LOL!
Address: 46 Mernda Village Drive, Mernda VIC 3754
Tip! They’re clearly accommodating to vegetarians, so if you don’t find what you’re after from their veg section, just ask!