Just like mother makes Lo­cals em­brace Hornsby's new­est Thai

Monthly Chronicle - - Dining Out Locally - Jenny Bar­lass

Does the North Shore need another Thai restau­rant? Ap­par­ently so if the num­ber of peo­ple at Hornsby’s new Thai ar­rival is any­thing to go by.

Down a side street op­po­site the RSL car park and up a flight of stairs, Ab­so­lute Thai which opened in July and is the sec­ond Ab­so­lute Thais to ap­pear in Hornsby, is not the eas­i­est of places to find. We stum­bled upon its take­away kitchen a few doors away first, be­fore be­ing di­rected to the right spot.

On Satur­day at 6.30 this vast new 200 seat ar­rival in Hornsby’s busy din­ing space was packed with fam­i­lies en­joy­ing an early din­ner, many Asian, with lit­tle kids en­joy­ing a night out with par­ents. By 8pm the place got a lot qui­eter as fam­i­lies were re­placed by cou­ples and adult groups.

Greeted by the owner Kit­ti­pos Kaew­pr­a­sit, he ex­plained many of the dishes “came from my mother’s kitchen. She would cook them for me as a lit­tle boy and I wanted to repli­cate that here - au­then­tic Thai food cooked with mostly lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents.”

In fact Kitti was off to Bangkok the next day to visit his 85 year-old mum Kru­aphan, still cook­ing for her son, who es­capes to his home­land once a year on a health pil­grim­age.

We are sat next to a del­i­cately-drawn 3 me­tre-long black and white mu­ral which took a tal­ented mem­ber of staff two months to painstak­ingly cre­ate. Fea­tur­ing the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge min­gling with the Rama 8 bridge in Bangkok and var­i­ous other cross-cul­tural ref­er­ences, it de­picts a meet­ing of two cul­tures and worth com­ing to see this work of art alone.

The 71 dish menu is vast and en­com­passes all as­pects of Thai cui­sine from the usual fried fare for starters - Money Bags, Spring Rolls, Tem­pura Prawns and Salt and Pep­per Squid which were all lightly bat­tered and de­li­cious, through to soups, sal­ads, cur­ries, house spe­cial­i­ties, noodle and rice based dishes and dessert.

Af­ter our crunchy starters came the main events - Black Pep­per Soft Shell Crab which was crunchy, golden and mor­eish, com­ing un­usu­ally with a host of small veg­eta­bles on the plate like baby corn, spinach and bean shoots, so you didn’t have to or­der a side of ve­g­ies to get your greens.

My fel­low din­ers chose Chicken Pad Thai which its sweet-toothed re­cip­i­ent re­marked was tasty “though too sweet”, while another’s Lamb Pad Keen Mao also packed with veg­eta­bles was “flavour­some” - she’d re­quested no chilli and chef had obliged.

The Duck 5 Spices had been mar­i­nated in a spice blend im­ported from Bangkok - the up­shot was a ten­der and slow cooked duck leg my hus­band en­joyed carv­ing him­self.

The only dis­ap­point­ment was the Pla Tod, deep fried Bar­ra­mundi - it was over­cooked and grey, and not at all crunchy.

A high­light was the sweet of the day - a blue sago pud­ding that looked very much like blue caviar (the blue comes, Kitti told me, from the But­ter­fly Pea flower) which was doused in a lit­tle co­conut cream and had a sweet and salty flavour with some crunch­i­ness in­side, an ex­cit­ing mar­riage of flavours and tex­tures. The oth­ers feasted on creamy co­conut, mango and rum ‘n’ raisin ice creams, all re­fresh­ing and cool­ing af­ter Thai spices.

Other than the mu­ral, con­crete floors, a black ceil­ing and sim­ple wooden ta­bles and chairs give the place a con­tem­po­rary feel and keep it on trend, ap­peal­ing to the wide de­mo­graphic of din­ers - 60% Aussie and 40% Asian.

For food that’s the real Thai deal, Ab­so­lute Thai de­liv­ers on flavour, authen­tic­ity and good value for money. Just look out for those stairs or you may go hun­gry.

The low­down

Ab­so­lute Thai Shop 5, 2 Wil­liam Street, Hornsby Tel: 9482 1259 Open: ev­ery­day. Lunch from 11.30am - 3.30pm, Din­ner from 5.00pm - 10.00pm

Kitti with the mu­ral

Blue sago dessert

Duck 5 spices

Mixed En­trees

Pla Tod

Chicken Pad Thai

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