Khao Pla, Thai, Chatswood
A new Thai in northern town
Noodlies, Sydney food blog checks out Chatswood’s newest Thai star
By Thang Ngo
In chefs’ whites he moves languidly in the open kitchen, it’s only 5.30pm on a chilly Saturday evening and there are only a couple of early diners. Chef Pla Rojratanavichai comes with credentials that make you sit up and notice, from Spice I Am to Dan Hong’s hipster priced Mr Wong and Ms.G’s. Rojratanavichai has fled the nest to start his own eatery at Chatswood in Sydney’s north.
Outside it’s discreet with Khao Pla logo against a plain white background. Inside it’s intimate, black floor to ceiling, with black and white Thailand themed images plastered all over the walls and menu – rather than looking busy, the stark design is attractive and signals an understated confidence.
Check out noodlies featured video above for a look at the eatery and food.
The standout dish is moo krob pad prik khing, the Spice I am heritage very evident, wok fried crispy pork belly in prik khing curry paste. Lit up with multiple downlights it glows and in the mouth the pungent curry sizzles; rich, deep and sharp.
Larb gai is classy; dry chicken mince enhanced with liberal splashes of fish sauce and chilli. It grabs your attention the minute it reaches the tongue, subtle at first revealing more and more with each mouthful.
Yum nua (beef salad) is sweet, very sweet but stick with it after the first mouthful you’ll find it’s balanced with a reasonable amount of fish sauce and fresh, zesty cucumber and herbs. Katuri flower sounds like a gimmick but contributes an unfamiliar texture which lifts this dish from also-rans; it tastes like a cross between stir fried elephant ear stem and baby bok choy.
The gaeng panang curry is true to its promise of being a thick, red curry with chicken. The coconut milk is dialed to the max; creamy and rich when combined with a umami fish sauce hit – it’s a big taste that should be enjoyed with mouthfuls of rice.
With Khao Pla, Rojratanavichai has combined the uncompromising authenticity of Spice I am with hipness of Ms G’s. Though thankfully, he avoids Mr Wong pricing – mains range from $12 to $19.
It’s easy to see why after only two months, this eatery is buzzing with hungry punters – Khao Pla is conveniently located, easy on the eye, very pleasant to the palate and extremely light on the wallet.
Khao Pla Thai Kitchen
Shop 7, 370-374 Victoria Rd, Chatswood
Ph: 02 9412 4978