Chat Thai's newest outlet offers the Prada of pad Thais
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If you haven't heard of Chat Thai by now, there's something seriously wrong with the crack you're inhaling. In fact, it's pretty hard to live in Sydney and not have at least one Chat Thai within blinking distance. Hell, there's even one at the Manly Wharf.
But here's something you might not know, unless you've eaten at every one of their venues: each offers something different. While the Manly and Coogee branches are a little more pedestrian (all the usual noodles, salads and stir fries), the city branch under the Galeries Victoria serves a Crying Tiger so hot that even touching ice to your lips afterward is painful. They also make an excellent boat noodle soup, with blood jelly and some sort of meatball that may or may not be pig's testicles.
Their Haymarket branch offers a late-night supper menu till 2am and does some exceptional northern Thai style grills. And now there's a Chat Thai in Westfield. Is it the best of the lot? It's certainly the flashest. The Westfield branch (on Level Six with Xanthi) boasts its own dessert bar serving up wafers topped with firm meringue and salted coconut. Some days there'll even be a dried-shrimp version. They do all your favourite riffs on custard/mango/sticky rice/pandan/palm sugar custard and offer the sweets to go, as well.
You're here, and you're hungry. Order the pad Thai luxed up with roasted-and-boned duck with its very own condiment set. This is the Prada of pad Thais right here: all silky noodles, tamarind, duck and green onion. You won't want to miss the 'ship and shore', either - it’s a salad of stir-fried chicken, pork, prawn and a fried egg, all mixed through with chilli jam.
Old favourites like the pad prik king - stir-fried pork belly with ginger and red curry sauce - are executed with precision, flavours are sharp and seasoning is bang on. Everything is tuned just that little bit finer here – like really good hi-fi. It's proof once again that Sydney's really on the money. Proof? A shopping centre in the middle of the city can be turned on enough to place an incredible Thai restaurant among a nest of A-list designer stores like Miu Miu, Diane Von Fursternberg, Chanel and Christian Laboutin. If you thought Zara was flash for your cash, wait till you take a turn at Chat Thai.