Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dinner at Siam Samrarn

Siam Samrarn

Sarcasm: I love it when rain reserves itself for the weekend. It started to drizzle on Friday and by Sunday afternoon, the sun was out again. How timely. Marc and I were ducking around through the streets of West End trying to find a dinner spot last Friday night. The place we'd made a booking at was somehow taken up by a private function so that obviously didn't pan out. Bottle of wine in hand, we had the task of finding a BYO venue.

Siam Samrarn is located in the Coles complex near Three Monkeys. It's licensed but you can BYO bottled wine. Perfect! We were last minute walk-ins but they were happy to accomodate. It was about 8:30pm and the place was busy without being packed. We sat inside but I noticed a large enclosed outdoor dining area too.

The menu is very typically Australian Thai with a list of curries and stir fries, salads, soups and entrees. Marc and I went for some money bag entrees, a chicken curry and beef stir fry with rice.

Money bags - pastry parcel filled with prawn and vegetables

The money bags were brought out first. They had a crispy, thin, deep-fried won ton skin with a prawn filling. I noticed vegetables mentioned on the menu but I couldn't detect any.

Bite shot of money bag

The filling wasn't bad but I would have preferred more texture. The worst part however, was the fact that the centre of mine was still icy cold.

Gang dang with chicken - chicken Thai red curry with coconut milk, green beans and bamboo shoots

After a while, our mains arrived. We were happy to see that they were decent serving sizes. The red curry chicken was creamy with a mild coconut flavor and slight chili kick. The sauce wasn't thick, which I find more authentic. The chicken was nice and tender too.

Pad bai krapow with beef - beef stir-fried with basil leaves, mushrooms, onions, capsicum, garlic, fresh chili and bamboo

The basil beef stir-fry was a bit of a let down. It had good flavor but the beef was quite tough. Luckily, there was an abundance of vegetables so there was still plenty to pick at but it was a shame about the beef.

I had heard good things about Siam Samrarn so I found it rather disappointing. Uncooked entrees and tough meat are rooky mistakes and whilst the curry was good, it wasn't a huge standout. I found our waitresses to be slightly cold too. I've definitely had better Thai food in Australia.
Siam Samrarn on Urbanspoon


  1. Where would you rate for Thai food? I like Siam Samrarn but the last couple of times I have been there its been not as good as previously.

  2. Hi Brisbane Devoured...

    I like Modern Thai in Mount Gravatt and I haven't been to My Thai Restaurant but I've done cooking classes at My Thai Kitchen and loved it so I predict the food their to be good too.

  3. LOL My Thai Kitchen wouldn't have been so infuriating if they don't force you to eat out of takeaway containers, even if you're dining in!

    Even my Thai friends have commented that Siam Samrarn has been a bit hit and miss lately. They reckon it's because they are now hiring students to cook in the kitchen to save costs, whereas when they started off the kitchen was run more professionally. Given how woeful the Thai restaurant scene is in Brisbane, I still think Siam Samrarn is one of the better ones you will find.

  4. Hi Kilas...

    What about My Thai Restaurant in Auchenflower? I think I must have just had an extra poor experience at Siam Samrarn because it wasn't just 'not great', it was leaning towards 'bad'.

  5. I can't blame you, they have been rather inconsistent these days. I had a very underwhelming meal myself two years back at Siam Samrarn, and that was after many fantastic night outs during the first year it opened. I sent back some undercooked clams, instead of doing a new batch they then tossed back into the wok and returned them to me overcooked! Could never fault the service though, the staff have always been lovely. They didn't charge me for the meal after I complained and told them how disappointed I was as a regular.

    An old friend of mine who is now back in Bangkok since a few years ago, once worked as the head waiter at My Thai. He told me....stories about how they actually prepared their food in the kitchen. He actually told me to stay away from the restaurant he was working at if I care about good Thai food! It is without a doubt, Westernized Thai food, dumbed down and overly sweetened for the timid suburban palate. You might find it hard to believe since My Thai Kitchen (which is run by the daughter) conducts cooking classes and make you pound your own pastes, but at her mother's original restaurant, they don't actually make any of their own curry pastes in house. It's all scooped out of Mae Ploy brand packets. Not because the proprietors don't know how to cook genuine Thai food, they just do not consider it to be commercially viable. And even back then, they already charged you a premium for that sort of food in comparison to other Thai restaurants. Have no earthly idea why it's always so popular.

    I read an interview conducted with the owner of My Thai Kitchen about setting up her own venture away from her mother's popular shadow, and even she admitted that she would want the style of food for My Thai Kitchen to be more authentic, not sweetened and tamed like the food served at her mother's restaurant. Tried her food and I don't rate it, but you're better off sticking to My Thai Kitchen instead of the Auchenflower original if you want something a bit more authentic, even if you're forced to eat out of takeaway containers lol.

  6. Hi Kilas...

    Thanks for that insight onto My Thai! It's a shame because I love Thai food. Wish there was something reliably good. Have you tried Chat Thai in Sydney? I haven't been yet but there's so much hype about it, I wonder if it's actually good.

    I just went to Thailand recently and there, you can grab cheap as curry from a bag and it's so delicious.

  7. Yeah, just got back from Chiang Mai and Bangkok just a few months ago myself. Loved it!

    Haven't tried Chat Thai either (heard a lot about it too), but I've done Spice I Am. Highly recommended. The rice ball salad (nhem khao) is...unbelievably good. Think fermented sticky rice spiced with lots of things, rolled and deep-fried like an arancini, then mashed up and dressed. :-P

    Reliably good in Brisbane? There's Thai Wi-Rat in the Valley...but stick to the Isaan or Lao-style salads, soups and grills, the curries are nothing special. Cheap too. The catch is you have to queue up to pay, and I'd call the service, incompetent.

    Just got back from Paddington's Cafe de Siam tonight, their food is definitely consistent. It's a mix of fusion food and traditional Thai; obviously you should stick with the latter. Upper range pricing, but big portions match the higher price tag so you shouldn't spend more then $20/person if dining communally, unless you intend to overeat. Stir-fried noodles are pretty good. Try the curried beef noodles too. Curries are usually mild to placate the typical Aussie palate, but ask them to crank up the chilli dial. If you're really adventurous or up for a fiery challenge, ask for green jackfruit dishes (either stewed with pork or pounded into a spicy relish) or stir-fry catfish (with bones, but no more challenging then a sardine).

    Two other places I can recommend. Thai Country at Holland Park, about the same price range as Siam Samrarn, but probably more consistent. If you don't mind a takeaway-only eatery like My Thai Kitchen, check out Thai Legend at Bulimba. Their food is so much nicer then My Thai Kitchen too.

    Oh, and if you do go back to Siam Samrarn, just avoid beef (a common problem I find with many Thai eateries in Brisbane!) and stick with tom yum soup, chicken dishes, pork leg stew, massaman curry or whole fish deep-fried and done different ways.

  8. Siam Southbank is good (and not just for Southbank). some less predictable dishes plus it's a beautiful setting on a balmy night. The best Thai I have had recently was Golden Buddha in Morningside. Def worth trying.

  9. You guys ordered the wrong dishes! You don't go to Siam Simrarn for their beef/chicken, you go for the seafood.

  10. Or the duck dishes! I had chicken last night though and it was lovely and tender.