(Stir-fried vegetables of choice with chilli and basil sauce – pad gaprow – and fried egg – $11?)
Believe me when I say this: you don’t truly appreciate the cliche ‘time flies’ until you become a full time carer of a
newborn baby almost-toddler. So when I had every intention to blog about a few places that I (used to) lunch at as a salarywoman in the City, I hadn’t realise how much time had passed since then. So here I am – 9 months into my 12-month maternity leave. I think I might just get to it before I go back to work in December and then find out that all of these places are either gone or no longer the same!
(The green circles spell out ‘Ratee Thai’ from the alphabet/vowels panel – very cute)
Ratee Thai is one of the many eating outlets that make up the Mecca of cheap eats that is known Port Phillip Arcade which is situated on Flinders Street just near the Swanston Street corner (you can also enter from Flinders Lane). Their clientele is a mix bag of office workers and Thai uni students – always a good sign for a Thai restaurant. Its fit-out consists of charming communal tables with its wall adorned with the Thai alphabets (in case you’ve wonder what it’s all about!)
Port Phillip Arcade also happened to be the mid point between my (former) work place and Josh’s. So we used to end up there a lot for lunch. Yes, folks, I was one of those people who have lunch with their partners almost everyday. You can decide whether it’s sweet or sad.
(Pad Si-ew – stir fried rice noodles with chicken, egg and Chinese broccoli with sweet soy sauce – $10?)
Ratee Thai has a varied menu. You can go with the Wok Bar option – choosing your own meat, vegetables, sauce and noodle/rice; you can choose from the Classic option – a choice of the popular Thai dishes such as pad thai, pad gaprow, pad si-ew, tom yum, etc.; or you can simply grab a plate of bain marie choices.
Call me boring but I am such a sucker for a good stir-fried veggie and tofu. Very few outlets in town actually do decent stir-fries. Every Asian shop does them but very few actually make them good. Ratee Thai does. They also have the advantage of letting me choose my own vegetables (I love the combination of Chinese broccoli, broccoli, snow peas, bamboot shoots and baby corn).You can also have brown rice at extra cost. And of course, a crispy Thai-style fried egg is a must.
Josh usually ordered from the classic menu. Their pad si-ew (stir-fried rice noodles with sweet soy sauce) and pad thai are a tad sweet but not horribly so. I found them to be acceptable especially with the condiments of fish sauce, vinegared chillies, sugar and chilli powder provided as you would normally get in Thailand allows you to balance the flavours however you like. I also like the fact that they don’t load it with random vegetables and stay quite true to how the dishes are supposed to be done. Their bain marie dishes were also acceptable while, again, being just a tad sweet.
Be warned though – the place gets pretty packed and you will end up having to play musical chairs with other people if you arrive there a minute later than noon. So get there early!