Sailors Thai

October 26, 2007 at 4:05 am (Uncategorized)

It was Llew’s birthday yesterday (phew – it’s a very long month between my birthday and his because of those 36 days each year when he can truthfully claim to be two years younger than me!). He decided where he wanted to eat quite a long time ago, and that was the Sailors Thai canteen at the Rocks. You have to understand something about Llew: he loves Thai food. Really loves it. He lived in Thailand as a child, and the country’s food made a profound impression on him. It is without a doubt his favourite cuisine, even though, like me, he just loves his food in general.

Sitting in bed the morning of his birthday, Llew pored over David Thompson’s seminal cookbook thai food trying to decide what he’d like on the menu for his birthday weekend up at Palm Beach with his mum and dad. This was no easy task, because the book verily throbs with exquisite dishes, each handled so lovingly by Thompson and placed so firmly in the context of its creation. Everything, every ingredient and every dish, seems to have a story behind it, and there’s a really lyrical narrative to Thompson’s style of recipe sharing that I just love. It’s a beautiful book. Functional, inspired, thoughtful, inclusive, generous and lovely to behold. Quite like Thai food, in fact, and I don’t think that’s any accident. It was a gift from our dear friends Nick and Kerry. Nick’s parents were Australian expats in Thailand at the same time as Llew’s, and it’s where the two boys met and became friends. I can’t think of a better commemoration of those formative years than cooking from this book.

So ending Llew’s birthday at Sailors Thai was the perfect complement to its beginning. David Thompson’s book, David Thompson’s canteen. We didn’t actually sit at the communal table, we took our chances with the cool change and ate outside up in the trees. The food was, in a word, sublime. Sailors Thai food is what the expression “taste sensation” means to describe. All I can say is make sure you try it one day because your expectations of Thai food – and as lucky as we are in this city of enormously diverse eating, Thai restaurants in Sydney are suffering from the same crisis of mediocrity that befell our Chinese restaurants in the 70s and 80s – will never be the same again. Talk about raising the bar, whetting the appetite and tingling the taste buds. Yum yum, and Happy Birthday, my darling Llewie. I’m looking forward to leaning on David Thompson’s expertise again this weekend.

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