Fitzroy locals are probably familiar with Thai Thani, an unassuming little Thai joint that’s been pumping out no-fuss Pad Thai since 1986. But there’s a new owner in town—Ethan Chaikijkosi, of Pok Pok and Pok Pok Jnr fame—and the times they are a’changing. The old restaurant has been given a sleek, neon facelift, and the menu has undergone a hawker-style, pan-Asian revamp.
“This street is full of young energy, creative artists, lifestyle professionals and freelancers, so my mission is to bring Thai Thani back to the popularity it enjoyed when it first opened in 1986,” Ethan says.
Start the night with a sriracha-spiked mussel pancake and wok-tossed beans, or a couple of chargrilled BBQ pork skewers (Ethan’s childhood fav—he used to eat them before school with sticky rice), then step it up with a fiery Chiang Mai curry and spicy Kao Soi egg noodle soup. No-one will judge you if you ask for a glass of milk. Pok Pok regulars will know what to expect: contemporary plating, bold Thai flavours and some subtle Burmese and Chinese twists to keep things interesting. Basically modern Asian fusion, done right.
But where Thai Thani pulls away from the pack is the drinks department. There’s a Thai spin on the espresso martini (made with Thailand coffee and condensed milk—umm, that sounds f**king amazing) as well as THAI BUCKET COCKTAILS. Why is Melbourne only getting these now? Forget the buckets you sculled on Phi Phi at Full Moon: these are mixed by Thai Thani’s bartenders with proper spirits and a zingy citrus kick. Friday nights on Brunswick St just got a whole lot more interesting...
Image credit: Thai Thani