Appetizer – Thai bar & restaurant
285 Spring St
(03) 9650 8838
A bunch of us first discovered Appetizer early last year. This place is totally Asian and I know I know, I should have shared this knowledge ages ago but one part of me like to keep it “Asian”. When I enter this Thai bar & restaurant, I get transported back to South-east Asia. It is after all located next to City Gate Apartments. This block of apartments are mostly filled by Asian students and this place does cater to them with its very affordable prices and cheap drop. It’s dining area is mostly open space and so attracts many smokers and drinkers. It is not exactly rowdy but it is very Asian. And that is why a part of me want to keep it the way it is. I come here and I feel comfortable or rather familiar. And now this is out on Gourmet Traveller and also on twitter… this secret is no more so I shall share why I love this place much more than most hatted restaurants in Melbourne.
Can you spot the Singha beer tower and shisha?
Friends and I have been back again and again because the food is good. It ain’t no classy setting and don’t expect any fancy cocktails or good wine. It has $10 martinis which will definitely give you a bad hangover the next day and red wine can taste a little like vinegar. So stick to the beer and actually, the white wine is still drinkable. This place gives me a sense of familiarity and it’s my little hide out where I hang out with my long time friends and talk a whole lot of shit. Most of us are used to be overseas students and have been here for more than a decade. We like to reminisce uni days, how hard we party and little we studied.
Maybe I am old skool and selfish but why not. I remember there was an episode on Anthony Bourdain where he was in Thailand and filming the Thai Buddhist monks on their morning alms rounds and he asked a caretaker if it was good to film this and show the world. He also stressed that tourists will start coming and may “spoil” the calamity and the way of life.
So will appetizer change its flavours to suit the majority or will it stay true and that the tom yum soup still remain super punchy?
And will I get a table easily again in this joint? Maybe not… and will it have the same vibe and will the food tastes the same? I am not sure. But what I hope that if you do rock up to check this place out, do not ask them to dumb down their chillies. Many cafes and restaurants change the tastes of dishes to suit the public. This is one of the few that have not done so. I really hope it doesn’t. So go down, just eat and don’t demand for a change.
Just to note that this place may not be good for families because it is mostly an outdoor area and there are ashtrays on every table. This means, this is a smokers haven. And if you visit, can I recommend the fish and of course, the tom yum. I will avoid the specials…. they are usually not very good.
Thai sweet and sour whole fish
Whole fish with chilli sauce and lemongrass
Appetizer does not serve those sweet Thai curries that are common in many Thai restaurants in Australia. Like the stuff I had at Chat Thai in Sydney that so many are fond of. Sorry but what is that? Is that really Thai or a version of Thai created for the general public? Sweet, mild and lacking in the aromatics and kick in the butt chillies. I love Appetizer the way it is right now and I hope when I visit again in the next couple of months, it is still the same and not blemished by curiosity. What do you think?