I have never really taken notice of Regent Place in the city. It seems that it has grown from almost no food existence to lots of Asian food choices. It might be something that I’ve missed since not working near Townhall anymore. I knew that Tenkomori was opening up and now it has but it was the opening of Senyai that caught my attention. When @rippingyan was in town, we met up at Chefs Gallery for dinner and then proceeded to Senyai for dessert.
We were quite happy with the desserts. Therefore, despite a couple of hit and miss reviews, we decided to check out the savoury dishes with both Anna & David when they were in town. The decor is what I call ‘vintage Thai’. Look at these knickknacks that line the wall. They are toys that many kids growing up in Asia in the 70s and 80s would have played with. Their mums and grandmas would have bought them from little old convenience stores near the wet markets. It is very nostalgic. (Gosh… I am showing my age!)
No plastic is accepted at Senyai so remember to bring your cash!
I could not go past the North eastern Thai sausages, Sai Grok Isan. The first lot that reached our table was undercooked and we had to send it back. Not a good sign for the rest to follow? These sausages are originated from Isan. They are fermented which is where it gets it’s sour notes from. The second lot was much better but I will prefer if it sat on the grill (I hope) a little longer to give it a better char. Cook those damn sausages well people! It is suppose to be delicious.
Food on sticks? Yes please! We ordered chargrilled pork balls on sticks, Luk Chin Ping. Again, I will preferred it more charred if that is what’s in the description yah? The balls are bouncy and with the right chew. The chilli sauce is the usual sweet, sour and spicy Thai chilli sauce.
The next appetizer is a success. Finally! These crispy prawn pancakes or Po Pia Jann is as described – CRISPY. Inside is filled with small whole prawns. The crispy exterior is not oily but light and breaks upon touch. The simple chilly sauce is delightful with a definitely hot kick.
It was raining hard outside. Actually the weather had been really shitty and to spend the first long weekend of the year indoor is inappropriate. I thought a nice spiced duck soup with noodles, Bamee Ped, will do the trick. It was a little too sweet for my liking. The soup reminds of kway chap. It was scented with cinnamon and will be perfect if they cut the sugar and up the spices as promised. It is still a nice dish. The duck pieces are tender and flavourful but the soup needs a bit of work.
I do miss petai. I love the bitterness that it brings to a dish. Just like how I love bittergourd According to the menu, this is a Southern dish. It’s stir fry pork with petai (Moo Pad Sator). Petai is quite an acquired taste so unless you like bitterness in your food. It is quite a hawker looking dish and well balanced with the chilli and sugar. I don’t mind just a bowl of rice with this.
The next dish is my favourite of the lot. It’s a sour curry with king prawns, tamarind & cha-om omelette (Gang Som Cha-om Goong). The tamarind in the curry was not super sour and over powering. It was quite a delicate touch but it was the cha-om omelette that made me go back for second and third rounds. There is a certain taste and scent that is indescribable. I will have to go back for more and try harder? Cha-om is a type of vegetable found and grown mainly in South and Southeast Asia. Where can I buy a truckload of this in Sydney? Please help?
We ordered a Somtum Pu. It is a green papaya salad with chilli and salted crab. Again, I felt, too heavy handed on the sugar to balance the saltiness of the crab and not so spicy chillies. Senyai seems to be catering more to the non-Asian palette. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it but they are missing the important punch of Thai flavours. It is not balance right.
We ordered desserts to share. The first was the sticky rice mango. The sticky rice has a little sprinkling of salt to give it a savoury edge. The mango is lightly warmed on a grill to enhance the sweetness and awesome mango-ness. I like this dish but thought the one that we tried the first time was better. Still a good dish and a must order in my books.
The second dessert was the coconut custard with stick rice. It seems that the coconut custard is steamed in pandan leaves. It has a nice fragrance and quite sweet. I love the scattering of fried coconut sprinkles over the top. To be honest, I am not much of a fan of sticky rice. It makes me bloat and overly full.
There has been raving reviews from Broadsheet and Daily Addict but pretty average reviews from fellow bloggers like Suz. I say average Thai food and agree that with such fierce competition around, they better buckle up and improve their dishes. The reason for coming back for me will be the Cha om omelette. Delicious, full of flavour, balanced and just makes me want to go for rice round two.