208 Somerville Rd, Kingsville. Phone: 9314 5556
How mindlessly presumptuous – and how profoundly wrong.
In all the years we’ve lived in Yarraville or thereabouts, we’ve driven past She’s Thai countless times, but never deigned to enter.
In my mind, I’d painted a picture of this eatery as a low-rent Thai place unworthy of our attention.
This was based on the unfounded inkling that it was just another cheap eat Thai place that mostly likely purveyed food that wasn’t anything special or worse – and at prices a good dollar or two higher than charged for similar and better at our many local Viet and Indian favourites.
But finally, mid-week, curiosity wins out and through the doors of She’s Thai I amble.
From the moment I cross the threshold it’s clear my presumptions are without any basis.
This is a lovely neighbourhood restaurant.
The open kitchen bustles, with adjacent casual area for customers awaiting takeaway orders and the neighbouring more formal dining room adorned with Thai woodwork and decorations. Thai music tinkles in the background and there’s even a table laid out with recent newspapers for those waiting or dining solo.
To cap it all, cackles of glee escape the kitchen as I start taking photos – always a good sign!
I question the gent of Western persuasion – as the nearby sign reads, “She’s Thai But I’m Not!” – about the Thai provenance of the chive dumplings ($5). The gist of his reply seems to be they are to be found in some areas of Thailand while having obviously having a transnational heritage.
I order them anyway. A mistake – but the only one of my visit. These Thai chive dumpling may be paragons, but for me they are too plain and lacking flavour. The two flat dumplings remind me of nothing so much as the spring onion pancakes you find in some Chinese establishments.
My gang massaman (brown beef curry) is much, much better.
I’ve had this dish many times elsewhere, usually enjoying the mild but deep mix of peanut and coconut vibes with chunky meat and – always! – the potato pieces that sing with flavour, so tender they almost become part of the gravy.
The She’s Thai massaman curry ($12.50) is quite different – in fact, more like a goulash, so sticky and gooey is the gravy. The beef is chunky and tender. The coconut flavour is more restrained than I am expecting, though the peanut quotient is high thanks to the pleasing crunch of the many skinless half nuts on offer. They join the expected spuds, crinkle-cut carrots, heaps of pineapple and basil leaves in completing a rich and delicious dish.
A few nights later, I phone in a takeaway order for chicken pad thai ($11.50), which provides a lovely at-home meal of egg noodles, egg, bean sprouts and juicy chicken pieces.
She’s Thai doesn’t do home deliveries, but no matter for us – the place is so close that barely five minutes need pass between leaving and arriving home with the goodies.
And we’ll surely be returning to take in more of the menu on a dine-in basis – for sure something with a bit more colour and zing and spice from the stir fry and salad listings.
I’ll be excited to do so, as She’s Thai is a gem of a place.
Meanwhile, I’ve also had an insider’s thumbs up on At 43, the new Thai place in Yarraville that is Cafe Urbano by day!