Thai Deli, 195 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Phone: 9696 6895
We spotted Thai Deli while ambling along Clarendon Street destined for Shakahari.
We liked the look of it – small, busy, cheap and with an abundance of that lived-in look that Consider The Sauce finds so alluring.
In the weeks following, Bennie spoke of the place a couple of times – I like it that such a business registered in his mind.
He even compared it with a much-missed Carlton institution. There’s big differences between the two, but I get where he’s coming from.
So soon we are back to take Thai Deli for a run.
Myself, Bennie, Che meet up with Thai expert Andy from Krapow and get busy.
Perhaps I’ve been a little naive in hoping that a cheap Thai joint in the guts of South Melbourne would offer at least a couple of stand-out or unusual dishes.
But what we have is certainly enjoyable, very affordable and – I estimate – at least a little better than your average suburban Thai offerings.
Chicken pad siu ($10.90) is perhaps the best of our four dishes. It’s oily, yes, but has some wok hei and is tasty and popular at our table.
Chilli basil chicken ($10.90 with rice) is a single-person serve and just OK.
Lamb salad ($11.50) has heaps of good, fresh greens and other veg bits. Thankfully, the sweet chilli sauce is abetted by something with a little more tangy – tamarind maybe?
Beef panang curry $11.90) is good but very mild. Like the chilli basil chicken, I like the chunky (unprocessed) vegetables, including potato.
Andy reckons there’s bottled or canned sauce used to make this and other dishes the place does. Just about all Thai restaurants do so, he maintains.
I don’t mind that.
And if I lived or worked around here, I would no doubt be at least a semi-regular at Thai Deli.
But the truth is that within a couple of blocks there are three other places that do stuff that is lustier and more hardcore – see here, here and here.