The other night, I went to watch the University of Sydney’s Med Revue “Beauty and the Deceased” and can I just say, it is one of the most brilliant student productions I have ever seen. But before that we needed to grab dinner and conveniently enough, Newtown is right next door and known for having Sydney’s best Thai food.
Even on a Wednesday night, Newtown is quite busy and the restaurants are full of either workers or night students. We must have walked past at least 20 Thai restaurants before deciding on Newtown Thai II based on a friend’s recommendation.
The restaurant is nice and small, busy and inviting. The wall is a shade of red, the colour of hunger and there is a giant chalkboard detailing today’s specials. We sat right in the middle of the restaurant and my friend had a good view of the kitchen, watching the chef toss food in his wok. Food theatrics.
Home-made Duck Spring Rolls served with Sweet Chilli Sauce – $8
We chose one of the specials for an entree. The duck spring roll got served to our table quite promptly and it is nice and hot and not oozing oil unlike a lot of deep fried dishes. At first bite, I can taste duck which is a good sign since spring rolls tend to just taste like…meat leftovers. There is also vermicelli in the spring roll and the dish goes better with the sweet chilli sauce.
After a slight wait, the restaurant gets progressively busier and more people come in. There are only two waiters and they seem to be struggling with the volume of patrons, but eventually we get served our mains.
Choo-Chee Curry, Thai Herbs, Coconut Milk and Peanut Sauce (Mixed Seafood option) – $15.50
Choo Chee curry, as described by the waitress is like red curry but with added peanut sauce. Unlike other Thai curries, I find this one a lot more creamier and it is not spicy at all. But it delivers what it promises – red curry enveloped with peanut sauce. The mixed seafood option scatters it with calamari, mussels, prawns and fish fillets. At the end of it, I find myself drowning my rice in the curry sauce and finishing it; that extra creamy taste makes it extremely delicious.
Pad Thai (Chicken); thin fried noodles with egg, bean curd and bean sprouts – $9.90
My friend orders the Chicken Pad Thai as she is a huge fan of it and orders it everywhere she goes. Honestly, I think Pad Thai tastes the same everywhere. It’s a safe dish option that always tastes good but after a while I personally get bored quite quickly of the taste. The presentation is a bit sloppy but there is a good balance of peanuts and lemon (they give you a big wedge). The noodles are cooked quite well and aren’t too soft but the highlight is that there is a LOT of chicken. The value of this dish ranks quite highly due to the ratio of chicken to everything else, which was a pleasant surprise.
Tom Yum (Chicken); tangy soup with lemon grass, lime leaves, galanga, lemon juice and chilli – $6
Our last dish is a Tom Yum soup (Chicken). I haven’t tried many Tom Yums before but my friend said that this is on the upper end of Tom Yums. The soup itself is quite red but is a very good balance of sour and spicy, with neither one overpowering the other. Similarly to the Pad Thai, there is a generous amount of chicken meat and this time also mushrooms – plentiful ingredients is always a plus!
Overall, Newtown Thai II is a highly affordable Thai restaurant and is approximately 5-10 minutes walk from USyd or 10-15 minutes walk from Newtown Station. It has excellent value and a very comprehensive menu and is definitely a good cheap eat for uni students!
Newtown Thai II
105 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9519 1197
Open Daily 9am-10:30pm