It’s been a while since I last visited The Tall Lemongrass, but memories of their amazing garlic rice still comes to mind whenever I hear their name. And three years later we’re back, but this time we’ve celebrating their five year anniversary with a special dinner curated by Chef and Owner Wendy Khouphongsy.
Although specialising in Thai food, a lot of the dishes are presented and served slightly differently from your classic Thai restaurant, so I was definitely excited to see what was in store for tonight. We started off the night with The Cigar – long, thin spring rolls containing chicken, prawn and coriander. Because they’re so thin, I found there wasn’t a substantial amount of fillings inside, however on the upside they were very crispy and moreish.
Next are egg nets wrapped around a betel leaf with sweet radish, ground peanut, prawns, galangal, lime, ginger and onion. Although they appear crispy, the egg nets actually have a pancake-like consistency. There’s a side of tamarind sauce which you can pour right on top, adding a depth of sweetness complementing all the flavours. I loved the presentation of this dish and the mix of flavours and textures in this.
Larb Ped on Witlof
Our last entree is a bite sized serving of roasted duck, mint, coriander and chilli served on a witlof leaf. Although small, these pack a lot of flavour and I got a huge kick of spiciness in my mouth which was very refreshing.
Panang Osso Bucco
Onto mains, we started with the Osso Bucco Panang Curry which was definitely my favourite dish of the night. Rich and creamy with a hint of chilli, this matched perfectly with the slow braised veal which fell right off the bone. We received a bowl of rice on the side and there’s nothing better than soaking up the panang curry sauce with some white rice!
Yum Aubergine Stack
The eggplant stack was served next, featuring chicken mince, prawns, onion, mint, coriander and chilli. The eggplant was light and crispy, the prawns succulent and the other ingredients provided lovely spices and flavours. Although I really enjoyed the underlying flavours, I wasn’t really sure about the combination of fried eggplant with prawns and think they might better off as two separate dishes.
Crispy Pork Belly
We also sampled the pork belly which came with a bed of sweet, caramelised sauce. The skin was a bit hard to cut through but otherwise the meat was very tender, and the fattiness went well with the sauce.
Barramundi grilled in Banana Leaf
The whole barramundi was certainly impressive when it came out, wrapped in banana leaves. As we removed each layer, we could smell fragrant lemongrass and herbs omitting from the fish…yum! After I cut into it, I did discover some lemongrass sticks embedded inside for flavour which explained it. The meat was tender and soft, was definitely filling and more than enough for the table.
If the fish wasn’t enough, we had even more carbs in the form of Pad Thai, wrapped in egg net parcels. After cutting it open, I was disappointed that there weren’t any peanuts or a lemon wedge provided, and the flavours were pretty standard, but props on the presentation.
Our last savoury dish for the night was the stir fried spicy vegetables. This was the spiciest dish of the night and was so tasty. I was torn between wanting to eat more because it was so good, but also wanting to stop because my mouth was on fire. My advice – eat it with rice and it won’t burn that much.
Ice Papaya Bowl
Rounding out the night was a simple dessert of ice, papaya and lime juice. It doubles as a drink with the straw, so you can drink and eat the papaya at the same time. Simple, fresh and not overly sweet, it’s a lovely way to end the menu after all the spices.
Overall, The Tall Lemongrass doesn’t disappoint with its classic Thai flavours, interesting plating and a sense of homeliness. Although there’s some average dishes on the menu, when they do great cooking (such as the Mien Khumn and Panang Osso Bucco), they do it really well.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of The Tall Lemongrass
The Tall Lemongrass
4/136 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph:(02) 9966 0350