It was Carl’s birthday and being a work day, he could only find 40 minutes to celebrate. Rather than sit at his desk and count how many people on facebook had wished him a happy birthday, he rang me and said he had a 40-minute window where ‘we could do something if you like’.
Poor guy. Hadn’t even had time to accept his mother’s call when she phoned to wish him a happy birthday. So I rearranged my plans and met him at Let’s Eat, a BYO Thai restaurant in Neutral Bay.
The restaurant has a modern interior with not too many nik-naks which is refreshing – have I told you I’m not keen on clutter? The modern interior is quite minimal with a polished concrete floor and dark-stained wooden tables with banquettes along the walls. You can see all the wok-action through the glass partition that separates the front and back of house. The door to the street was kept open and as it wasn’t a warm day and as there was no heating inside the restaurant, we were comfortable but a little cold.
We arrived just before midday and the restaurant was empty but within minutes the place was filling up with diners and people ordering takeaway. I’m sure the local office workers frequent the restaurant as there is a lunch special where you can order anything from a two-page menu for just $9.50.
While all the dishes on the menu read like standard Thai fare, the cooking here is much more interesting. You won’t find crinkle-cut vegetables or common vegetables in the dishes but rather ingredients like morning glory, seaweed, holy basil, wood fungus, Chinese celery and Thai eggplants.
Now we only had 40-minutes so it was on with the ordering very quickly. We started with a plate of spring rolls. I know we’ve all seen spring rolls plenty of times before so I won’t go on except to say that these had clearly come straight from the deep-fryer as they were too hot to touch. The sauce was refreshingly pleasant as it edged towards acidic with a kick of vinegar rather than being overly sweet. It would have been nice to have a bit more sauce, if only to help cool down the spring rolls.
We ordered two main courses from the lunch menu and both arrived promptly. Carl had the Penang chicken curry. I did ask him to choose something a little more interesting but he refused. ‘I like Penang chicken curry’, he said. This was a very generous serving for a lunchtime meal and Carl had trouble getting through it. Not really – he always manages to clear his plate! The curry had a little heat and a great peanut flavour with a touch of tamarind and Kaffir lime leaves that made it refreshing.
I ordered the Kouy Tiew Pad Kee Mao which was stir-fried flat rice noodles with egg, holy basil, chilli and Chinese broccoli with soy sauce. This dish was definitely spicy. So spicy I had to order another bottle of water. But I don’t mind spicy food and found that especially with the cold weather, it was lovely to have something that warmed me up. There was a lot of Thai basil in the dish and I always find that compliments the chilli really well.
In less than 40-minutes we had our celebratory lunch that cost less than $30.00.
Let’s Eat is a restaurant that serves modern Thai cuisine in a modern setting. Prices are very reasonable especially at lunchtime.
Verdict: I’ll be back.
Let’s Eat: 48 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay (Cnr Wycombe Road and Yeo Street)
Ph: 9908 8990