Thursday, May 3, 2012

The River Kwai flows smoothly ...

River Kwai
Thai and Burmese Restaurant
3/1310 Centre Road
Clayton South Vic 3169
Tel: (03) 9545 5688
Open Monday to Sunday, 5.30pm to 10pm all year around.
(Visited for dinner, Tuesday 1 May 2012)
Verdict: Recommended

River Kwai on Urbanspoon

This is a gem of a restaurant, tucked away in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. The interior is tastefully decorated in a red and gold theme, which is echoed in the stylish menu folders and the red tablecloths and brass cutlery. The female wait staff, attractively clad in elegant simple black dresses, were polite and helpful.

As the birthday guest of honour in our group is elderly, we decided to move shortly after arriving due to the noise levels in the front of what is obviously a very popular restaurant, and were thereafter able to enjoy pleasant and audible conversation in the back of the dining room.

Carafes of water were provided, and the meal commenced with a small complimetary serving of roti bread and meat curry on a traditional asian soup spoon.

We selected three curries and some plain rice. Due to a mix-up in the kitchen, a seafood curry was brought to the table rather than the vegetarian curry we had ordered. The waitress offered to replace it, but it looked so attractive that we decided that we would keep it.

Dish 23 - Green curry with chicken
Fragrant green curry with bamboo shoots, Thai eggplant, carrot, red capsicum and sweet basil leaves.

A delightfully creamy and slightly spicy sauce was accompanied by fresh and tasty vegetables and thinly slices of chicken breast. An enjoyable but distinctive variation on the 'Thai green curry' theme.

Dish 27 - Gang Phet Ped Yang
Fresh roasted duck breast in a creamy red curry sauce with whole cherry tomato, bamboo shoots, lychees, snow peas and basil.

This imaginative combination of flavours in a subtle glossy sauce came together well. The duck was thinly sliced and complemented in texture by a mixture of linear and chunky vegetables.

Dish 41 - Seafood curry (Burmese)
Mixed seafood of half a crab, mussels in their shells, fish fillets, scallops, prawns and squid cooked in a tomato-based Burmese sauce.

This was the 'lucky dip' surprise curry. It was visually impressive, arriving on a large triangular platter and was quite different in taste to the two creamy Thai curries, with a more tart almost smoky flavour. The fish had a 'melt in the mouth' quality and the rest of the seafood was generally 'just right' in terms of the amount of cooking, but I did feel that the scallop that I had was a little over-cooked. One of the standout elements was the use of strands of fresh coriander, which had softened with the heat to contribute to the overall mix of flavours.

All three curries were tasty and enjoyable. Perhaps the only somewhat negative comment would be that the ratio of sauce to contents in the curries was weighted more heavily in favour of the sauce, with the result that there was a lot of delicious sauce left over. More rice or roti bread would have been needed to mop this up.

Gluten free dishes are available on request as well as a wide selection of vegetarian treats.

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