Koh Chang Thai Restaurant is a glass box on the edge of the Clemton Park Village piazza. The name means Elephant Island, so it’s only appropriate that they’re serving elephant beer - Chang Lager ($5).
They’re currently running a special where you can consume two bottles of this refreshing Thai beer for eight bucks. You’ll like it if you like TsingTao, it’s also Germanic in style, but slightly maltier with a gentle grainy sweetness.
Koh Chang been open just three weeks, with staff explaining: “This is a new area, and it is a new area for a Thai restaurant." The all-Thai floor staff are just one part of a completely Thai dining experience that extends to a television screen showing footage of Thailand, Thai music, and orderly rows of imported Thai products sitting above the open-plan kitchen.
There’s bright orange Por Kwan Sriracha Chilli Sauce, Healthy Boy Brand Soy Sauce featuring a chubby young boy on the label, as well as jars of brined galangal and fronds of green peppercorns, and giant containers of squid sauce.
As soon as we show an interest – we’re keen chilli sauce aficionados – we’re presented with two bowls of dipping sauces. The garlic-heavy sriracha is a particular delight when blended with sweet and sticky Caramelised Pork Belly ($22).
This generously proportioned entrée is presented as a tidy pile of cubes of slow-braised pig, surrounded by thick cucumber slices to break up the sauce’s intensity. Without the chilli addition, I found the sauce a little on the sweet side.
Betel Leaf Prawns ($10.90/4) show better balance. The four prawns, which are flavoursome in and of themselves, are topped with a complex mix of roasted coconut, cashews, lime, ginger and red onion, and presented on betel leaves for wrapping. They’re a one-bite party in your mouth, that’ll make you wish they sold the clever topping in jars.
If you visit for lunch, they offer an all-in-one Thai 'bento box' style meal. Prawn Tom Yum Fried Rice ($15.90) presents a generous serve of prawn-dotted rice that’s tasty and compelling. Once again the prawns themselves are tasty, and gently handled. The rice dish is accompanied by a curry puff, a spring roll, a small amount of salad, and two juicy orange slices for dessert, making it a complete, satisfying lunch.
You’ll get to see those fronds of green peppercorns put to good use in dishes like Beef Pad Cha ($15), which is only available on their dinner menu. With thin slices of tender beef, it’s a colourful tangle of peppercorns, red chilli slices, yellow baby corn, green beans and galangal in a light, red curry sauce.
With them already doing a solid takeaway trade on the cold, wintery evening I visited, I have no doubt that Koh Chang's better than average Thai dishes will be well received by the new residents of Clemton Park.
NOTE: See another review in Clemton Park Shopping Village HERE and HERE.
Koh Chang Thai Restaurant
Clemton Park Village, 7/5 Mackinder Street, Campsie
Ph: (02) 8021 4327