Sujet Saenkham’s spin-off restaurant eliminates the cramped surrounds and no reservations policy of the (justifiably) popular original.
Instead it’s elegant up-lighting, raw bricks, soft timbers and Thai-inspired cocktails, like the lovely Sixteen Degrees ($18) flavoured with kiwi fruit and the Longan Ice Tea ($16) with whole longans.
Staff are engaging; Coco in particular is preppy and pro-active, confidently recommending the 2008 Gregoris Pinot Grigio ($9/glass, $42/bottle) for a good food match. The Yum Pla Dib ($18), a Hiramasa kingfish carpaccio with clean, bright flavours and vibrant chilli, proves her right, whetting my appetite for more.
The Pad Pik King Moo Gob ($34) is a triumph of beautifully rendered pork belly pieces in a sticky chilli jam.
My dining companion mutters something about “bland food for bland people” at the suggestion of Pad Thai Goong ($30), but is floored by the dish itself.
Fresh and well presented, Sujet’s signature Pad Thai lets you create your own balance from mounds of chilli powder, nuts and white sugar; but I’ve found a better Yum Hua Plee Jay ($22) or banana flower salad elsewhere in Sydney.
I quite liked the moist, smoky duck in the Ped Yum Ma Muang ($20) though they admit it is bought in cooked, and then deep fried for crispness in this particular salad.
While the Khao Naew Ma Muang ($20) seems pricy for a dessert, the green sticky rice is a textural revelation against fresh nam dok mai mango and smoky coconut sauce.
It certainly eclipsed the Khao Naew Dum ($16) which I probably would have liked if I hadn't taken a mouthful of the grainy, green joy...
I usually shun expensive waters, but knowing the local supply, I did let the restaurant convince me I needed this expensive water, Antipodes Still ($10) - it's lovely.
Spice I Am, Darlinghurst
296-300 Victoria St, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9332 2445