Pub Thai is pretty synonymous with being Australian these days - it used to be pub Chinese when I was a kid. The Taste Food Tours Taste of Australia Tour ($145/person) inducts tourists into this tradition at The Ginger Tiger.
Located inside the Collector Hotel, The Ginger Tiger is owned in partnership by restaurateur Tona Inthavong, who blew me away with his Laotian cuisine at the defunct Green Peppercorn in the Civic Hotel. Pub meals in Parramatta are of course a different proposition to Tona’s successful Fairfield and Blacktown iterations of the Green Peppercorn. So you can expect to find a slightly more conservative menu, ranging across a variety of Southeast Asian cuisines, though Thai is definitely dominant.
With colourful street art murals, hanging oilpaper umbrellas, and corrugated iron covered in vintage posters, the six-month-old space loosely summons Thai street markets.
The recently refurbished hotel has a dedicated bar protruding into the large restaurant area.
We pick up a double Johnny Walker Black and Dry ($18) and an even better Taiwanese Kavalan Whisky and Dry ($20) double to accompany what I’m hoping will be a punchy, spicy meal.
Conservative ordering and a kitchen having an off day meant my meal today didn’t reach the heights this restaurateur is capable of. Vegetarian Tom Yum Fried Rice ($14.90) lacked the potent kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass hit I was looking for, though it picked up slightly with a good squeeze of lime.
With slippery flat rice noodles, the Chicken Pad See Ew ($15.90) was well executed, if a bit sweet and chilli-light for my personal taste.
The super-crisp Fried Chicken Wings ($9.90/4 pieces) scrubbed up best, though if I’d been in control of ordering I would have definitely chosen Lao Sausages ($11.90) instead. I had a very good experience at Green Peppercorn with this dish that's hopefully still made to Tona's father's recipe, dipped in his mother's special nam jim style sauce.
Tona's latest restaurant venture is Johnny Wong's Dumpling Bar at Kinselas.Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review.
NOTE: This story began here, continued here, and in my last blog post and will continue in my next blog post.
The Ginger Tiger
Collector Hotel, 100 George Street, Parramatta
Ph: (02) 9689 1122