Out in the ‘burbs, most little shopping strips once boasted a chook shop and an Aussie-Cantonese for lazy midweek dinners. These days they’re just as likely to have a Thai restaurant. For Putney, a quiet suburb that sits between Gladesville and Ryde, the local fallback is We Thai Cuisine.
Seating just 30-35 people (there are some outside tables on the edge of a car park that would probably be nice in summer) this little family-run business has looked after the needs of local families for a number of years.
It’s BYO, though the small shopping strip’s bottle shop has since bitten the dust, so you’d be best to plan ahead. We’re not so forward-thinking, so end up drinking mugs of Ginger Beer ($4.50) on the cold and rainy evening we visited.
With only two tables occupied, the chocolate wood and glass edged dining room is quiet, bar for chopping and frying from the small open kitchen. There’s a regular procession of delivery serfs braving the weather to collect brown paper bags containing someone else’s home delivery for a meagre fee. The We Thai Cuisine menu contains all your usual Thai favourites, from pad Thai to beef massaman, but extends beyond the ordinary with a page of more interesting chef’s suggestions.
Colourful photos make choosing easier, though the picture of crisp Soft Shell Crab ($28.90) with yellow curry powder lures me into thinking it’s more entrée-style than the heavily sauced curry that arrives. We ask for it hot, and the thick, egg-based yellow sauce is dotted with ballistic red bird’s-eye chillies that lift the dish considerably.
Crowd pleasing Coconut Prawns ($12.90/4) are nicely presented, with the tail shell protruding from their large, coconut-covered exteriors.
I am a sucker for Pineapple Fried Rice ($23.90) and the version served here is particularly good. Arriving in a split fresh pineapple, it’s full of big, meaty prawns, sweet pineapple hunks, juicy sultanas and roasted cashews, with the well-separated rice grains showing amped flavour from turmeric and curry powder.
Grilled Marinated Lamb Cutlets ($23.90) are so good, I enjoy eating the well-charred lamb cutlets without the surrounding lake of Panang red curry. Luckily the mild coconut-based red curry sauce eats well on the pineapple fried rice or scooped up onto Roti ($5.90/2) that arrive with their own pot of peanut sauce.
Vegetables across our whole meal are crisp and well-handled, including in Scallops Choo Chee ($23.30). In this dish peas, carrots, baby corn and Thai basil join roe-on whole scallops in Thailand’s traditional seafood curry paste, where aromatics like lemongrass, kaffir lime and coriander should shine a bit more brightly than the usually more pungent Panang red curry.
While they’re not even attempting to take on the Thai masters at Chat Thai, you wouldn’t be disappointed to have We Thai Cuisine as your fallback local.
We Thai Cuisine
Shop 5, 90 Charles Street, Putney
Ph: (02) 9809 5995