I love a good Thai restaurant and especially so when you can share it with family and friends. So I was so glad to discover this place through a fellow blogger, maybe you have heard of them? Perth Food Engineers
. Since I went with M, I’ve been raving about it and recommending it to everyone who is up for a little twist in Thai food… So what and where is this place you ask? Well, it’s called Red Opium
and it’s on Hill street opposite the Perth Mint.
When we entered Red Opium it was like we stumbled upon some old Chinese opium lair with huge paintings of Chinese ladies lazing around in couches smoking, lots of red chiffon drapes, wooden chairs and tables, “antique” Chinese decorations and a traditional opium smoking “bed”. It reflected the name of the restaurant brilliantly!
When we got to our seat, the booking name was under M and her name was placed in a wooden frame, which I thought was such a nice, personal touch.
Lucky for me, M had looked at the menu and seeing as we have similar taste it was easy to agree. Before we get into what we ordered, I love how they can adjust the spiciness of the dishes and as M has almost no tolerance to spicy foods we ordered extra spice on the side, which meant fresh cut chilli (generous amount at that) in a bowl. I recommend for those who can’t tolerant spicy foods to definitely ask for less spice for most of the dishes, as chilli seemed to be present in almost everything.
The menu at Red Opium is crafted by head chef Jak. It marries fresh Australian produce with Thai-inspired cooking and fare with the flavours of Thai and ole school favourite Thai dishes expressed in an exquisite style.
We started off with the small plates – Yin and Yang. It was presented in a cute wicker basket scale that held two different dips – a white dip that was a creamy prawn and minced coconut balanced on the other side is the red dip of minced pork and tomato. The dips were accompanied by papadum-styled crackers and lettuce.
Yin and Yang dips
Apart from the gorgeous presentation of the Yin and Yang, the dips were spectacular. The white dip was the perfect mix of coconut and cream with chopped pieces of prawn through it. The chilli helped cut through the richness of the cream. The minced pork and tomato had hints of spices and chilli through it and was oddly similar to my parent’s version of “minced meat spaghetti Asian style”.
The next dish to come out was surprisingly yummy. Son in Law Eggs – The eggs are boiled then lightly fried to have a crispy exterior drizzled with tamarind and topped with dried chillies and fried sweet garlic. The sweet-tart flavour of the tamarind, the creamy texture of the egg with the hints of chilli flavour was just divine. Just make sure you DO NOT EAT THE DRIED chillies because they are HOT (unless of course you like it like that).
To offset the creamy rich Thai-infused dishes that were coming out, we decided to cut through it by ordering the Crudo tuna. The Crudo tuna was served on Chinese spoons. The tuna was fresh and the flavours of lemongrass, lime and hint of chilli was refreshing on the palate and was almost like a palate cleanser.
The last small plate we ordered was the crab crawls. Golden and crunchy on the outside with succulent crab meat on the inside.
If the small plates left you wanting more there are larger plates that on offer and they are also perfect to share.
We ordered two very different larger dishes for sharing. The first is a twist on the traditional Thai Red Curry. It was called F-Duck. Roasted duck and veggies in red curry flavours with sweet lychees throughout the dish. We made the F-Duck mild in chilli, but if you think you can handle it go up the heat radar. It was so delicious, the curry needs to be soaked up, so make sure you grab yourself a side of steamed rice!
Then there was the Kiss of Death with lightly fried king prawns with fried lotus leaves on homemade corn chips tossed through chilli flakes and coriander leaves. The prawns were plump and juicy with the perfect amount of heat, it was a beautiful kiss of death.
Kiss of Death
The dishes at the Red Opium are fabulous and I can’t wait to try more of the menu. Price wise it’s reasonable and it’s currently on the Entertainment Card. The service? It’s fabulous. Friendly, personal, cheerful and informative. The only downside is that they are a cash only venue. If you get a chance, check out Red Opium, it’s a little twist on traditional Thai dishes, but the flavours are most definitely there.