Sooooo I’ve heard a lot about Chat Thai being one of Sydney’s best Thai places – which I think is a fairly big call considering Sydney is a mecca for good Thai restaurants. It’s only recently that I battled the queues and finally went. It was a week night, so it was only about a 10 minute wait, which wasn’t bad at all. The downside was that we had to share a table. But what can you do?
Thankfully I was able to have a peek at the menu before I sat down because there is a lot to choose from. And for me, who is pretty bad at making meal decisions at the best of times, a menu that offers around 67 dishes can leave me feeling a little overwhelmed. Still, I powered on through this minor issue and think I chose some pretty nice dishes – although I’m supposing most dishes would be damn delicious at Chat Thai, so it would be pretty hard to get a dud dish.
It’s a bit of an all sorts crowd, but the atmosphere is lively and it seems like everyone is enjoying their food. First up came green papaya salad ($12) with lots of peanuts and little dried prawns. Fresh and quite sweet, it was a good side dish to the meatier options we chose next.
In the grills and fried section of the menu, gai yaang (char grilled tumeric and lemongrass marinated chicken, $13) took my fancy. There was a generous serving of chicken, chunky and meaty with a nice chilli sauce on the side but definitely not the winner. Emerald duck ($15) – stir fried five spice with seasonal greens was the winner in this menu battle. I love duck, I love seasonal greens so this dish pleased me to no end. But Chat Thai, what’s with you taking so long to bring us our sticky rice ($4)?! We had to ask 3 times before it arrived. Perhaps it’s their way of saying, “Do you really need those extra carbs?” Shhh, just bring me my rice.
Remember how I was saying that the menu was extensive? I haven’t seen a dessert menu as big as this since that mango dessert place in Hong Kong which I can’t remember the name of. The thing about Thai desserts is that they are generally a combination of palm sugar, coconut milk, sticky rice and coconut, so you can’t really go too wrong with whatever you choose. I opted for the khao nieaw sangkaya which was a sticky rice steamed with sweet coconut cream and palm sugar with a steamed coconut custard ($4), which was nice, but I probably should have gone with the coconut ice cream everyone else was ordering because that looked delicious with sticky rice and candied palm sweets.
So yes, Chat Thai is good. Is it the best Thai in Sydney? Possibly, but I’ll have to go again to make sure (ha!)
Chat Thai Haymarket’s details:
Address: 20 Campbell St. Haymarket, NSW
Telephone:02 9211 1808
Opening Hours: Lunch: 10:00am – 5:00pm; Dinner: 5:00pm – 10:00pm; Supper: 9.30pm – 2:00am