Tag Archives: Thai

Bangpop, South Wharf, Melbourne

Have you ever chosen a restaurant because of its name? When I heard of a Thai street food place called Bangpop, I had to try it. I’m thinking fun, exciting, explosive flavours must be the order of the day. Walking up you see the long row of red bicycles and it gives a nice playful touch.

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None of us are drinking that day, and a mocktail apple mohito is suggested to us – it is very refreshing and tangy and hard to believe it doesn’t have a little something extra in it. They then bring over four cute little ceramic cups, each filled with a condiment – fish sauce for saltiness, sweet chilli, hot chilli, and sugar. You can do a bit of DIY to change the balance or flavour of a dish to suit you.

To start we try the barramundi fish cakes (great) and marinated chargrilled pork neck (a winner but a tiny serve). We follow this with a prawn salad, surrounded with herbs and very refreshing. Then a duck curry, where the duck falls off the bone, and then some pad thai. I find most of the dishes don’t need the proffered DIY flavour intervention, but the pad thai is definitely on the bland side, and needs some help.

Barramundi and red curry paste cakes
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Spicy poached prawn salad
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Slow cooked duck leg red curry
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Deserts are nicely put together but strangely served on a scrap paper with parts of the menu.

Coconut jelly with young coconut
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Tapioca and pandan pudding with mango sorbet
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The staff are very friendly but on that particular day needed to up their game a little on attentiveness; I can imagine that on a very busy Friday or Saturday night there could be some frustration. I also think the serves are are on the small side for the pricing, especially the plates they name as Sharing/Larger. But they do have a $15 lunch special which is a dish plus a glass of wine which looks like good value.

Is it the best Thai street food you’ll find in Australia – no its not. But would I sit here by the river on a nice day for a relaxing Friday lunch, absolutely.

Bangpop, 35 South Wharf Promenade (off Dukes Walk), South Wharf ph (03) 9245 9800

BangPop on Urbanspoon

Tapioca, Cremorne

There’s a big divide in the world of Asian desserts – people seem to either love them or hate them, there’s no in between.  Me, I’m in the love camp, so bring on the sago, the black sticky rice and the pandan ice cream.  I’d expect some pretty good tapioca at a restaurant so named. The difference between tapioca and sago, by the way, those silky little pearls – file this away for the next pub trivia night – is that sago comes from the sago palm, and tapioca comes from the root of a plant called the cassava. But you’d be forgiven for mixing them up.

I’d been to Tapioca a couple of years ago, and remembered it being a good meal, so thought I’d give it a whirl with some girlfriends.  Its run by an all Thai team of good pedigree, though their main star, a woman named Air, has been busy at Sailor’s Thai, and is now returning.

The staff are subtle and friendly, a nice combination of attentive without being in your face, and happy to make suggestions to flesh out our chosen menu.  The entrees arrive and are a little disappointing with the flavour balance not quite right – too much ginger on the betel leaves overpowering the trout; heavy handed fish sauce on the cupcakes of prawn and chicken, and a little too much chilli on the scallop such that it is lost.

The winner is without a doubt the deep fried quail egg, crispy noodles surrounding a sweet little egg, with a nice bodied tamarind sauce to drizzle over the top.

We fair much better with our mains.  The jungle curry looks beautiful and has a nice depth of flavour – though blue eyed cod is probably not the best fish for it.  The pad thai is devoured by the table and the side of vegetables is outstanding. The papaya salad is fresh and vibrant.

We’re pretty full by this stage but dessert must be done.  And the tapioca is the star of the night, smooth, not too sweet, silky little balls as they should be. Its a generous serve and we really could have shared, but oh well.

Some dishes in my view need adjusting, which Air’s return may settle, but this is well above your standard neighbourhood Thai. Order well and you’ll have a nice evening indeed. Another plus is that they are BYO and a bottle shop is not far away. They also have banquets available for groups.

Tapioca, 318 Military Road, Cremorne ph (02) 9908 1588

Grilled scallops with mint, coriander, chilli powder-lime dressingtapioca1

Rice cupcakes with chicken and mince prawn (special)tapioca2

Deep fried quail eggs with minced prawns wrapped in eggs noodle with tamarind saucetapioca3

Smoked trout on betel leaves with roasted coconut, peanuts, chilli, lime, ginger and caramel saucetapioca4

Chicken Pad thai with bean sprout, tofu, egg and ground peanuttapioca5

Jungle curry fish of the day with oyster mushroom, corn, snake bean, wild ginger, roasted rice powder
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Green papaya salad with sweet and salty pork, cherry tomatoes, snake bean and chilli-lime dressingtapioca8

Pandanus tapioca pudding with young coconut and coconut creamtapioca7

Tapioca on Urbanspoon