There’s nothing like the magic of a first date… The butterflies in the stomach. The fear that it’ll all end in heartache. The excitement that this might be the one. You’re taking a great leap into the wilderness, and who knows if you’ll make it through to the other side?
Emily, who stayed with me over Christmas, had some friends visiting Melbourne last week: Will, Guy and Jon. I arranged to meet up with them and showed them the sights of the city (namely Bridie O’Reilly’s on Chapel Street… it was St Patrick’s Day). On Friday, the four of us had a scrumptiously carb-heavy dinner on Lygon Street, followed by a serving of the most intensely rich salted chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Helados Jauja (the staff working there were lovely, too, and let us try every flavour first!)
Will and Guy flew to New Zealand on Saturday, leaving poor Jon to fend for himself in the big bad city. Luckily for him, I took him under my wing and down to Patee Thai, at the Windsor end of Chapel Street.
This restaurant is a Southside institution, famous for its comfy floor-level seating upstairs (easily mistaken for a bed after a big meal and some wine, I’m sure). We reserved what must have been the last available table, because it was packed out at 9pm on a Saturday night. You wouldn’t guess this from the service, which was impressively fast and attentive. We chose to bring our own wine ($1.50 corkage per head) and as soon as we had opened it, an ice bucket was brought over. I was slightly concerned that the menu wasn’t labelled for allergens, but our waiter told us easily what was and wasn’t gluten free (most of it could be altered for me).
To start, I chose the chicken galangal soup, a creamy coconut broth spiced up with fresh chilli – perfect for these ‘cold’ Melbourne evenings we’re experiencing as we slide into autumn (that’s 20 degrees, HA). Jon had the prawn spring roll, which came with a cute little prawn cracker on top.
We locked eyes over the menu and split two main dishes: a green chicken curry and beef in oyster sauce, plus a serving of coconut rice. The curry was the perfect spice level and pleasantly thick, rather than the green, watery swamp you so often get, and the beef was perfectly cooked, juicy but not chewy. Even the rice was full of sweet, coconutty goodness.
The total bill came to roughly $30 each, a very reasonable price considering I was so full that I didn’t eat until Sunday afternoon. They also deliver, so for solo dates (with myself), I’ll be ordering in!
To sum up: Patee Thai gets a solid 9/10, BYO is the way forward, and, er, I’m still single.
Bridie O’Reilly’s, 462 Chapel Street, South Yarra, VIC 3141
Helados Jauja, 254 Lygon Street, Carlton, VIC 3053
Patee Thai, 135 Chapel Street, Windsor, VIC 3181