Well, it has been a good 3 years or so since my last visit to Paladarr Thai Issan. In all fairness, it is located in an inconspicuous location in Alphington (yeh, where f*** is Alphington I hear you ask - it's sort of near Ivanhoe/Heidelberg).
Anyway about the restaurant. Solid front of house staff that is much more efficient than your typical suburban thai restaurant, but before I start my ranting, I feel that I need to be upfront and put it out there that I am, generally, not a fan of thai food...it just doesn't do it for me nor do I sit at home at midnight and think to myself, damn I could do with some Thai right about now! So read on with caution.
We opted for the "King's Banquet", which started off with a DIY appetizer. That didn't really win any points with me - you have to understand how I work. I am not a fan of DIY when I go out to eat. Not a fan at all.
It was sort of like a betel leaf with some rif raf and a syrupy dressing. Not bad...but honestly DIY? Maybe for some it's fantastic, but I repeat, I am not a fan of DIY!!!. Can you tell I hate DIY?
A procession of entrees such as grilled beef, papaya salad, and pork mince in coconut milk and tom yum soup were served to begin the meal which, in general, had good and solid flavours (but if I haven't raved about my own papaya salad before I definitely will soon). What I felt was lacking was balance. The soup was aromatic, but it was incredibly strong and far too salty. If I were to have it at home, I would've had it with some glass noodles or something to just take the edge off.
Most of the mains, however, were excellent, especially the curries which were full of intense flavours without being too rich. One or two dishes, however, were quite strong which again, could have done with a bit of restraint in seasoning and saucing. However, perhaps it is more our (my) palate/s rather than the success or failure of the dishes. To be fair, nothing was wrong with the dishes...after all, we ate almost everything.
Perhaps an example is of the dessert where we all had vastly differing opinions. I was not a fan of the warm custard, yet everyone else seemed to love it. Maybe it's just me, but this is my blog, so I don't really care what anyone else thinks!! To me, it tasted like steamed egg that is tethering between sweet and savoury...
Overall, I wasn't left feeling wow. I wasn't left feeling very much, but I think I also had a bit too much to drink so I couldn't really think clearly....I would return but probably not anytime soon, but then again, I only have thai about once a year.
Paladarr Thai Issan
7 Rowe St, Alphington