We’ve already reviewed Koko Thai when it first opened, however, Adelaide Food Central was invited once again to their official media dinner. This is the third Thai restaurant in this same location but we feel this time, the new owners have got it right. All food and drink were provided free of charge. Now on to the food!
The first thing I noticed when the Sea Star was brought out was that sweet, distinctively fragrant aroma from the red curry sauce that the dumplings were generously smothered in. Not only were they the most beautifully presented dumplings I have ever seen but the tastiest dumplings I have ever had. The minced chicken, prawn and squid was moist, nicely seasoned and flavoursome. But the star of the dish (no pun intended) would just have to be that red curry sauce. It was mild, creamy due to the coconut milk, with a beautiful array of spices including what I could taste were cumin, coriander, white pepper and chilli. The vibrancy of its distinctive red colour was lovely as well. A really magnificent sauce.
The Pandan Chicken was a delicious sweet-savoury type of dish. The aromatic pandan leaves wrapped around the chicken allows it to be infused into the chicken, so that the chicken had a sweet and fragrant aroma. The leaves also helped the juices of the chicken to be kept intact so that chicken was super juicy. I can imagine this dish would be a winning finger food type of dish at a dinner party.
Next was the Green Papaya Salad. The grated papaya was crunchy and the flavours of chilli, garlic, fish sauce and dried shrimp shined through the dish well. It is definitely a distinctive Thai dish. The cashew nuts also added another layer of texture to the dish. It would be a little spicy for some but personally I loved it and would even prefer it to be even more spicier.
Again, the Miang Kum was a really nicely presented dish that would wowed all of us but just not only in presentation but of course taste. These little appetisers are what I would consider great examples of what constitutes bold Thai flavours: the spicy ginger, nuttiness of the roasted peanuts, Thai chillies and citrusy goodness of limes. These must be eaten all within one bite in order to fully enjoy the explosion of all the flavours encased into these betel leaf parcels of flavour.
A safe measurement as to how one can tell how authentic a Thai restaurant is through judging their execution of the classic and most recognisable dish of the cuisine: Pad Thai. This dish really is not a one person meal (as I quickly found out) unless you have not eaten for two days or you just simply have an unnaturally huge appetite. The portion is very generous. This dish was simply delicious. The noodles were nice with that little chewiness which I like. It was bursting full of flavour owing to the great combination of crispy fresh vegetables, prawns, tender pieces of chicken and sweet and tangy sauce. A really well-executed dish on a classic. Well done.
This dish is perfect for anyone who likes seafood and spicy food in general. The Red Seafood Curry was fragrant and wonderfully creamy due to the use of coconut milk of course. The prawns, squid, mussel and chunks of snapper were all tender and juicy but all individually added their own texture to the dish. The zing from the green peppercorns, chilli and Thai eggplants shined through nicely and that sauce was very delicious. It is the type of sauce that is so good that it would be a shame to waste any of it so one can do only do it justice by mopping up that saucy goodness with a side of steamed rice, which is what I did.
No meal is completed without having dessert, regardless whether you feel like you are about to slip into a food coma or can fit something else more into your stomach. The battered coating on the Deep Fried Banana was light, crispy and had a beautiful golden colour. The scoops of vanilla ice cream nicely balanced out the dish. The chocolate sauce drizzled also added an indulgent richness to the dish.
What struck me the most about Koko Thai were the presentation of the dishes were and how attentive and lovely the staff were. They constantly re-filled our drinks and made sure everything was going well. There was very little to fault at Koko Thai as the dishes were of a high quality, very generous in portions and are well-priced. I never used to be a fan of Thai food but this place has changed my mind. Thanks to Koko Thai for opening up my taste buds to the wonderful flavours of authentic Thai cuisine.
Words and Photos by Linh Nguyen
WHERE: 147 O’Connell St, North Adelaide