Hidden away in the hustle and bussle of the city is this little gem of a place. Open for public since March this year, it continues to surprise us with a beautiful twist of Thai fusion flavour. 8020BK did not get nominated for best new restaurant in the city for nothing.
We were greeted by Thanya Thongngam, an amazing down to earth co-owner, who accommodated us during her lunch break. In addition to her full time job, she still manages her restaurant with three other business partners (Pattra Wongkhamchan, Seksan Suntharaphai, Vareevan Suntharapia) and their dedication and hard work has paid off. They delivered great food, they have gained our trust and now it is our turn to return the favour by genuinely spreading the good word about this place.
Boldly designed with strong black tones, it doesn’t make this place dark or gloomy, instead it gives an edgy cool feeling of a sophisticated atmosphere in a “street” food stall setting. They have incorporated wooden picnic tables with long benches in the generous central floor space for those that come in a group. With no full extensive menu available online anywhere, we were excited to see it when we got to the restaurant.
The name 8020BK was inspired from what they wanted to offer to the public. 80% Thai and 20% Fusion. Bk being Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. There were familiar dishes there such as Pad Thai and Tom Yum, but there were also some that were uncommon in a Thai restaurant such as Beef Cheeks or the intriguing, Deep Fried Papaya Salad. Yes you read that right, they deep fried their shredded papaya! Let’s break it down to you one by one so you know exactly what we are talking about.
Fried Papaya Salad
It comes with shredded fried papaya, Shirley tomatoes, orange, assorted citrus, thinly sliced red chilli and Thai dressings. I have had papaya salad before but never fried so this was new for me. Maybe it defeats the purpose of having a clean healthy salad, but we only live once, and this dish is too good to be missed! It was tangy, flavoursome and the amount of dressing is up to you as it comes on the side. This takes the dish to another level of awesomeness.
We just couldn’t go pass one of the most ordered dishes in any Thai restaurant, Pad Thai! It’s rice noodles and theirs come with prawns with ingredients mainly features tamarind paste, palm sugar and fish sauce. As you can tell it is a little mix of sweet and tangy all in one. this is the one dish that will satisfy all your noodle craving.
BK Beef Cheeks
6 hour slow cooked beef cheeks with a generous amount of apple herbs slaw on top. The beef was perfectly cooked and you can pair it with rice. The apple herbs slaw made the dish fresher on the palate. If you like to be a little more fancy, ask for their Coconut Rice Berry. It comes in a subtle purple colour with a hint of coconut aroma. This was an option for a healthier diet as quoted by Tanya. The Berry Rice is a popular option back in Thailand. I reckon we should make it more well known here because one it tastes so divine, second, it is healthy and third, it is colourful! Making eating more exciting.
Crispy Pork Belly
Citrus, shredded cucumber and sweet namjim sauce. Wow. They nailed the crackling, because admit it, that’s the only reason we order pork belly, right? You just cannot go wrong with namjim sauce. Pork belly has always been my weakness so it has to be really good quality as I have tasted so many. We could easily say that this was one of the best Thai pork belly’s we’ve ever tasted.
Thai Style BBQ Chicken
The chicken was juicy, tender and succulent, and the crispy skin was simply amazing! This was complemented with shredded apple, lemongrass, garlic, mix salad and their nam jim jaew sauce on the side. Great with rice or just eat it as a sharing entree and dip the chicken into the delicious sauce or pour it all over, whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong.
Deep Fried Fish Two Ways
Deboned barramundi fried two ways with chilli, sweet and sour sauce, and garnished with a generous amount of chopped cashews. I thought we couldn’t beat the pork belly, but ladies and gentlemen this was definitely our favourite. The fish was cooked to perfection making it just the right amount of crispness whilst keeping the meat moist. The sauce soaked in so well that every bite was so finger licking good. We could totally have ordered two and demolish them easily considering we were still looking for the meat when there was nothing left.
Steam Curry Seafood
Using the base of red curry paste, this dish came out beautifully presented in a young coconut. With so much love for this seafood curry, they have prawns, mussels, and squid. Garnished with shredded coconut flesh and Thai basil, making it such a pleasant dish on the eye and on the palate.
With a gripping drink menu called XXX 18+ we couldn’t help but to order one of their cocktails which may have had the most stand out name… “P(r)ick Me Up”. It contains chilli, tom yum infused vodka, kaffir lime and lemongrass. Why the name? Well fun fact, Phrik can be interpreted as chilli in the Thai language, spelt slightly different but pronounced the same way hence the name which is both catchy and suits the flavour.
After such an amazing feast, we couldn’t resist trying their desserts. With only two options, it’s easy to make a decision, “We will take both thank you”. Here comes our beautiful desserts;
Coconut sorbet, sticky rice, coconut jelly in a deep fried bun. Sweet, sticky, and crunchy coming from a bun that is only prepared upon order so it comes out fresh and warm.
Roti, pandan custard and shredded coconut. Also cooked upon order, their roti is inspired from the famous Malaysian roti. Their dessert was a beautiful close to a wonderful banquet. We left very satisfied and grateful and we cannot wait to go back again for some of their new summer menu. If you are in the area or can’t make up your mind on where to eat in the city, I suggest you try this place out.
Words by Dee Pene from Adelaide Food Authority
WHERE: 36 Blyth St, Adelaide