The Chedi Thai Restaurant is located at at the western end of King Street in the inner Sydney city suburb of Newtown, not far from the junction of King and Messinden Streets. It is close to the Sydney University campus cohort. Ely and Ray organised a lunch there on a recent Saturday when the Newtown markets were held. The diverse and interesting suburb of Newtown is 150 years old. Here are my impressions of the several dishes we tried from a cuisine which I reckoned is more southern than northern Thai, more Phuket and Hatyai than Chiangmai or Bangkok. It is a spacious restaurant, in contrast to several Thai food venues in the Chinatown precinct of Sydney CBD.
My top choice goes to the barramundi filleted pieces topped by a green mango salad (photo above) - the flavours mix and complement each other readily and remind one of sitting on the beach facing the Andaman Sea, immersing in the fresh seafood sensations and surrounded by the aromas of tropical fruits, herbs and vegetables.
Crispy pork with chili and basil - this was my most tasty dish that afternoon, with a crunchiness and bite of chili heat that offers the best of both southern Chinese and authentic Thai essentials. The various garnishing items add an extra dimension to the overall fusion sensation.
Fresh coconut juice served in a natural and organic container - the coconut itself. Coconut sizes can vary, although when plucked, it is an oval shaped fruit, light green outside and with a white edible layer inside. Coconuts are indispensable to many cultures and communities and offer use to human society with every major and little bit of itself. Coconut juice can be refreshing on a hot summer's day and is preferably drunk without any added sugar or other ingredient.
The red curry combining roast duck slices with longans, tomato cuts, fish sauce, egg plants, pineapple cubes and coconut cream (picture above) also stood out. The Thai menu identifies this as the Kaeng Ped Pett Yang and uses different spice mixes from the green option ( tumeric and galengal being the differentiators).
Very different from the spicy duck curry of Kerala in southern India, the Thai version is lighter, more creamy and has roasted duck ready before the cooking for this dish begins.
Prawns with garnish sitting on top and wrapped in leaves above, encapsulates the best of cuisine from Thailand. Produce from both the land and seas, from the gardens and combined in clever ways to create new tastes and results, are utilised to whet the appetite and served in various forms of starters, desserts, curries and mains. The entree shown above echoes some of the traditional dishes found as well in Straits Chinese, Burmese, Malay and Indonesian cooking variations.
Chedi also provides a choice of the brown version of jasmine rice, which is a necessary accompaniment to the dishes mentioned above. Vegetarians may want to try the savoury pumpkin and egg dish offered by Chedi. We went to the opening along Newtown's King Street of a yogurt place, so we did not proceed to after meal sweeteners at Chedi. In the dessert category, I did note that they also offer black sticky rice served with a dash of coconut cream and deep fried banana fritters with honey glaze and ice cream dollops.
Atmosphere: Spacious and light setting.
Location: Suburban and trendy.
Taste: Good for specific dishes.
People Engagement: Above expectations.
Service: Friendly and efficient.
Best Dish Experienced: Barramundi fillets with green mango salad.
Best Time to Visit: Lunch time.
Would I Return? Yes.