|Vermicelli and prawns in a claypot cook off.|
When I was told that Tawandang, with its first base in Sydney along George Street in Haymarket, had opened another restaurant in Chatswood, on upper Victoria Avenue, just off the train platforms, I was thrilled.
My first thoughts were on the Thai styled pork knuckle, well done with a strong eye on German inspired beer, and on the charcoal grilled shoulder pork slices. For these two dishes, the Chatswood joint carries on the tradition, reputation and taste on the day of my visit. Some other diners have mentioned to me that the knuckle can be inconsistent at times and some have found it served dry.
That evening ,more than twenty of friends were attending a birthday dinner upstairs at this Chatswood restaurant. I was impressed with the lay out and spaciousness of this level, with good views of the nearby high rises and shops near the station. There is even a balcony and the inside is tastefully decorations and ornamentation on the walls. It is relatively large for a Thai restaurant in Australia, but then Tawandang's roots in Bangkok have much larger venues.
|The minced pork and century aged egg combination.|
The Tawandang Chatswood is located at 426-428 Victoria Avenue, near the eastern side of Chatswood Rail Station, New South Wales.
Contact +61 2 9419 5144
Opening hours are from 8am to 10pm every day.
Artisan beers from Bangkok available.
|The egg omelette lacked ingredients and did not live up to a zesty bite.|
The claypot deserves a mention, I loved it. You can have a similar dish for dinner at Cantonese restaurants but they charge more than a bit for this, so at twenty Aussie dollars a quip for a smaller offering, I thought it is a good way to sample this delight. The vermicelli has an al dente bite to it at Tawandang Chatswood. It was not spicy but had more taste than some of the southern Chinese versions I have seen in Australia.
|The stir fried Kangkong (south-east Asian spinach or Morning Glory in Vietnam) lacked oomph, did not have the required chilli paste bite and therefore flattened out.|
|Prawns simmering in a spicy soup.|
The stereotyped dish in Thai cuisine is Tom Yum with seafood. Our dining group had a more spicy - but also flavourful - related version but with fresh prawns and egg omelette, something akin to what you can have at the Bangkok Restaurant in the Capitol Arcade, Haymarket (which has a more authentic bite to this dish).
Minced pork with so called century old eggs has a southern Chinese origin and constitutes comfort food of childhood for many south-east Asians as well. As you may know, these eggs are preserved for around a hundred days at the most and give a cured flavour. Tawandang's version is about right, not over the top and not under flavoured, with just the optimal texture.
The knuckle served to us at dinner time was already thoughtfully carved out into bite sized pieces. The knuckle can be served in the whole and that would have made a pretty picture, but then someone would have to cut it out. We had to ask for serving ladles, something which many Asian restaurants have not quite got there as yet. The staff were hard working and looked lively busy, but we sensed a bit of confusion over how many dishes went to the two tables at our dinner party that night. I just thought it may have been teething issues for a restaurant that has only recently opened in Chatswood. The kitchen is not visible to diners as in some contemporary places.
|The Kor Moo or charcoal grilled shoulder pork slices.|
Such is my enthusiastic view of Tawandang from its city based restaurant that I admit having visited and checking out Tawandang Chatswood twice on the same day. My lunch group had eaten downstairs, a more packed lay out with tables mostly for couples. If possible, ask for the upstairs seating and have at least four persons in your group to do justice to the food. In the day time, we had a coconut milk laden soup that had mushrooms, chicken breast meat slices and chillies - I found it appetising. We also had stir fried noodles and a claypot of vermicelli with prawns.
|A banquet feast one Wednesday evening in Chatswood's Tawandang, including the Choo Chee prawns (left of photo).|
An independent review by Kevin Yong
My dish recommendations at the Tawandang Chatswood are as follows:
For entree, the Kor Moo or charcoal grilled shoulder pork slices; and
the claypot with prawns and vermicelli.
For mains, the pork knuckle spiced and marinated with unique Thai delights and one to accompany with the crafted beer.
Check out my review on Tawandang Haymarket Sydney: