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BAI BUA

Cuisine: Thai

An eclectic garden theme with Thai artifacts, fabric artworks and other flowery oddments gives Bai Bua an ambivalent ambience but that goes by the wayside when the place fills up and the food hits the table. Groups and families flock here to enjoy good Thai at reasonable prices. Massaman lamb curry $16.90 is sweet and spicy with flavours of cinnamon and clove, while sizzling beef $14.90 stays true to its name, arriving on a smoky hotplate. Other Asian influences sneak into this menu, such as hokkien noodles stirfried with spicy basil and chicken $13.50. If it’s on your street corner, make it a regular; otherwise, an excellent choice if you’re passing through.

 

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THE UNION

Cuisine: Thai,Tapas

In a neighbourhood consumed by fast-food chains and sprawling US-style mega-malls, The Union offers tasteful reprieve for diners. It fronts High Street but entry is out the back up a delivery-guy stair, leading to a homely room with vintage industrial globes lolling from the ceiling and abstract artworks from the local gallery on the walls. The chefs/owners are long-time locals and have packed this tapas menu with produce from the region — from the garlic to cured meats, olives, oils and wines. Raging appetites will appreciate the starchy, thick polenta chips with dreamy jalapeno aioli $10.50 and pork and veal meatballs $14.50. Top up with delicate haloumi filo cigars $12.50, a souk-spiced chicken skewer with a dollop of light-as-air toum (garlic cream) $10.50 and then the “heavenly bacon”. That’s a dessert, btw. Ask for the story.

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