There is one thing that my eating companions really don't understand about me. No, its not the obsessive need to try new places or treating food the way paparazzi treat Lindsay Lohan - what confuses them the most is my inability to tolerate spicy flavours in food. You see most of my friends, especially Mr Empty Fridge, eat chilli like it was popcorn. I on the other hand, am a wussbag. Personally, I do not enjoy a severe burning taste sensation at all and I try to order everything "Mild" where I can.
"You are not going to enjoy this" My Mom (aka Mrs Fridgemagnet) tells me, as we walk towards House. "Everything will be spicy and everything will be covered in coriander so get your antihistamines ready" (Yes, my random allergy to coriander manages to attack me at every new restaurant.)
Mrs Fridgemagnet is a huge fan of Spice I Am, and when I read that the Chef Sujet Saenkham had opened up a street-food inspired eatery, we were both eager to try it. We arrived at about 4pm after a big brunch and some shopping - so this was our version of afternoon tea. House is not your ordinary Thai Restaurant. The dishes on offer are from the North-east region of Thailand, and there is not one Money Bag or Pad See Ew in sight. A Thai and English bilingual menu was provided and it conveniently contained pictures of each dish to tempt eaters, with quite a substantial number of small dishes I might add. These menus made ordering a breeze as you could not rely on the waiters for recommendations, they were however happy to advise that "No, very Hot if you don't like Hot" about the dishes I was pointing to.
I think they were judging my chilli handicap.
I think they were judging my chilli handicap.
We decide to try two small dishes, a small sample of what was on offer. We order the Mackarel salad with fresh vegetables and the barbeque pork skewers. Mrs Fridgemagnet was not too happy about having to request that the dish not be too spicy, but hey - sharing is caring. She told me the last time she had tasted anything this authentic was at one of the food stalls in Bangkok's Chatuchak market. My pork skewers also take me back to my trip to Thailand as well and I can distincly remember the smell of the smoke comming from the food vendors at Lumpini Night Markets or the street stalls in Phuket. All I needed was a cold Singha beer and we would be back in beautiful Thailand.
The fresh and crisp bamboo shoots are a great contrast to both the fishy-ness and oilyness of the Mackarel salad. I have never tried Bamboo shoots previously but it really cooled my mouth after trying the salad, as it was still hot despite us requesting minimal mouth burning please.Mrs Fridgemagnet was quite happy not to share after I had a small taste, and continued to enjoy her Mackarel salad.
The serve of pork skewers were just enough for this small food break. Man they were delicious! They were not too thick which makes the crunchy charred bits a great contrast. The sauce is not too sweet but it contains the right amount of chilli keep to make it seem less boring..afterall, they were just mini skewers. However, they are very lean cuts and perfectly cooked whilst still keeping the meat very juicy and flavoursome.Now I'm not sure if you guys have herd about this dessert. I think its had quite the cult status of late, but with a name like "Better than Sex" I would think that severe diners are keen to challenge the comparison.
This dessert was absolutely delicious, to the point that Mrs Fridgemagnet and I were just about ready to order a second plate. It consists of a sugary sweet toasted brioche, a scoop of the most awesome pandan flavour ice cream, and then covered in a dark palm sugar syrup. Thinking about it now makes me want to drive there this very second! The thick slice of brioche is light and fluffy with a very strong eggy flavour. I thought it may have even been a slice of brioche french toast. The pandan ice cream was a standout dessert in itself. This was the first time I had tried this flavour and I feel like I found what was missing in my life. Yes, dramatic I know, but I have only tried pandan in drinks, jellies and other desserts - never in ice cream form. The sauce just brings it to another level, I enjoyed the contrast to the sweetness of the ice cream and brioche, adding almost a dark and even more sinful layer to the dessert.
I would honestly go back there just for the B.T.S dessert. Its not listed on the menu but i'm sure if you ask it will be available. The dessert is supposed to be a "special" but I can only imagine the uproar if they decide to take it off the menu. Consider this a warning, House.
Id like to try a larger selection of the dishes when a return, and will without a doubt leave room for dessert. I think that with an awesome sweet dish like the B.T.S. on offer, I should be able to try my hand on some mouth burning epic dishes - I can use "recovery" as an excuse not to share dessert. Price wise, it is reasonable compared to the more "posh" thai eateries around the area. I think if your eating what is essentially street food, it would not feel right to be charged an arm and a leg. Besides, the portions are not large at all.
So if you are up for a casual night out and keen to venture out of the Pad Thai takeaway box, then House is definately a must visit. As we left content with our afternoon tea, the early dinner crowds were starting to arrive. For those Balmy summer nights in the horizon, I can't think of anything better than sitting in the beer garden and downing copious amounts of Singha to stop the burning of spicy thai in my mouth. Until next time, House.
House - 202 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. 02 9280 0364
Cash Only but there is an ATM at the Pub next door.