Late night thai food cravings - we've all been hit by them at one point in time or another. But on this particular evening a craving for some thai food hit me like a ton of coconuts. Sure there are the other Thai street food haunts such as Home, House and Chat Thai - which we do frequent when these cravings can't be turfed - but I am a bit ashamed that this was my first visit to Spice I am. This Surry Hills fixture has been feeding the masses of hungry patrons since 2004, so what have I missed in the last 7 years? Plenty.
They were out of Thai Milk Tea that night so Demos opted for the Young Coconut Juice ($4.50) but not before attacking my Lemon Iced Tea first ($4.00)
A little bit of happy snapping while we wait of course.
Looking around and we see a constant turnover of tables, it really is a busy place! Now I have to clarify for you curious observers - there are 2 Spice I am's in Sydney and we are at the bustling "original" and more relaxed location on Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills. There is a fancier Spice I am restaurant in Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. Chef's Padet Nagsalab and Sujet Saenkham really created a food institution and the writing is on the wall with several food award displayed.
The busy dining space at Spice I Am
Now, for what we are for - annihilating the food cravings.
Chicken Pad Thai is just one of those standard dishes that we tend to order when at Thai. Doesn't everyone? Demos has the obsession of finding Sydney's best Pad Thai - I guess its a dish that takes us back to our broke uni days where we would live on this dish. The Pad Thai on offer is a very substantial portion and could easily be shared by a group. The noodles are not oily and the flavours are not overpowering - a tasty dish. Snaps for not being stingy on the chicken too, as my pet hate is pad thai with minimal protien and peanuts.
I was a bit hesitant in ordering dish after seeing an "S" next to it on the menu - yes the chilli wuss in me rears it head in. I've mentioned it in my previous post but i'm trying to built up my chilli tolerance. I figured the more I attack my tastebuds, the quicker I'll get immune to it. Demos didn't find this dish to be spicy at all, but I filled my glass of water in anticipation. They were not as generous with the crab meat as they were with the chicken, but atleast it was fresh crab meat. There is nothing I despise more than "crab" sticks. The sweetness of the crab meat countered the heat that was creeping up, it was a very zingy dish indeed.
Daily Special: Red Duck Curry $25.90
Now this is what instigated the thai cravings for the evening. I was adamant that a red duck curry dish of some sort had to be in my belly. It was worrying that I could not find it on the menu - but it was my lucky night as it was the evenings special. My oh My! It was the most beautifully presented curry I have had!
In my eagerness to order, I didn't get to ask if this would be spicy or not. Usually I would ask politely if it would be possible to take the heat down a notch for my tastebuds sake but now there was not turning back. Digging in the coconut bowl there was a very generous serve of succulent duck pieces, cherry tomatoes with lychees and pineapple chunks for that deliciously sweet contrast. The sauce was thick and creamy without being too oily and was awesome on top of the crab fried rice. I have to admit that I was sweating bullets, the chilli got to me but I persevered through the heat and enjoyed as much of the dish as humanly possible. Spice I was.
Like every "new" place we visit - we kick ourselves for waiting so long to try Spice I am. Its cool, very casual and the service is speedy and very efficient. Unfortunately, they do not take bookings and most of the time there is a line of hungry patrons waiting for a table for this small space. However, BYO with no corkage makes up for this. If the crowds are anything to go by, it is a place that I know I will be coming back to - with an even greater spice tolerance of course.