Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Thai Nee Cafe and East Brunswick Street Art

There was a time when I would go to Thai restaurants every now and again.  It is long passed.  However when I had a particularly wet Pad Thai at a market recently it was so wrong that I longed for a good Pad Thai.  So when Sylvia went to a sleepover birthday party E and I had the rare treat of a dinner date at Thai Nee.  We ate well, we were treated well, and we admired the street art outside.

I chose Thai Nee in East Brunswick because we had been there with friends years ago.  It was so long ago I barely remember the meal but I know I enjoyed it.  I was pretty sure that it was vegetarian-friendly because the friends who chose it were also vegetarian.

We were pleased when we arrived to find a rose and a candle at the table.  The restaurant wasn't that big, though not quite tiny.  It was fairly busy with not many empty seats.  (The photo below was taken later in the evening after some tables emptied.)  When I asked the waiters about dietary issues they were very helpful in telling me what was and wasn't vegetarian on the menu.  While I didn't ask directly I got the impression that they were vegan-friendly as well.

And while I am reminiscing, do you remember a time when vegetarian meals were cheaper than meat meals.  I always thought this was because meat was more expensive but these days I have no idea of the price of meat so I don't know if it has changed.

Anyway, I loved the Thai Nee menu because it is a list of types of dishes with the option for each dish of Vegetables, Meat or Seafood.  In each case the Vegetables dish was the cheapest.  However the menu prices were very reasonable.  We ordered spring rolls, 2 mains, rice, roti and tea.  It came to $42 for both of us.  (NB It is cash only and BYO.)

We started with vegetarian spring rolls.  They were crisp and hot and made us happy while we waited for our main course.  E then had a chicken curry with rice which he loved.  Sadly we didn't order enough rice to have it in one of the fancy silver bowls.  We also had roti with our mains.  (I was told that the dipping sauce had fish sauce in it so I avoided it.)  It was fantastic.  Really light and fluffy with crisp edges.

My main course was Pad Thai.  It seems a given, but there were so many other tempting meals on the menu that I swithered before ordering.  Probably one of the disappointments was that the tofu was not very hot and a bit bland but I did appreciate having some tofu.

I was surprised that there were no peanuts on top.  Perhaps our nut sensitive world makes it too risky.  When I asked, I was brought a little dish of chopped nuts.  I also was impressed that they checked if I wanted egg in my Pad Thai.  I said yes.  (Despite my dislike of eggs, I can usually cope with little bits of egg in a dish.)

So overall I really enjoyed my Pad Thai.  The flat rice noodles were full of flavour in that pleasingly sticky way and there was a satisfying amount of vegetables as well the the tofu and peanuts and eggs.

By the time we left it was dark and harder to see the artwork on the side of the Thai Nee building.  I had taken this photo a while back.  It seems a good segue into the street art in the area.

When we arrived at Thai Nee I couldn't go in without crossing the street to look at the street art on the other side of the road.  It is full of interesting characters.

I particularly liked the bird woman.  (Or perhaps bird man?)

And I was quite taken by the little house on fire.  I wonder why the person is standing outside.  Are they watching their own house burn, having escaped, or are they just a passerby?

Then we noticed the some of the artwork seemed incomplete.

I really need to go back and see if more has been added to the mural since our visit.

Meanwhile I have some other photos of street art from the same area of East Brunswick that it seems timely to share.  (I have more street art photos than I ever have time to share on my blog!)

Isn't this little girl cute?

More street art, some of it in the lanes just off Lygon Street.

And I end with one of my favourite pictures that I see when we drive up and down Lygon Street.  It makes me think of Swan Lake and the poignant moment when the swan is dying. 

Thai Nee Cafe
150 Lygon Street
East Brunswick
Tel: (03) 9388 0411
Open for dinner, Wed to Mon

Thai Nee Cafe on Urbanspoon

19 comments:

  1. I really must suss out a Thai place that do vegan well (and use vegan fish sauces and so on!) Great pics of the street art, so many wonderful examples!

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    1. Thanks Faye - I didn't specifically ask about fish sauce but as our waiter pointed out fish sauce in a few dishes I hope this means it wasn't in everything else.

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  2. I agree. I miss thai food. By the time I've gone through and made sure there's no fish sauce, egg, shrimp, oyster sauce and other meaty things I feel overwrought and very picky. Your pad thai looks delicious and I love the artwork!

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    1. Thanks Lisa - I didn't grill them but I did have fish sauce pointed out which I hope means they know their vegetarian food. It is exhausting to ask all the questions and can be disheartening - I once really grilled a restaurant about vegetarian options and found they all had shrimp powder and I had been so hopeful about lunch!

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  3. I have been to Thai Nee - it is a favourite of friends of mine who live north of the river. The food looks good, even if it was not all great. Love the street art!

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - it was a really lovely meal even if a few components weren't perfect. I can see why it would be a favourite of your friends.

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  4. Hopefully that made up for the wet Pad Thai! Also, I do believe that veg meals should still be cheaper to make than meat meals...yet restaurants usually charge almost the same price!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - yes I felt much better after having a decent pad thai. And restaurant pricing is a mystery (and sometimes a frustration)

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  5. Great street art shots Johanna! I wish I liked Pad Thai more. It's fine and I'll eat it if someone orders it but I find that it can often be really disappointing.

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I really love the noodles being cooked in that way that is a bit dry and sticky but disappointing pad thai can make you once bitten twice shy

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  6. I went out for lunch the other day and the veg salad was pricier than the meat and egg options. I thought it was crazy!

    I've never heard of Thai Nee but I love the name, how cute! Shame about the tofu (and the peanuts - I love peanuts).

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    1. Thanks Caeli - sometimes the fresh vegies seem the most expensive thing on the menu - and we wonder why the health in this country is so appalling!

      I really love the name too - and the tofu was a bit bland but nice with the meal and the peanuts came albeit a little late - so I was happy with my pad thai despite a few blips!

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  7. The street art is very intriguing! I wish you would make more blog space for your street art photos.

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    1. Thanks Mae - I am thinking I need to make some more space for my street art photos - otherwise they stare at me accusingly in my photos folders!

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  8. I think you found a restaurant that's very reasonably priced. We have a Thai restaurant near us and it's also fairly inexpensive and cash only. But they always put peanuts on the dishes! xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - I actually appreciated them not putting the nuts on the dish because Sylvia has a peanut allergy but I thought it was pretty standard in pad thai so I was surprised not to have them on the dish

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  9. That really is gorgeous art - Melbourne seems to have an amazing array of well done street art. I'm glad you made up for your sub par Thai meal too. Mr Bite always orders vegetarian Pad Thai and I love that the cuisine generally is veggie friendly. It is far more expensive over here though - I think being close to Thailand Australia does Thai food very well and generally at good cost!

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    1. Thanks Kari - my experience in the UK was that Indian food was great but south east asian food wasn't as good as in Australia and I always assumed proximity was the reason. I missed the Indian curries when I got back to Australia but loved returning to some great thai restaurants.

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  10. Mmm I haven't had Thai food in a long time. That place sounds pretty good. Love the street art! Especially the last one - so beautiful and sad.

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