Monday, September 24, 2012

Jantra - new Thai in Braybrook

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It's somewhat true that in Melbourne, the more hidden a bar or restaurant, the better it is.  Sometimes I think this is our greatest failing - if you go for a wander about looking for something to eat or drink, you'll most likely end up in a mediocre spot on the main drag because you didn't know all you had to do was lift a manhole and do a secret knock before being admitted to the latest brew bar just beneath your feet.  Now Braybrook's getting in on the "secret restaraunt" action with a new Thai place tucked away in the business park behind Central West Plaza.

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There was a Nepalese restaurant here for a while, and it's a tough gig - the place is enormous and a bit devoid of atmosphere...

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Spicy mince chicken and ground sticky rice, $10.80

...but sparks start flying when the food starts arriving.  This chicken larb was awesome!  Minced chicken, mixed with a little nutty ground rice, tossed with high notes of spicy red onion and fresh mint while ample chilli provided thumping bass.  Wicked.

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Soya stir-fried noodle (lunch special), $9.80

Also delicious were these sweet soy rice noodles, curling around some simple cabbage, carrot and tofu and with proper, tantalisingly charred wok hei flavour.  Some of the regular menu items seem on the dear side - $16.80 for a pad Thai with chicken, or $20.80 for seafood curry - but maybe the serves are extra large.

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Soft shell crab with patty-style fruit salad, $12.80

Yes, I am that predictable.  If there is soft shell crab, I must have it.  Golden kiwifruit, red grapes and apples were mixed with slivers of red onion and a pungent fish sauce-based dressing.  Fresh (albeit small) crab with silky yellow roe worked perfectly with the fresh, crunchy, sweet yet sour salad.

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We were cheeky and ordered dessert from the dinner menu, despite it being lunch.  Loved this banana rolled in sticky rice, steamed in a banana leaf and served with cool coconut ice cream.

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And if it wasn't already too good to be true, a short black was tip top.

No secret knock required.  Go go go!

Jantra Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jantra Thai (Facebook) - see menu here
9 Ashley Street, Central Business Park, Braybrook (turn into park and then quickly turn right, before the security gate)
Phone:  9396 1400
Hours:  Mon-Fri 8am-2pm; Mon-Sun 5-10pm (kitchen closes half hour before closing time)


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15 comments:

  1. OMG can it be true ... amazing Thai close by??!! I can't wait for Friday! (Oh and I love the fact that things are so hidden in this town ... makes the chase even more exciting!)

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    1. Honestly, me too. I love being able to say "I know a little place..." and lead someone up a rickety stair or down a colourful laneway where amazing coffee and food awaits, all for less than $20.

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  2. We noticed the place on the way home from work and were wondering if Ms Baklover knows about it yet.... well yes she does! Thank you for trying this one out Lauren, we shall visit them very soon!
    MJ

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  3. Oh wow, we were just there last night with family (I actually got the suggestion to go there from a previous blog post you made).
    It was great! Even the in-laws (from the Eastern suburbs) were impressed to find such a flash restaurant in Braybrook. lol.

    We also had the soft shell crab, and the penang curry is to die for. Seriously delicious (I'm eating some leftover from the doggy bag right now!).

    Love your blog btw, I probably never would have found this place otherwise. Even though I only a couple of streets away, the restaurant is so hidden in Ashley street, they seriously need to do some more advertising.

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    1. Hi Aggie! Sorry for slow reply... Mmm, penang curry, delicious. Yes, they need to do some serious advertising. Letterboxing menus would be a good start.

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  4. I love Thai food and have only found a good place in Caroline Springs so I am excited to try out this place as well!

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  5. Meant to say only good Western Suburbs Thai in Caroline Springs :)

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    1. Ooh Candice, I have heard good things about that Caroline Springs Thai joint! Will have to add it to the list :-)

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  6. Woohoo! I love Braybrook posts. As you know, Jases nan lives there and makes a huge dinner for the family every fortnight. Now that I know this is right around the corner from her house, I'd love to take her there for a change! Fantastic stuff. I'll be all over that soft shell crab too :)

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  7. Same here. I almost always have to order soft shelled crab dishes as soon as I see it on the menu. Although for me, it's always a bittersweet experience. I always enjoy the crab so so much but it's always sad when it's gone all too quickly. Too small, these soft shelled crab dishes! I want a big pile of it! That's why I love going to Thai Taste in Collingwood because they do just that. Anyway, I've never tried a dessert like that steamed banana before but I have no doubt that I'm going to like it very much when I do. Love it!

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    1. Ooh, I might have to suggest Thai Taste for a family dinner so we can pig out on soft shell crab. :-)

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  8. I agree it's exciting Melbourne has hidden gems. But perhaps Jantra is TOO hidden - let's hope they get enough customers! It's not likely people will be wandering around Ashley St and chance upon it. There's a banner on Ashley St but it's hard to spot. A proper sign on the street might be good!

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    1. Yes James agreed. Not much foot traffic. The rent looks like it would be sizeable for such a big premises too...

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