Sunday, 4 May 2008

Red Hot Thai

Red Hot Thai at Kingscliff is one of those restaurants that always seems to be busy. Usually that's a good indication of the food quality, and its certainly the case here.

Although Red Hot Thai covers the usual Thai suspects, there are also a few dishes that you don't always come across on your standard Thai menu. Their starters include crab and chicken steamed dumplings ($8.50), deep fried spicy fish cakes served with sweet chilli or plum sauce ($8.50) and spring rolls ($8.50).

I ordered the satay gai to get the evening going - chicken marinated in Thai herbs, served with peanut sauce ($8.50). I really am a sucker for Thai chicken satays and these ones were great. Over the years I've come across a lot of chicken satays where the chicken was so overcooked that the resulting satays were chewy and tasteless. These, on the other hand, were tender, covered in herbs and had a lovely delicate flavour. They were delicious, served with both a mild peanut sauce and a tangy, clear Thai sauce. They were quickly demolished.

We also ordered a serve of the pak tod for entree - fresh vegetables in tempura batter, served with sweet tamarind and ginger sauce ($8.50). Again these were great - fresh cauliflower, broccoli, beans, mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini and shallots fried in a light, crunchy tempura batter. The tangy sauce was also a winner. Admittedly these were more Japanese than Thai, but they were fresh and tasty.

When it comes to mains, the menu covers curries, soup, salads, seafood, stir fries and noodles. Some of the salads sounded particularly tempting - like the yum nua (char grilled beef with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, coriander and chilli) and the larb gai (spicy minced chicken, Thai herbs, lime juice and ground roasted rice).

We were at the beach, so I went for the gang penang prawn curry ($22) as a main course. This was a creamy red coconut milk curry, which was served with broccoli, carrot, fresh kaffir lime leaves and roasted peanuts. It was a beautiful dish, in the fragrant, lighter style of Thai curries. There was a generous amount of prawns in the dish and the sauce was so good I ended up dunking loads of rice into the bowl to soak up all the delicious flavours.

We also had the vegetarian Red Hot Thai noodles as a main - wok fried egg noodles with tofu, chilli, shallot and basil ($15.50). Although there were plenty of fresh, crunchy vegetables in this dish, it was a bit bland, and could have done with a bit more of a flavour kick. There were a few red chilli bits through the noodles, but not enough to really give them a distinctive taste.

Red Hot Thai is both licenced and BYO. Corkage is $2.50 per person if you do take your own wine. Although we had to ask about 3 separate waiters for a wine cooler and some glasses at the start of the night, after that small hiccup the service was good. Red Hot Thai does get very busy during school holidays and on weekends, so it's always a good idea to book ahead.

What does all this mean? Well priced, tasty Thai food in a relaxed, friendly setting.

food bling ratings
Food - Great
Service - Good
Ambience - Relaxed indoor & outdoor seating
Value for Money - Good
Wine - Licenced & BYO
Vegetarian - Great

Red Hot Thai
80 Marine Parade
Kingscliff NSW 2487
P - 02 6674 5299

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