12 Jul 2016
A hole in the wall that serves up a flavour packed Tom Yum Soup
Sometimes you walk into the most unexpected little places and wonder how on earth they’ve managed to fly under the radar.
I was wandering along the streets of Kings Cross on this token Friday night looking for a food fix after work. As my pocket vibrated, my aimless search came to a swift end. “Hey, you should head down Llankelly Place and head to a tiny hole in the wall opposite that burger joint.” Right, nothing like a bit of a treasure hunt when you’re hungry.
With just a 4 seater and 2 seater table under some heaters outside and a small bench with space for 4 inside, it’s literally a hole in the wall. A cart displaying an array of fresh herbs divides the inside and outside and a small kitchen space you couldn’t swing a cat in. But it’s cute and warm enough inside to take my jacket off on this cold winters day.
Whilst the three staff members are all Thai, the menu is a mish mash of pan asian salads and noodle bowls. Mirroring the size of the place, the menu is equally compact with 4 noodle dishes, 5 salads and 2 snacks. This is the likely reason many a passerby might dismiss this place. A small menu with no distinct direction wouldn’t usually catch my eye either.
Amongst the interestingly named salads are the ‘Coco-Wow’, a king prawn, rockmelon and pepita salad with coconut-wasabi dressing. The ‘Hun-Bastard’ is made up of poached chicken breast, cashew nuts, ginger, seeded mustard.
The noodle dishes carry less obscure names but are equally non loyal to any specific origin. ‘Juice Belly’ is a delicious sounding 4hr stewed pork belly in light soy sauce with fragrance from Bang Tang’s herbal cart, which separates the inside from the outside space. The ‘Soba’ is a cold Japanese soba noodle salad with crispy chicken, pickled daikon, nori, light soy and sesame and is served dry.
After a quick consultation with staff I’m advised the Tom Yum is the winning dish on the menu. “But is it substantial?, “ I want to know. “Yes! It’s filling and also a bit spicy, is that ok?” I get from the owner. Indeed it is. What I get is a flavour packed bowl of a well balanced thick broth, stacked with herbs and poached chicken, cherry tomatoes and some silky sheets of flat rice noodles that come rolled up in the bowl. There’s salty fish sauce, sweetness, fragrance from galangal and lemongrass and lime notes to add tang – and a good touch of chilli. It’s a stunning soup with oodles of flavour. It hasn’t just warmed my belly, but also put a good warming effect of chilli through my palate and my lips. 🔥
A cooling relief comes from an Egyptian ice tea I ordered. It’s a bright red liquid derived from boiling hibiscus flowers that is tart and a little tangy with sugar to add some sweetness.
A sweet little café that’s a little pan asian in its identity. If the tom yum soup is anything to go by, I’ll be back here to test drive the other dishes very soon.
The short and sweet:
THE GOOD BITS: Eat in, take away or order online – it’s quick. A bit of an insiders favourite with the locals.
THE NOT SO GOOD BITS: Only a handful of seats
STANDOUT DISH: Tom Yum Soup with buckets of flavour
COST PER HEAD: $20 for a bowl of soup and Egyptian Ice Tea
Location: 50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point NSW