When good friends Damien and Jade said they would be in town I thought it would be a crime not to at least have a beer with them. We decided a bite to eat and a few drinks were in order. I thought about where to go and ended up settling on Spice I Am as Damien had on a few occasions attempted to get a table but missed out for some reason or another. Lex and I got there ahead of time and seeing how busy it was put our names down and were told we’d have a 30-45 minute wait which suited us, so we walked across the road to the pub to have a drink while we waited for Damien and Jade’s train to arrive.
Fried fish balls with peanut chilli dressing ($7.90).
I had fried fish cakes in my head, so with that in mind I made sure we ordered the fried fish balls. When they came out I realised what I had done but it was too late. Oh well, while they weren’t bad in any way I just found them too bland. Being that they are the frozen fish balls lightly battered and deep fried you still cannot get past the processed flavour. The peanut chilli dressing was tops and there was enough of the sauce to cover up most of the blandness.
Deep fried snapper with green mango salad ($25.90).
We were wanting to try something a little different and it was the deep fried whiting that caught our eye, but when we went to order the waitress advised it would be too small to share between the four of us and instead suggested the snapper. The whole snapper arrived with excited looks on all our faces – a whole snapper deep fried, topped with a mountain of salad and a shot glass of sauce to the side was a sight to see. Lex went about pouring the whole shot glass over the top and it was ready. Beautifully crisp skin and soft fresh flesh contrasted well, while the amazing green mango salad was reminiscent of green papaya salad and was brought to the same heights with the fiery chilli and fish sauce infusion. With such a chilli kick this was a joy to eat.
Chicken pad see ew ($13.90).
Pad See Ew has recently become Lex and my mainstay noodle stir fry dish, so evidently it had to be ordered. While beef is generally the meat of choice having beef in the mussaman we felt we needed some chicken so the pad see ew got the poultry treatment. Just as I imagined the stir fry was terrific, the see ew dum with its sweet saltiness and the flat rice noodles fried with the egg to give it the distinct pad see ew flavour. Light and crunchy greens rounded off the salty noodles and the chicken just carried all of the flavours so well without interfering too much.
Pad prik king crispy pork belly ($17.90).
A pork belly stir-fry gets me every time, even after having an occasional sub-par rendition I always find myself ordering it none the less. Nice cubes of the pork belly arrived with a nice garnish of deep fried basil leaves that were such a brilliant dark green. I had no hesitation jumping in first to get right into it while it was still piping hot. The rich spicy sauce was wonderful on the palate and the pork was insanely crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. It immediately became my all time favourite crispy pork belly and I couldn’t have been happier.
Beef mussaman ($17.90).
Our mussaman had three giant pieces of beef that were so tender it took two pieces of cutlery to lift them out of the bowl without them just falling apart there and then. A superbly done curry with that lovely blend of sweet, sour and salt made the creamy potatoes and lightly crunchy peanuts perfectly at home. Although by this stage we were all getting quite full it was the mussaman that was the last dish to arrive and the first dish to disappear.
It had been a while since Lex and I were last at Spice I Am and it was just as good this time as last. Damien and Jade were quite happy to have finally got a table and experienced this little ‘diner’. Next on the list is Sujet Saenkham’s ‘House – Thai northeast street food’ restaurant just down the road hanging off the back of the Three Aces Pub.
Spice I Am
90 Wentworth Avenue
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9280 0928
Spice I Am Website