Ah Chat Thai, you’ve done it again!
After enjoying our meal at Assamm while walking home, that commercial tag-line “Ah McCain, you’ve done it again!” kept playing through my mind. But this time it went ‘Ah Chat Thai, you’ve done it again’! Or should it be ‘Ah Chanta, you’ve done it again!?’
Coming on down to the basement of the QVB for lunch, it reminded me of my childhood. Back in the early 90s my parents used to have a shop in the QVB, and each lunch-time I’d follow my mum down to LG2 to grab takeaway for the family (our parents used to make us kids come out to the shop each Saturday). So I have these fond memories of how the entire LG2, from the escalators down from LG1, to the kink in the basement which leads to Sydney Central Plaza – this whole area used to be a food court. Do you remember those days?
But fast forward 25+ years, and we’re back again on LG2 for lunch, looking forward to trying Assamm for the first time – a restaurant a part of the highly successful Chat Thai group, founded by the legendary Amy Chanta.
After we were seated without much of a wait, the first impression of the ambience of the place was that it felt a little cave-like, due to the dark interior, lower ceiling, bare concrete/brick walls, dark wooden floor boards, and the industrial style lights. Paired with the some-what unremarkable tables & chairs, and the simple table setting, our first impression was initially lukewarm at best. But as we went through the extensive menu, I soon forgot the surroundings, and my mind spun with all the options, there were so many! However in my mind, I kept thinking, where is Assamm trying to position itself among all the other Thai restaurants in Sydney? Let alone its position within the Chat Thai group?
When you check out the menu, you’ll agree with us that the menu is really quite extensive. We took our time going through the dishes, trying to pair this dish with that, as we had intended to share. But after a while (methinks at least 10 minutes after we had sent the waitress away for the second time), we still couldn’t decide on what we’d like to share as there were so many different combinations, so much so that we ended up ordering our own dishes. Haha.
On this day we had intended to have Japanese/ramen for lunch, but that restaurant was packed out. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a ramen dish on the menu, so I went with the Bamee Phu which was ramen served with wontons, char siu, and crab meat. I know! Like what the? A Japanese-Chinese dish at a Thai restaurant? And this further confused me with which segment of the restaurant market Assamm was trying to fill.
But when our food arrived, things started to become clearer. My ramen wonton noodle soup was something special! Completely unique! The soup stood out as it was both sweet and salty; the filling in my wontons had an interesting texture and was full of flavour; the char siu was tender and thick sliced, the crab meat was genuine crab meat flesh from a crab leg (as it had that salty taste which only comes from intact fresh crab!), while the herbs were the star of this dish, bringing Thai flavours to an otherwise pretty Chinesey/Japanesey dish. However the ramen noodles weren’t my preferred type (it was the thin variety when my personal preference is the thicker variety) but it was still good all the same.
While my wife had the Sukho Thai Noodles ( a more standard Thai dish), but her verdict was that it was on par with other Thai restaurant’s offering of this dish, but the difference was that Assamm’s serving size was much larger, and the ingredients were fresher, resulting in a more satisfying experience.
So as I enjoyed my meal, it was clear to me now where it was positioned in the dining market. Assamm was filling the market space as a ‘one stop’ shop for your Asian food fix! My dish a perfect example of this coming together of a Japanese/Chinese dish, but now enhanced by Thai herbs and flavours – each ingredient fresher and a notch above the rest. So why not come down to a restaurant which meets all of your Asian cravings, ideal for any group who just can’t decide on Thai or Japanese or Chinese, Assamm presents Asia! Something for everyone’s taste and given mood.
Ah Chat Thai/Amy Chanta, you’ve done it again! 4.5 stars from us.
Assamm- Sunday 4 November (4.0 stars)
PH: ((02) 8317 4918
Lower Ground 2, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street, Sydney NSW
Sun-Wed 11am – 8pm
Thurs 11am – 9.30pm
Fri-Sat 11am – 9pm