It’s amazing how perceptions change over time as we broaden our food horizons. Perceptions change on the quality of the food, service and the price. From our latest experience at River Kwai, it was the latter. Helen and I had eaten here many many years ago, at a time when a $20 meal felt expensive us. Therefore it was no surprise that we had thought River Kwai was beyond pricey, especially for a restaurant located in Clayton. As it turns out, fate would bring us back here again. It felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders this time, because our thoughts on food prices has changed, and we were able to enjoy this restaurant for what it is!
Our vague memories of River Kwai were that they had good food, but in saying so, what we thought was good food back then could be a very different story now. Luckily the food is still top notch! We were greeted with some complimentary prawn crackers with peanut dipping sauce. Don’t be mistaken that these are your average Chinese takeaway prawn crackers, the ones they had here were next level! Huge prawn flavour explosion in the mouth with the sweetness of the peanut sauce to round it up, definitely the best I’ve had. Then it was onto the paid goods…
We started off with the beef curry puff and was not disappointed. The beef was flavoured beautifully and the pastry was loose and crispy. The chicken Tom Yum soup followed and the acidic to sweet balance was perfect. I personally could have done with more spice, but it was perfect for Helen. All hyped up from the entrees, we were eager to dive into the mains.
The mains we ordered were the prawn Pad Thai, Gang Phet Ped Yang (duck red curry) and the Pla Neung Manow (steamed whole barramundi). If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for Pad Thai! If it’s on the menu, I’m usually getting it. This one from River Kwai was awesome! The ingredients were fresh and it wasn’t overly sweet like a lot I’ve had in the past. Just look at how fresh those bean shoots look in the photo! The duck red curry was just as good, the snow peas were still crunchy and the curry itself had great smoothness and consistency. This curry went really well with the Pad Thai, but next time I’ll get some coconut rice too to see which I prefer.
And now it’s time for the dish we were most excited about…. the steamed barramundi! Sadly all good things must come to an end.. *sigh*. Dammit! We were nearly there… I had not given 5/5 in a long time and the barramundi was the last hurdle. Unfortunately the steamed barramundi was not very good at all. The sauce was way too sweet for my liking, and the barramundi itself was not that fresh. The fish was missing that bouncy texture which fresh barramundi gives, and my suspicions were that the fish may have been frozen for too long.
Such a shame, it was almost the perfect meal. 5 great dishes out of 6 is still a ratio most restaurants can only dream of. Would we come back? You bet we will. River Kwai is easily the best Thai restaurant in the area. The crazy thing is that we felt the prices were really reasonable this time. Let this be a lesson to y’all… never eat at any restaurant where you’d be uncomfortable with the prices. This will not only affect your whole dining experience, but it can also make you not appreciate a great restaurant.
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 3/1310 Centre Rd, Clayton South VIC 3169
Phone: +61 3 9545 5688