If you were someone who didn’t know how to cook, opening a restaurant might not feel like the most sensible career move. But that’s exactly what Phatsachon Ritnayom, known as Tiki, has done.

Living in Semaphore Park for 15 years, Tiki says she was disappointed by a lack of authentic Thai food near her. “I thought that would be amazing if I could have a little cafe, walk in, feel nice and welcome and have real Thai food,” Tiki tells Broadsheet.

So, with help from chef Jukkit Suwannakhot, Tiki (who previously worked in remedial massage) jumped into her first experience in hospitality and is loving it so far.

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“In the beginning I had a lot of problems because I didn’t know how to cook and being honest, I don’t like cooking, but I do like challenging myself,” she says.

Having faced the challenge head-on, Tiki’s gamble is paying off, and Tiki’s Thai Cuisine, her eponymous restaurant, has earnt a loyal following since opening in February.

The menu has traditional Thai offerings, like aromatic tom yum soup and classic pad thai. Larger dishes include curries, rice and noodle specials. To start, you can’t go past the crispy bao with crunchy pork belly, pickled cucumber, crushed peanuts, fresh chilli and herbs; it’s a sure-fire contender for best bao in the western suburbs. The buffalo chicken wings with Asian zing sauce are finger-licking good.

For Tiki, she’s happy to have created a place that’s “simple, but not simple” with the greenery-filled Military Road space becoming the perfect laid-back spot for date night or a relaxed family meal. “This place is a simple building but when you come in and have our food, you have to come back.”

Tiki’s Thai Cuisine is available for takeaway or dine-in, with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s licensed, so you can enjoy your meal with a Singha lager, wine or non-alcoholic offerings including Thai milk tea or lychee juice.

Tiki’s Thai Cuisine
5/292 Military Road, Semaphore Park

Tues to Sun 5:30pm–9:30pm