Cooking Thai food without a wok is not easy. But for Naphachama “Nokie” Hongsakaola, head chef at modern Thai restaurant Mimi, it’s all in a day’s work.
Hongsakaola has a background in French food, so in fact the Western style kitchen she inherited when Mimi moved into the Stuart Street space at the end of 2018 suits her.
Mimi subverts expectations of what a Thai restaurant should be. At first glance, typical Thai flavours such as galangal, coconut milk and chilli take their rightful place on the seasonal menu. On closer inspection, the dishes are a little off-kilter.
The classic Isan (northern Thai) dish som tum (green papaya salad) is topped with a (secret) sauce that’s more subtle than its traditional counterpart. The Crying Tiger, or seua rong hai, (sliced sirloin steak with a spicy sauce) features the unusual inclusions of fennel and cucumber. Even the Thai green curry strays from tradition: the curry is served more as a sauce atop slices of chicken, and is accompanied by grilled broccolini and eggplant. There’s also red curry with confit duck leg, Coffin Bay oysters served in tangy nahm jim sauce (green-chilli dressing with lime juice), and pad thai topped with slabs of fried tofu.
There’s also a pan-fried salmon with a kimchi and tom yum broth. The salmon has crispy skin and goes well with the slightly sour, slightly salty broth of the tom yum. And the oiliness of the salmon suits the kimchi.
A weekend-only brunch menu includes Thai basil and chilli omelette, poached eggs with edamame and avocado, an egg and bacon bun, and a selection of pastries. Five Senses coffee is available all day, and South Australian wines are aplenty.
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