Chalawan is the common name for 47 Ursae Majoris. That’s a yellow dwarf star about 46 light-years away from Earth that forms part of the constellation Ursa Major. The star was given its name in honour of the Crocodile King, a figure in Thai mythology who possessed a set of giant diamond teeth.
It’s also a little cocktail bar on Smith Street, the first Australian outlet for a group of restaurateurs behind Bangkok venues Hyde and Seek, Peek-A-Boo and Smith in Bangkok. Designed by Studio Equator, Chalwan is built around a central bar decked in marble and turquoise tiles. A cavern-like scaffolding construction pulls the room together.
Cocktails are the main attraction, most of which are served with a Thai inflection, such as with pandan, toddy palm, kaffir lime, fresh turmeric and chilli.
The dinner menu is contemporary Thai via modern techniques such as sous vides and brining. A khao soi gae, for instance, is a slow-roasted lamb shoulder in a Northern Thai curry, served over handmade black-rice tagliatelle. There’s also a smoked pork belly, supplied by neighbours Meatsmith, served with caramelised stone fruit and a crisp rice cake, and a homemade sausage with young-chilli relish.
The menu highlights Australian ingredients, and recipes have been adapted to suit local produce.