It took just six weeks for the owners of Saigon Sally to transform the space from a playful Vietnamese diner into BKK, a warm but polished Thai restaurant in the backstreets of Windsor.

The big central bar remains, but the colourful mural is gone, replaced with textured white walls and backlit ’80s glass bricks.

“Saigon Sally was still a busy restaurant but we felt after five years it was running its race in this spot,” says co-owner Simon Blacher. “It definitely has legs somewhere else. We think it could work in the city or maybe interstate.”

The Commune Group (also owners of Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina and Neptune) has enlisted Sean Judd as BKK’s head chef. He previously worked at Nahm (in Bangkok) and Longrain.

“Every sauce, every paste that goes into the food is made in-house,” says Judd. “Right down to the Sriracha – we pickle the chillies and make the sauce ourselves."

Almost all Judd’s shareable dishes are medium sized, with the exception of two bigger plates – a coconut braised lamb shoulder with cucumber relish, and a whole crispy fish with nam jim talay (a chilli lime and sugar sauce).

Blacher and Judd are unanimous on their favourite new dish: pork skewers with a condensed milk glaze.

“I wouldn’t go past the grilled beef salad, or the grilled eggplant with tamarind for that matter,” Blacher adds.

“The spicy mushroom salad with roasted rice is also great,” Judd says.

Save enough room for dessert, which includes chilli sugar doughnuts with palm sugar custard.

Cocktails have names inspired by Bangkok International Airport – the restaurant itself is named for the airport code BKK – including the Boarding Pass with Belvedere, Esprit de Figues, watermelon juice and yuzu; and the Terminal 21 with Tromba tequila, raspberry puree, egg white and agave.

"Our cocktails are designed for eating – they're not super boozy and instead contain flavours designed to compliment the menu," says Blacher.

Bottomless Brunch begins at midday every Sunday. Bottoms up.

BKK
2 Duke Street, Windsor
(03) 9533 2342

Hours
Wed to Sat 5pm–late
Sunday 12pm–late

bkkrestaurant.com.au