Unless you’re rocking up on a rainy day or at 11pm, expect a queue outside Nana Thai-Style Hotpot and BBQ on Bourke Street. You’ll be rewarded with some of the city’s best Thai dishes – some lesser known.
Nuttanan “Mint” Lohayanjaree and Panta “Wan” Thanapaisan both grew up in Thailand but settled in Melbourne after moving here for their studies. Visiting their home country often means enjoying mookata – a hotpot-barbeque hybrid featuring a ring of soup boiling around a grill plate. In 2018 they launched their own dinner-only pop-up, where diners could get a feel for what mookata is all about, before opening this restaurant in 2020.
The menu features the signature mookata and plenty of dishes from the country’s north-east. It includes moo joom, a herb-heavy Thai hotpot where you cook your proteins and vegetables over portable stoves brought to your table. It’s the same deal for the mookata, with the golden grill and moat of soup also fired by the stove. Grease the barbeque with a block of pork fat, then cook your meats and seafood (pork neck, belly and liver, bacon, prawn, and calamari). The clear, salty broth is for the noodles, vegetables, enoki mushroom and egg.
There are also more than a dozen varieties of som tum, or papaya salad – from plain and simple to versions with fermented fish paste, raw prawn and raw blue crab. Be sure to heed the warning printed on every page – it does get spicy.
The drinks list includes Thai milk tea (a sweet and strong drink made with different spices) and “pink milk” flavoured with syrup from a Southeast Asian palm fruit called salacca – both good options when you’re hit with too much chilli. Beers are all Thai, with Singha, Chang and Leo represented, alongside soft drinks and a simple Thai lemon iced tea.
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