While you might not know the name Annita Potter, there’s a chance you would have eaten her food – especially if you’re a fan of Thai food. Potter was executive chef at David Thompson’s lauded Long Chim, and before that worked at a number of the Thai-food legend’s restaurants around the globe, including the award-wining Nahn in Bangkok. She also briefly had a pop-up in Macquarie Street’s heritage Mint building.
It’s these skills she brings to her latest project, Viand, which operates two nights a week, Tuesday and Wednesdays, at Darlinghurst restaurant Almond Bar. “The Almond Bar’s [Sharon Salloum and sister Carol] and I have decided to run it long term, which will definitely take us into next year. We are all enjoying this win-win situation at the moment of sharing spaces, helping each other out and bringing that feeling of support to each other in these mad times,” Potter tells Broadsheet.
The talented chef is making some of the more interesting Thai food in Sydney – detailed and exacting dishes packed with flavours and nuances. She says it’s a time-consuming process, but if you’re looking for food that’s much more refined than the ubiquitous suburban stuff we’ve come accustomed to, you’ll be grateful for her attention to detail. This is even despite some of the ingredients not being as readily available as they were before Covid struck.
“It’s a pain in the arse to cook Thai food, but I love it. You just need so much stuff,” she says laughing. “My partner is constant asking me to cook Thai food and I am like, ‘No, I don’t have four hours’.”
Because Potter is only doing two dinners a week, it’s a set menu – eight courses for $120. “A canapé, an entree, then a flurry of main dishes accompanied by jasmine rice perfumed with pandanus leaves, then dessert and always a little sweet treat to finish,” she says.
Dishes change constantly but you could get a bundle of crisp noodles topped with slipper lobster, coriander and pickled garlic on a spoon to enthusiastically slide into your mouth. There’s a palate-cleaning mussel-and-mushroom broth, followed by braised beef brisket with peanuts and pickled ginger, and perhaps stir-fried cuttlefish with ink garlic shoots and crisp garlic. Green chicken curry it ain’t.
This is matched well with a succinct but expertly matched-to-the-food wine list.
Potter has plans to launch a cooking school soon, where she’ll offer Sunday classes including lunch and wine, so watch her socials for more details.