Having worked behind the scenes in some of Sydney’s best Asian dining spots – namely Ms G’s, Spice I Am and Mr Wong – Bangkok-born chef Pla Rojratanavichai requires no introduction for his first Thai venture, Khao Pla (meaning rice and fish). This black and white-themed kitchen, though cosy in size, is invigorated by a vibrant collage of Thailand’s street culture on the wall.
With 90s hip-hop artists like Notorious B.I.G. and Nas playing in the background, the signature here is the twice-cooked tamarind pork ribs with palm sugar – get ready for sticky fingers. The eclectic raw section is a standout, with delicate sea scallop sashimi with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf (Pra hoy dib), while other sections of the menu feature wok-fried pippies with chilli jam and Thai basil (Pad hoy Lai) and crisp soft shell crab with tom yum spice salt. Thai classics also appear. Think slow-cooked, sweetly fragrant massamun beef curry, spiced with cinnamon and star anise, complemented by a side of soft roti.
Desserts are promising, with black sticky rice with a dish of jasmine tapioca, dark sugarcane sauce and Thai milk tea ice cream a clear winner.