Porkfat's Narin “Jack” Kulasai says if he’s going to cook pad thai, he wants to cook the best. Such a statement should come as no surprise – Kulasai is an alumnus of David Thompson’s Long Chim, and like that lauded Sydney Thai restaurant, the offering here is focused and changes regularly – sometimes daily – depending on what’s available at the markets.
Originally from Saraburi in central Thailand, Kulasai's cooking takes in the broad scope of his home country’s regional cuisines. But most of all, he’s creating flavours based on the family- and street-style dishes he remembers from home; making his own curry pastes and sauces, and using 100 per cent palm sugar imported from Thailand. And, as the restaurant’s name suggests, he’s using pork fat as his main cooking fat, a staple of Thai cooking until commercial cooking oil became popular.
Highlights include a deep-fried barramundi with mango salad and plenty of lemongrass, mint and coriander, as well as a Phuket-style curry with tiger prawns and betel leaves. Baked tiger prawn with vermicelli and ginger is also on the menu – Kulasai says the dish takes him back to when he worked at David Thompson’s award-winning restaurant Bangkok restaurant Nahm (Thompson is no longer involved in Nahm).
To drink there’s a selection of Thai beers and a simple wine list, and for dessert a refreshing house-made coconut ice-cream with roasted peanuts, palm seeds and candied pumpkin.
But for Kulasai it’s not just about the food. He wants to “bring everybody to Thailand”, and that comes down to the finer details at Porkfat. This includes the Thai music that plays in the background, and allowing diners to peer into the wok-fired kitchen from the mezzanine level. Dishes are plated up on hand-painted ceramics from Wiang Galong, an ancient city in northern Thailand in the Chiang Rai province, as well as Kulasai’s own personal collection shipped from Thailand.
Gift the experience of Australia's
best restaurants, cafes and bars