Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach is known for it’s soft white sands, beach goers, surfers and hamburgers rather than a destination for food lovers.
But new cafes, restaurants and luxury apartments have sprung in this beach side suburb to perhaps herald a dose of new zeal into its food and beach culture.
Thai food may not be the first thing one that comes to mind about Bondi beach but we are with our friend Marcus, a Thai food lover looking to satisfy his cravings.
Nina’s Ploy Thai has been one of Bondi’s longest running restaurants. There has been newer restaurants along Campbell Parade that have come and gone but this casual eatery has proven to be a stayer with its simple food that reminds of the street fare of Bangkok. I have been here for dinner where the place is packed with local slurping up its famous duck noodles.
We rock up on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for an early lunch. The restaurant is practically empty and it’s not hard to deduce that most of the local might be laying on the beach soaking up the sun.
I’m not sure why a plate of drunk noodles is so called but its smoky wok aromas mixed with fragrant basil leaves are very enticing.
A couple on the next table is having a plate each to themselves so this dish seems like a worthy suggestion by the chef.
A fried rice with chicken is a good staple to satisfy the hunger pangs.
These kind of standard dishes are hard to go wrong in a casual eatery that has been around for so long and I figure this must be the reason for locals to keep coming back – cheap and cheerful, tasty and satisfying.
Though the stir-fry noodles and fried rice are pretty good, we are really here to get a dose of the duck noodles which this place is so famous for.
The special duck noodles arrive in a dark, heady broth with star anise and cinnamon flavours topped with slivers of duck meat, coriander and shallots. These noodles are delicious and immediately transports me to the streets of Bangkok.
The duck boat noodles is only small but this gritty and irony bowl of goodness is what many people come here for.
Rice vermicelli and bits of vegetables are swimming in a peppery and spicy broth. Two pieces of golden brown, crispy pork rind are thrown in for good measure.
A plate of deep-fried mussels might be Thailand’s answer to a Malaysian or Singapore style stir-fried oyster omelette or oluak. The batter is light and crispy to soak up a sweet spicy chilli sauce.
This restaurant is located at the northern end of Bondi beach and is open for lunch only on weekends but it is the dinner sessions that are popular with the locals.
The smoky wok aromas of those drunk noodles would entice me back but I think many come here for a dose of the gritty duck boat noodles soup.
One can also burn off the calories with a few laps in the rock pool at the southern end of Bondi beach after a meal.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite Thai restaurant in Sydney and if so, what is your favourite dish there?
Nina’s Ploy Thai
132 Wairoa Avenue
New South Wales
Tel : +61 2 9365 1118
Business hours: Lunch Saturday and Sunday, dinner daily.