Coming back from Sydney city, back to Cremorne one warm evening, our attention was caught by a bustling restaurant, just off Military Rd, Papaya. It's large bi-fold windows were open, allowing the pungent aromas of delicious Thai food to waft down the street. Once we smelt the spicy goodness, we had to check it out. The place was packed and we didn't have a booking so we thought we would miss out, but as soon as we stepped inside, the lovely, smiling waitress said 'table for two?' and showed us straight to what I think was the last table left in the house.
The restaurant is decked out in both traditional and modern decor. The roof is slatted with planks of wood, which reminded me very much of the black bamboo roof at Gingerboy in Melbourne. The most eye catching piece though at the very modern Chandeliers which have been purchased from the very posh design store down the road.
The menu and food at Papaya isn't just your standard 'local Thai' dishes, it's a bit more modern than that and the dishes are all thoughtfully and creatively presented. There are so many great choices on the menu, that we seemed to spend forever trying to decide on what to order.
First up we decided on the Prawn Cakes, which were served with a sweet chilli sauce. The cakes were perfectly cooked, golden and crunchy on the outside and just cooked prawn meat on the inside, delicious!
Next up we ordered a couple of mains to share. Pad Thai was the first served. It came on a big plate, wrapped in a big, crunchy omelette. On the side was lemon, little piles of sugar, peanuts and chilli, with some bean shoots. I thought this was a great way to present the old favourite, Pad Thai. The extras on the side made it possible to adjust the flavours to your own taste. We really loved this dish, it was great!
The next main was Red Duck Curry with Lychees, served in a hollowed out pineapple half. The curry was quite spicy, but the Lychees helped tame down the stronger flavours as did the juice that must have been seeping into the curry from the pineapple half. The duck was perfectly cooked and had a perfectly soft texture.
We loved Papaya, so much that we went back for a second time before we left Sydney. As far as price goes, for Thai food, it's not cheap, but for really good quality fresh food, that's really tasty, it's not expensive. Mains were about $18 and entrees about $8.
The service was fantastic both times we visited, the girls were always smiling and always made sure our water was kept topped up - even when they were rushed off their feet!
Papaya is definitely worth checking out if your near Cremorne, it's damn good Thai food, and that's saying something coming from me, especially since I've been doing the Ezard Challenge, I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about!