I had Xanadu blaring at full volume as I roared down the Canning Highway in my Holden Astra.
Stopped at the lights, windows down, I got strange looks from a truck driver and a big hairy bloke who looked like an extra from Planet of the Apes, but I didn’t care – it was my little tribute to Olivia Newton-John.
I was en route to Rym Tarng, a new eatery at the Bicton Central Shopping Centre, which specialises in dishes inspired by Thai street food.
Two dads from my kids school said it was a massive step up from the old kebab shop there, so I was keen to give it a try.
Rym Tarng is tiny and there were very noisy roadworks directly outside, so I opted for a takeaway.
In fact the owner had the door locked for some reason, maybe to keep me out or to block the dust.
Anyway, the inside of the place looked very smart – restrained and demure with classy fittings and tables. So if you can grab a seat, go for it.
The menu was small too, but had all the old favourites covered – green curry chicken, massaman beef curry, pad Thai, chicken satay – along with some specials (marinated pork jowl with local mushrooms, and whole fish of the day).
I didn’t mind the menu being on the small side if the dishes were well executed, and there was enough twists and turns (Choo Chee prawn, pork and prawn donut, papaya salad) to keep punters interested and coming back for more.
After my first mouthful of beef massaman ($24) I knew it was going to be a winner.
The thick sauce was first class; a rich mix of braised beef and shallots with the peanuts giving it a slightly sweet refrain.
It lived up to its street food monicker with massive chunks of beef, sweet potato and a whole shallot.
This was no effete, over-priced guff, but a hearty serve full of flavour.
The braised beef was tender with that slightly smoky taste, and went well with the steamed jasmine rice ($3.50).
Across the table, my wife ‘Special K’ was getting fired into her green curry chicken ($24).
The staff member advised it was pretty hot, so I got the mild incarnation.
“The sauce is amazing – thick and moreish with a lovely spicy kick,” she enthused. “I love the Thai eggplant and the coconut isn’t overdone, with just the right trace off sweetness. A top dish with really tender chicken.”
After a busy week at school, Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles were enjoying their chicken pad Thai ($18.50).
It really came to life when you squeezed the lime over the top, coaxing out the flavours from the soft chicken and the bean sprouts.
I understand Rym Tarng have a former chef from the Perth restaurant Long Chim, which I recently reviewed and loved, and I could detect the same quality and depth of flavour in these dishes.
It’s great that Bicton Central Shopping Centre has a place serving up this calibre of food at a decent price, adding to the bourgeoning hub of eateries and shops there.
Over time it might just become the next culinary xanadu…
by STEPHEN POLLOCK
258 Canning Highway, Bicton