Address: 285 Main Street, Lilydale 3140
Phone: 03 9739 6224
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 17:00-23:00
Foodie Partner: Tomi & Kate
**Disclaimer**: This is Tomi’s family restaurant and I dined in courtesy of Ahaan Thai.
If you live in the suburbs towards Lilydale area, chances of finding a proper authentic Thai restaurant is almost like finding a needle in the haystack really!
Lilydale is what many people call the sticks, but no you wont see kangaroos or koalas unless you drive further on to Healesville.
If you follow my food blog you’ll all know that one of my frequent dining partner is my bro Tomi. No, Tomi and I aren’t blood related, we just happen to have known each other for almost 13-14 years now, and we’re like brothers and sisters. He calls me a turd and picks on me like every brother would, but would also protect me when people are bullying me :D Plus showering me with gifts every so often :D
So knowing Tomi for such a long time, you would think that I’d be a frequent diner at Ahaan Thai! But no, I haven’t even visited it once. So after much nagging and complaining to Tomi, he finally decided to drive me and his GF Kate to his family restaurant for some Thai food!
Ahaan Thai has been opened since 1989, and still going very strong whilst their competitors have closed down and replaced with other restaurants. What Ahaan Thai does well is that they listen to their customers.
When Ahaan Thai first opened their food was very authentic (Still is), but it didn’t really suit the palettes of the general population of Lilydale. So over the years they modified the dishes so that it suited the palettes, but still keeping it as authentic as possible.
The moment I stepped in I was greeted by the warm smile of one of the waitress dressed in traditional Thai outfit.
Since Tomi’s family owns the restaurant, Tomi knew exactly where to sit, so he ushered us to our table. As I walked over to the table I dawdled to admire the different ornaments in the restaurants. One of them being a tapestry of a golden dragon! It looked so amazing! I also love the little kneeling statue that told us our table number.
Ahaan Thai is a BYO restaurant, so we were able to bring our own drinks. We stopped by Coles nearby to grab some drinks, and Tomi let me choose my favourite drink – Rekorderlig! Yay!
I was super surprised to find the Mango-Raspberry cider drink available, because not many of the Coles I’ve been to has it in stock.
Back earlier in the year I went to a rooftop bar with my manager and we both tried the Premium mango-raspberry cider in the can form but we didn’t like it. However this time when I tried it, I actually enjoyed it! I don’t know why but I felt that I was able to taste the mango flavour unlike last time. Strangely enough I ended up enjoying the drink a lot more than the strawberry-lime cider which has been my favourite of all time?! hmm taste changes I suspect :P
To start off with we each ordered a soup of our own to have. Two Tom Yum Goong with prawns and one Tom Kar Gai.
So when the soup arrived I knew I wanted to have the Tom Yum Goong, but because I’ve never had Tom Kar Gai before I wanted to try it as well. Luckily Tomi and Kate spoils me and they allowed me to try it first before deciding which bowl I wanted to have.
The Tom Kar Gai is a heavier soup than the Tom Yum Goong because of the coconut milk, giving it a rich and creamy taste. The Tom Kar Gai comes with chicken pieces, grass mushrooms, baby corn and a huge punch of lemongrass flavour! There’s definitely no skimping on flavours here for sure!
In the end I decided to go for the Tom Yum Goong as I preferred a lighter soup and I love my prawns! Like the Tom Kar Gai, this does not lack in lemongrass flavour. Also the prawns were cooked to perfection, and I totally love the grass mushrooms in the soup! I love my mushrooms!
I’m so very glad that Tomi ordered the entrees because these were fabulous.
First off I started with the Thai Fish Cakes! The fish cakes were firm and had strong flavours in lemongrass and fish.
I then I started on the Satay Chicken Skewers with the peanut satay sauce and after that I pretty much went to heaven. </ blog post> (LOL sorry being a HTML geek)
The peanut satay sauce was so rich and full of peanut flavour that I could have just eaten the satay chicken for the whole meal and be completely content! Apparently the customers actually walk in and order 10lt of peanut satay sauce to take home. If you told me that before I visited I would have thought you were crazy, but after tasting it myself, I wouldn’t mind if Tomi gave me a bucket to take home. I would be eating it everyday LOL. And the reason why this Satay sauce is better than the other satay sauce out there? Well a lot of satay sauce i’ve had, the peanut oil separates from the satay sauce and you end up having yellow liquid leaking out and it doesn’t really look appetizing. However here at Ahaan Thai, the satay sauce is so rich that there was little to no liquid oozed out! that’s how good it was!
Needless to say I didn’t even bother using the sweet chilli sauce. I dipped the fried wontons, springrolls and the beef balls into the remaining satay sauce. Well ok, I did dip a bit into the sweet chilli but ended up going back to the satay sauce haha :) love it. The spring rolls are handmade and taste really fresh. As for the fried wontons the skin was fried till it was golden crisp.
As for the deep fried beef balls, I think it actually tasted better with the sweet chilli sauce even though I love the peanut satay sauce I just think it paired better with the sweet chilli!
OH EM GEE! Can you see the peanut satay sauce?! *goes into a satay sauce coma* haha
Next up the Thai green curry. I must say I really accustomed to Japanese curry that when I eat Thai curry my brain can’t comprehend the richness of curry because of the coconut milk used. However, I’m starting to broaden my palette and eating different curries, but at the end of the day I would happily eat curry katsu don over thai curry any day!
Here at Ahaan Thai, their curry is loaded with heaps of vegetables (Carrots, bamboo shoots and green beans), and lots of meat. As the portions at Ahaan Thai are so big, I ended up getting to take away the curry home for the next night’s dinner! Actually we ordered so much I took a lot of food home! I really loved eating the curry in the cool Thai metallic rice bowls, rather than eating it out of the normal ceramic bowls.
Whilst I loved eating the rotti bread with the peanut satay sauce, I must say dipping the rotti bread into the curry was heavenly. nomnom.
The flakey roti bread and satay sauce. Need I say more!?
The uber cool rice bowls! Makes me feel like royalty really =.=;
By the time the next three dishes came I was pretty much full =_=;
The next dish we had was the Moo Pad Gratiam Priktiam, which is the stir fried bbq pork. This is a sweet tasting stir fried dish. This is best eaten with rice as having it on its own maybe slightly too rich in flavour.
Personally I hate eating dishes with garlic, but luckily this dish did not have a strong garlic taste and had a slight peppery taste.
If I remember correctly this dish is one of Tomi’s favourite dishes. What I do love about this dish is the flower cut out using a chilli! Love the small intricate details!
Ahhh… The Pla Lard Khing is such a heart warming dish. The fish fillet is deep fried and then stir fried in a ginger sauce with heaps of veges like chinese cabbage, celery, cauliflower, carrots, capsicum etc.
The vegetables are so fresh and I just love how vibrant this dish looks. Such an array of colours!
If you like ginger then this dish is for you! Which is definitely for me because I love eating ginger during winter as it really helps warm up the body :)
Ok, I was pretty much full that I could barely move an inch in my comfy seat, but I HAD to eat some of the salad that night. Why? I love my Naem Sod. It’s probably my favourite Thai Salad that I would happily eat!
So much that I’ve even asked Tomi’s mother to teach me how to make it – I’m trying to get Tomi to arrange a lesson, so hopefully when he arranges one, I might be able to blog about my cooking lesson :D
Anyway, this Naem Sod has been modified slightly so that it’s not spicy as many of the patrons of Ahaan Thai cannot take chilli. But according to Tomi Ahaan Thai makes a mean Naem Sod, which is super spicy. I gotta ask for a much spicier version next time, but this was great as it is. This dish has the perfect amount of sourness and I have to say I would happily eat bowls of this with rice any day!
Ok… whilst I was so full, I still had the stomach for dessert. I could not have possibly left Ahaan Thai without trying out their Kao Tom Mud which is their sticky rice with banana. I’ve heard Tomi rave about it for a while that I made sure that I tried it.
The sticky rice with banana arrived hot and together with the cold vanilla ice cream is pure bliss. In my life time I’ve had so many sticky rice desserts, but never have I came across a sticky rice dessert with banana so it was new to me, and needless to say I enjoyed this dessert!
The sticky rice actually went well with the banana. If you’ve had banana fritters before, the texture of the banana in this sticky rice is very much like the banana inside the banana fritter. Very gooey! Yum.
So is this Thai restaurant worth the travel to Lilydale? Of course – whilst the menu has been modified to suit the taste of the population of Lilydale, this restaurant has been in business for 20+ years and still running strong. The food is authentic, the decor makes you feel like you’re in Thailand and the staff there is friendly (Just don’t walk into the kitchen! :P Tomi walked into the kitchen and he almost got shooed out. Little did the employee know that Tomi is the young master there! haha #awkward)