Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sumalee reborn

We've been waiting, and waiting since my 25th birthday, for Sumalee to reopen. (We didn't even think we would ever see them open after our near death experience.) Its been over a year before Bank hotel reopened, and another 2months+ for Sumalee to open. So when we saw the review in 9 to 5 magazine for Sumalee, an invite was sent out, time was set and booking was made.

I was supposed to stay back at work on Friday to finish my Performance Appraisal, but Sumalee was calling and I was out of the office 5:15pm on the dot. (I'll do my appraisal on the weekend! hehehe)

So what can I say? I was disappointed by the new Sumalee. More specifically, the ambiance is all wrong. What I loved about the old Sumalee was the fact that you would think you were in Thailand, with the rustic furniture and decorations, thatched roofs offering shade, lanterns and fairy lights giving a warmth to the place. Yes the floor was uneven, sometimes the table slopes, it got cramped when it was busy, but you would not think that you were in Newtown, you would almost believe that you were in Thailand. (Well, after 2 Long Island Teas, 3 Caprioskas and a Ultra Violet, you will think you were in Thailand).

The new Sumalee is modern, chic and....sterile. Too hygienic funnily enough.

Sitting in Bank Hotel's Courtyard

Beware of falling ashes from the people sitting above

The decorations are more simplistic

Alot more spacious than the old Sumalee

This photo is for you Gus

The new Sumalee also provide laminated menus for each table. Whilst this is great in deciding what to order, I miss the MASSIVE blackboard that used to hang by the register with the hand written specials (that rarely ever changed hehehe). The prices are similar to what they used to be, and looking at the other tables, the servings were still huge. So for 6 people, we decided to go with 5 dishes.

One thing to note, the rice is no longer per person. Its per serve. The old Sumalee, you pay $2 per person, and eat rice until you're so bloated you can't move. When we asked for a refill, they bought me a small plate of rice after they took away my gold fish bowl. I asked for the bowl back and they tried to charge me $12 for rice as they assumed we wanted ANOTHER 6 serves of rice. Like OMG, I know we eat a lot, but not THAT much. Look at the size of the bowl!!

Jasmine rice - $2 per serve

Spicy roast duck salad with fresh ginger and cashew nuts - $19

We used to absolutely crave for Sumalee's duck salad, but maybe its the new chef, but I found it was a bit of ginger overload, not enough herbs (I lurrrrrve herbs) and not enough dressing. We always looked forward to scraping every last bit of dressing from the bottom of the plate to enjoy over the steaming hot rice. By the time we go to the bottom of this plate, it was dry as a bone. It was nice, but not the same as the old Sumalee

Chicken breast fillets with Chilli Jam and Cashew Nuts
- $20 for entree, $27 for main

Chicken Chilli Jam was one of the best dishes in Sumalee. Infact, it was the one dish we all knew we wanted to order. And we knew we were going to be fighting over it since Gus the Bus insisted on getting a plate all to himself. So we ordered 2 serves. He still wasn't allowed to have a whole plate to himself!! This was almost as good as it used to be. Some complained it was a bit too sweet, I actually thought it wasn't as sweet as it used to be. We still polished it off anyway. Both plates that is.

"Tom Sab" - Hot and Spicy Pork Rib Hot Pot with Tamarind and Thai Herbs - $22

This was a new dish for us. We usually get Tom Yum Gung, but thought we'd try this one out. The pork ribs were meltingly tender, but the broth lacked the kick that comes with Tom Yum. It was still spicy, but was missing the really nice sour taste and the nam prik pao that makes the Tom Yum Gung special. There was plenty of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal, but not enough mushrooms and tomatoes. I think this was partly to do with all the rich meaty dishes we were ordering. We were desperately craving for some veggies!

Sumalee Special - Roast duck red curry with sweet potatoes

Another one of our favourite dishes that has resurfaced at the new Sumalee. This curry was much much thicker than we're used to, and there was a obvious film of oil floating on top of the curry. The sweet potatoes were tender and the curry was rich and satisfying. I would prefer it to be thinner though so we could eat more. After a few spoonfuls of this, I was feeling like a stuffed turkey.

So overall? The food was good, but it wasn't the old Sumalee good. Maybe they're still trying to get back into the swing of things. We'll be going back, but not as frequent as we used to. I actually prefer the food at Chedi more than Sumalee. But if Bank Hotel brings back their half price cocktails, which they have hinted that they would eventually, we'll be back to Sumalee before you can say happy hour!

After eating until we were sick, we decided to take a stroll from Sumalee back to the footbridge theatre by cutting through Sydney Uni. This brought back lots of memories. We usually drive into Usyd and park outside Madsen which was our old hangout, but this time we were walking through the back of the campus, past lecture theaters we've been to but can't remember the name or the subject. It was great reminiscing about old times......except that its a sign of old age!!

As for the photos, these are also for Gus. Yes Gus, they're blog worthy! And I said I'll put them up didn't I??

Some building

View of Parramatta Road from the footbridge

No comments: