River Kwai Thai and Burmese - a review

15 July 2014

Our local Thai restaurant - River Kwai, is not a vegetarian restaurant as such, but they're pretty accommodating. They state their vegetarian dishes to be 100% vegetarian: no shrimp paste, fish sauce or oyster sauce hiding in your supposedly vegetarian tofu dish.

Hunter and I have eaten there a number of times over the past couple of years, both eat in and takeaway, and the food has been consistently very good. I've only eaten from the Burmese menu once, and I didn't like it as much as the Thai. It's not the best Thai I've ever eaten, but it is definitely among the better ones. Last time we went was to celebrate Hunter getting a pay rise, which is when I took these photos.

Complimentary satay dipping sauce

The first thing to be aware of is that if you eat in, you get a complementary starter. For ages it was some chilli fish thing, maybe Thai Fishcakes. Anyway, neither Hunter nor I would eat it, so I tried to remember to ask them not to bring it to us, which always seemed to cause confusion. This time I forgot, but the appetizer had changed to a satay dipping sauce, so I enquired as to whether it contained fish sauce. This caused some confusion, with the waitress repeatedly asking me whether I was allergic to fish, and me repeatedly stating that I can't eat fish, but avoiding giving an answer on the allergy front, as I didn't want to a) lie, or b) have my desire to avoid fish be ignored since I wasn't allergic. Eventually, she went and checked in the kitchen, and came back to tell me that the sauce was fine, but the bready things for dipping contained prawn. So while Hunter dipped, I just ate the sauce with a spoon. Hunter was not impressed with me, but I could live with that since it was tasty.

To save you having to ask, both the veggie spring rolls and veggie curry puffs contain egg.

As usual, we aimed to have leftovers, so we ordered a Tofu Pad Thai minus the egg, as well as a curry each. I had the sad realization while eating the Pad Thai that Isa's Everyday Pad Thai is actually better than this one (if less authentic). This is not to say that River Kwai's Pad Thai is bad, but rather that Isa is an absolute genius.

Tofu pad thai - no egg

While Hunter had a Massaman Beef, not photographed because meat, I had a Green Curry. This was on the mild side for a green curry, but delicious, except that it had what I think were little spherical zucchinis in it, which weren't so great.

Tofu green curry

As I said earlier, we've eaten here a number of times, and never had a bad dish. I've tried all the Thai veggie curries, one of the veggie soups (can't remember which), and a few of the stir fries. Also, I should mention that the coconut rice has chunks of coconut meat in it, so please pay the extra dollar to upgrade to the coconut rice.

Overall rating is 7/10. Points deducted as it's a little on the expensive side for Thai, without the fish/oyster sauce and shrimp paste, some of their dishes are slightly lacking depth of flavour, which could be compensated for with a bit of creativity, and because while they advertise as vegetarian friendly, not all the staff understand that concept. Still great food though.

River Kwai on Urbanspoon

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