The latest restaurant to open on the Kingston Foreshore is Chong Co Thai Restaurant and Bar providing some competition to contemporary Thai restaurant Morks just a few doors down. Chong Co Thai currently have two other restaurants in Belconnen and Gungahlin.
We were warmly greeted by our waitress and picked a table by the window. The fit out inside is modern with wooden paneling along the walls, wooden feature in the middle of the restaurant and a mix of wooden and tiled floors. There are a few outdoor tables as well. I think the bathroom will be shared with other restaurants once they open up as there is a little corridor connecting other black doors to the bathrooms.
We were asked if we wanted some tap water, and these were served with a sliver of lemon and ice. I really liked that and love that they have decent sized glasses for water. What is with other restaurants/cafes providing the almost miniature glasses of water these days?
Since this is the third restaurant in the Chong Co Thai chain, I figured it must be popular with the locals and that the prices would be reasonable for some cheapie Thai food. Obviously not so for the Foreshore. Prices are a tad expensive.
We started with vegeatarian curry puffs which came served with sweet chilli sauce and a salad garnish (around $8). This came out hot, the puff pastry was thick and yum, and the curry puff was stuffed with corn, carrot and peas. The only thing about these were that we couldn’t really taste any curry. Towards the end I could taste a bit of curry powder. These weren’t as good as the Thai Spice curry puffs in Woden.
For mains we ordered the red duck curry with lychees and asked for this to be mild. I’ve forgotten the exact price for this but it was around $22. Given that Chong Co Thai aren’t exactly an upmarket Thai restaurant, I thought the portion was quite small for the price. There was hardly any duck meat and what we did get was slightly rubbery and fatty. The curry sauce and the lychees were nice but nothing spectacular. We ordered coconut rice ($4.50 per person) which was much too soft and mushy. But very fragrant with its coconutiness (new word). As there were two of us, it was served in a metal bucket but there wasn’t much in there.
We also had the chicken and cashews which was around $27. This was clumsily tipped onto the plate – a bit of a mess with splashes on the edges. The sauce had a lot of oyster sauce and some honey in it as it was a little sweet. Different to other chicken and cashew dishes. It was a decent portion and we both liked the fact that all the vegetables were crunchy. However, this is a simple stir-fry dish that I can get at any other place for nearly half the price. Not worth what we paid.
Overall, the fit out of Chong Co Thai is simple, neat and laidback. There is plenty of seating available, and I like how the wooden benches on the side of the wall have little cushions for diners to sit on. The staff are friendly and polite. However, I thought the food was very average (the duck wasn’t very nice) and all dishes are way over-priced. I understand that rent along the Foreshore will be pricey and they will need to pass this cost onto their diners, but the quality for those prices just wasn’t there. I would much rather head to Morks for the same price and a guaranteed excellent Thai meal.
They do offer takeaway and it is around 15% less than the dine-in menu. So perhaps I will give their take away a go. Or just get takeaway from Morks.