Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Piano Restaurant and Bar

18 Bridge Rd 
Richmond, VIC

I firmly believe in shopping as a competitive sport. And one of the best places in Melbourne to participate in the noble sport of shopping is Bridge Road, filled with everything from haute couture to vintage bargains. And once hunger from trying on shoes for an entire day has set in, The Piano Restaurant and Bar is there to serve up a delicious Thai meal.

Opened just 7 weeks prior to my visit, Piano Restaurant and Bar offers an up-market take on Thai food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It is an intimate venue with a wooden wall on one side and a piano on the other, and it comes off feeling classy without being stuffy. The kitchen is headed by an ex-chef from Longrain, so I had high expectations.

Chicken Larb Salad ($13)

We started off with a traditional Chicken Larb Salad ($13), and because Chris hates even the tiniest hint of coriander, I got to polish off this exciting beauty all by myself.  It was a tantalising mix of warm chicken mince when a cocktail of spices, including coriander, mint, and Thai basil, finished off with an ample squeeze of lime and a hint of spice. 

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce ($12.5, 5 pieces)

Whilst I was busy monopolising the larb salad, Chris spent his time enjoying the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce ($12.5, 5 pieces). The tender skewers of chicken were smothered in a decadently sweet and nutty sauce, and the accompany pickles were crisp and refreshing.

Mussaman Curry with Lamb Shank ($20.5)

Mussaman Curry with Lamb Shank ($20.5)

Making the most of what’s hopefully the last of the cold weather, we had a piping-hot bowl of Mussaman Curry with Lamb Shank ($20.5). It was a hearty medley of buttery potatoes and lamb that fell off the bone with the gentlest tug from the fork, drowned in a creamy coconut and peanut sauce. 

Piano Crispy Duck ($22.5)

With neither of us having had duck for a while, we were both excited for Piano’s signature dish – the Piano Crispy Duck ($22.5). Whilst just as tender as the lamb on the inside, the pieces of duck also boasted a crispy skin glazed with sweet soy, and encrusted with the unmistakable buzz of peppercorns. It was a great fanfare of flavours, especially when eaten with the crispy Thai basil scattered on top.

Banana Fritters with Ice Cream ($11.5)

Being as full as we were, we still had room for dessert – the all-time Asian favourite, Banana Fritters with Ice Cream ($11.5). 

Banana Fritters with Ice Cream ($11.5)

Though nothing flashy, banana fritters are an absolute delight when done well, such as in this case. The just-ripe bananas were encased in batter as light and crispy as tempura, served with a generous quenelle of coconut ice cream on the side. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s about as satisfying as dessert gets.

I had been a little apprehensive about eating at Piano Restaurant, fearing another meal of Thai food westernised beyond recognition. And whilst I won’t lie and say the food hasn’t been tweaked a little to suit local palates, it has found the sweet spot that will please the entire spectrum of diners. Even if you’re into hardcore Thai food, it’d be difficult not to be charmed by the sweet melodies of Piano Restaurant and Bar.

Rating: 15/20 – sweet melodies.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of The Piano Restaurant and Bar.

The Piano Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment