Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bunja Thai

Who would have thought Bendigo could deliver authentic, nuanced Thai in delightful surrounds?
It's entirely possible I'm a Melbourne foodie snob, but I wouldn't have dreamed of the delights on offer. And yet here I am blogging about a sensational night of foodie goodness in Bendigo's Pall Mall.

Last night I ate at Piyawat and was pretty non-plussed. I was reluctant to venture out for Thai again in Bendigo given my less than stellar experience. However, on the urgings of Lisa, a regular at Bunja, I thought I'd do a comparison of the Bendigo Thai offerings.

At Bunja, I ordered the entree of Plaa Meuk $14.50. It arrived with a perfectly subtle but tasty sauce on a bed of various greens.

I'd ordered the Piyawat Plaa Meuk the night before and the difference could not have been more pronounced. Bunja featured a tenderly fried and battered calamari on a bed of mixed leafy greens, chillies, blanched lemongrass and fried shallots. Compare this with Piyawat's sauce that I'm sure contained tomato ketchup and soy sauce, cabbage and iceberg under rubbery calamari. If you're looking for competition, they're really not even playing the same game. The staff at Piyawat were lovely, but nevertheless, I'd be reluctant to return.

For mains I chose the vegetarian red curry. Bunja delivered an exquisitly flavoured kaffir lime and Thai basil seasoned red curry and Piyawat delivered a salty and slightly sweet coconut milk with chillies. As with entree. There is no comparison. If you want to experience real Thai flavour, Bunja is the only game in town.

Skeptics might argue that Piyawat is significantly cheaper but what price do you put on quality. Bunja is where it's at.

The ambience at both is pleasant. Piyawat is cosy and friendly and Bunja is grandiose, stylish and charming.

All photos are from Bunja. Piyawat is very dark.

Bunja Thai Restaurant and Takeaway on Urbanspoon
Piyawat Thai on Urbanspoon
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I wholeheartedly agree! bunja's food is so amazing that I've been back enough times to have eaten almost everything on the menu :)