There’s plenty of spice to go around

May 27, 2020

I’m not a great fan of the “hotter and spicier the better” philosophy when it comes to food. If I can’t taste the ingredients in a dish I can’t really see the point.

I’m not against spice and heat, I just don’t like too much of it.

I’m happy to say The Tamarind head chef Dan Jarrett shares my ideas, so the dishes at the restaurant were never too hot for my tastebuds.

Head Chef Dan JarrettHead Chef of The Tamarind restaurant Dan Jarrett

Don’t get me wrong, this is not Thai food dumbed down and made over-bland to cater for Western tastes. There’s plenty of spice to go around. The pork belly with jungle greens dish that I enjoyed certainly had plenty of flavour and a decent amount of bite but Dan said he had taken out some of the more extreme flavours. All the better for my preferences.

My wife is even less of a fan of heat than I am so when she opted for Thai red curry duck she asked the kitchen to reduce the amount of chilli in the dish. What she received she described as one of the best red duck curries it had been her pleasure to devour – plenty of flavour but no aggressive and overpowering heat. I’m a sucker for duck so I started our meal with some duck spring rolls that come with a tasty dipping sauce, a combination that had my meal off to a flying start.

Red curry from The Tamarind restaurantRed curry from The Tamarind restaurant

Throughout the meal the service was a wonderfully professional combination of efficiency and knowledge that contributed greatly to the occasion.

The wine list has a great list of Rieslings, local and imported, that match so well with the flavours of Thai-based dishes, although there are plenty of other drops to savour. I tried tasting glasses of a Te Whare Ra Taru (a blend of gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot gris), Other Wine Company 2018 Shiraz Pinot Noir, Mitchell 2013 Museum Release Riesling, Little Giant 2018 Grenache and a Kopke 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Port to finish.

Sadly, due to Covid 19 restrictions the restaurant had to close for some months but did offer a range of takeaway dishes that could almost be described as a greatest hits menu. It has now reopened with a restricted number of diners and continues to offer takeaway for those keen to get back for that delicious taste of Thai.

Mike Frost has been writing about wine for more than 40 years, stemming from his days on the Brisbane Telegraph afternoon newspaper in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he also wrote restaurant reviews. His taste for wine started in the late 1960s when he was failing a Chemical Engineering degree at the University of Queensland and was honed during five years with the ABC in Brisbane and almost two years working in London while furthering his international wine knowledge by trying as many drops as he could. As well as the Telegraph, he’s written for the Gold Coast Bulletin, Cairns Post, The Courier-Mail, Brisbane News and a few national magazines and judged at local, state and national wine shows. He is currently in his second go as president of the Queensland Wine Press Club and his thirst for knowledge about wine continues unabated.