NINE ELEPHANTS: Today was one of us’ first nights in Melbourne! 🙂 So the two of us went out for a splash of Thai food on this year’s famous Feb 14th i.e. girls night out! and so we ventured to Docklands, a bit outside of the inner CBD to Nine Elephants. Okay, a combination of google maps being utterly useless and me being blind meant that we spent about 20 minutes looking for this place… it’s tucked away towards the corner of Village and Bourke street and on the day we went, there were roadworks nearby. At least it meant that by the time we arrived at the restaurant, we were totally ready for a thai feast!
We ordered the Gai Hom Pah for entree, crispy pork pad thai for noodle and cashew nut beef batter stir fry. The highlight would definitely have been the Gai Hom Pah. The combination of chicken satay wrapped with roti bread and lathered in home made peanut butter sauce was quite something. The presentation was elegant, with 4 pieces placed each on an asian soup spoon, especially compared to the other two dishes. The chicken was tender, the roti provided a chewy contrast, whilst the sauce was quite sweet, with a very nutty taste (WE LOVE PEANUT BUTTER) and a hint of chilli. It was garnished with a little piece of parsley to balance out the colours.
The pad thai was very wholesome and tasty. The mixture of peanuts, tofu, egg and beansprouts with the noodle were quite delightful. But the balance between the ingredients could’ve been better. As usual with restaurants, the meat i.e. crispy pork was quite lacking in quantity, as was the egg and tofu which would’ve added more texture to the dish. I didn’t even really notice there was any shrimp, and certainly did not taste it. The pad thai was cooked quite well, and there was a dense quantity, proving to be a very filling dish, even for two to share.
Pro tip: DO NOT ORDER STIR FRY unless you want to feel like you ate 2 buckets of salt and msg and dying of thirst the morning after. The beef batter stir fry was probably the worst dish of the night. With the stir fries, you can pick your own sauce so we ordered the cashew one. Even so, the amount of oyster sauce and oil was quite sickening. We chose to have beef batter, and so when the stir fry came out, the only thing you could really taste was the floury, but crispy batter with barely any remnants of beef. The batter itself was quite dry, but as I mentioned before, the dish, including the veggies – onion, capsicum, cashews, beans, and mushrooms were drenched in oyster sauce. As a result, the overall dish was very salty and left a very heavy, oily sickening feel even for some time afterwards.
The ambiance was quite nice, with lanterns floating at the top. Even though valentine’s day is one of the busiest days of the years for most restaurants, this one is moreso popular with office workers (around the Dockland offices) during weekday lunches. There were probably only 4 to 5 other tables filled when we were there, including one small group celebrating a birthday. The decor is nothing fancy, but the counter and kitchen are placed above the rest of the seats and the high ceilings give it quite a new, furnished feel.
Overall, we spent around an hour altogether, and would rate 11/10 for satiety. It must’ve been all the msg, or mostly the saltiness of the stir fry but it left us thirsty for the whole night. Probably would go try other places before coming here again, but the price overall was reasonable – $38 for two, and the stir fry was probably the only real disappointment of the night.