I hate names that are difficult to pronounce. Not because I like simple words (far from it) but because I hate the unnecessary confusion they create.
"We're eating at Muum Maam tonight".
"Moome Marm? What the hell is that?"
Cue stilted conversation, mid-sentence interruptions, over-enunciation and futile misspelt Googling.
But what Muum Maam lacks in ease of pronounciation, it makes up for in ease of digestion. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Thai restaurants in Sydney. Each bite elicited furious nodding and murmurs of approval from my dining companions, not to mention the occasional moan of delight. Despite our natural inclination to chat, the desire to speak was quickly subsumed by the silence of contented chewing. Mmm. Little wonder the restaurant calls itself 'Little Glutton' (in Thai). It makes all that mispronounciation worthwhile.
Menus on wooden clipboards are the best. There's something very simple and honest about them, about letting the food speak for itself. I'm always suspicious of fancy menus, with gold lettering and tassels, not just because they're incredibly tacky, but because it looks as though effort has been misdirected from the kitchen to the menu, and the food will suffer as a result. Clean, simple menus are the way to go.
Little latticed prawn crackers: a nice non-bread way to kick off the meal.
Rice paper rolls with roast duck, cucumber, mint, sweet soy and black vinegar. These were as plump and moreish as they look. The roast duck gave the rolls a richness that only rice paper could handle (being quite bland itself).
Betel leaf topped with smoked trout, trout roe, sweet coconut, lime, ginger and tamarind. These were amazing, each bite was an explosion of the most incredible flavour combination - sweet, salty, crunchy, gooey, sour - all in one magical mouthful.
Shredded banana blossom salad with prawns, cashews, coriander and sweet chilli. Beautifully presented and a wonderful texture of slippery blossom slivers, crunchy nuts, wispy coriander and chewy prawns, all swimming in a sweet and spicy sauce.
Stir-fried Sen Jan Pad Thai noodles with prawns, radish, chilli, peanuts, bean sprouts and hens egg. This was a lot lighter than your average Pad Thai, the noodles were incredibly thin and slippery, not fat and wide like the standard variety, and you barely even noticed as they slid down your throat.
'Crying tiger’ wagyu beef with chilli, ground roasted rice and tamarind dipping sauce. Considering the name of this dish and my embarassingly low spice threshold, I'm surprised I didn't shed a tear, but it actually wasn't very spicy at all. Just lovely. With a slightly chargrilled finish.
Pineapple fried rice with prawns, raisins and pork floss. I love dishes that are quirkily served. Cocktails in coconuts, custard in eggshells, frice rice in pineapples... Not only did this bring a smile to everyone at the table, but it tasted amazing. One of the best fried rice dishes I've had. It was slightly sweet (the raisins and pineapple chunks) but definitely salty and the pork floss on top was, strangely, the most perfect addition.
Banana fritters with salty palm sugar caramel gelato. I'll have to come up with a new word for 'amazing' soon. There's just no other way to describe these desserts. I don't want to say 'breathtaking' (that's reserved strictly for sunsets) and I don't want to say 'mindblowing' (again, not the appropriate context) but I'm also desperate to avoid the sin of repetition. So I will just say that it was good. Very good. Crazily crunchy fritters, fried golden batter, each bite scorches your tongue before it's placated by the cool, creamy gelato. Mmmm. Going back for more.
The Sticky Stack - black sticky rice, coconut jam and peanut gelato, topped with toasted coconut and coconut milk. This was my absolute favourite. It wouldn't have surprised me to see the fritters frown with jealousy when this beast arrived. It was literally a tower of power. Admiring glances, respectful silences. Chewy, creamy goodness. Ah-mazing. Oops.
Until next time.