One of the more exciting aspects of restaurants is their ability to transport you to an exotic locale for the course of a meal. At the intersection of decor; service; music; aroma and food, magic can be made. Making magic is doubly hard when you’re designing a restaurant inside a shopping centre, but by importing a waterfront Thai house (which was slated for demolition) piece by piece in a shipping container, Senyai have done just that. The long, narrow cottage is tucked down the back of Regent Place, and stuffed with a riotous visual feast of Thai memorabilia, from advertisements to glass cabinets full of knickknacks and products. My meal wasn’t quite as wow-worthy; with a service hiccup meaning my errant but tasty entrée of Betel Leaf Prawn ($4/each) arrived after my main. The balance I’m used to in Thai cuisine seemed lacking in Crispy Fish ($29) served with three-flavour sauce (a blend of peppercorn, kaffir lime, tomato, rambutan, lychee, pineapple and chilli). Similarly a green Papaya Salad with Soft Shell Crab ($16) needed more acidity to liven things up. Hopefully this was just an off night rather than the norm, because local competitors like Chat Thai, have set a high benchmark for fast, competitively priced, authentic Thai eats.
Regent Place, 486 Kent Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9283 8686 senyai.com.au