Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lanna Thai Subiaco

Do you remember the first time you had “Fairy Bread” as an adult?
Do you recall thinking in confusion why it didn’t taste amazing like you had always remembered as a child?
You had prepared it the exact same way, white bought bread with 100’s and 1000’s sprinkled over the sliced with thick butter…but to no avail, it simply resembled plain bread with sugar.

The reason I bring this up, is because I recently went back to a favourite restaurant and the experience wasn’t as good as I have always experienced.

Lanna Thai is located off Hay Street in Subiaco and has for years been my staple “to-go-to” restaurant when in need of a delicious Thai fix. I have been to Lanna Thai more times then I can count on both hands.
I have taken family, multiple friend groups of girlfriends, my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s friends, my boyfriend’s family and what ever combination of people I knew! The menu is HUGE, the choices can suit everyone and I love the huge range of vegetarian options available.
The food in my opinion has always been consistently amazing.
Through many dining experiences I have always walked away completely satisfied. My ultimate favourite dish would have to be the Panang Curry with prawns – smooth, creamy, peanutty goodness with crunchy fresh prawns. Ive tried the yellow, red and green curry, the satay, noodle dishes, soups and salads.
I’ve tried so many dishes it is really hard to name them all.

This occasion I visited Lanna Thai with a few girlfriends and of course ordered the Panang Curry with prawns. I asked for “extra veggies” as I really enjoy having some veggies with my meal apart from meat and rice.
Panang Curry

Others on the table ordered the Green Curry Chicken and Pad Thai.

My bowl came out topped with crunchy fresh prawns and I could see the sweet yellowy-red coloured Panang curry it was sitting in. My “extra veggies” consisted of a few slices of carrot, one stalk of broccoli and one cauliflower stalk. Cheers.

Panang Curry

To my surprise, the curry sauce was a lot thinner than normal. I don’t know whether this was because they may have used coconut milk instead of cream or whether this batch in particular they had to water down to spread among servings. It was a little underwhelming.

The service was also pretty bad. I had to shout my order to the waitress from across my end of the table because she stood at the end of the table instead of coming around individually to each guest to take their order. This was the same process for handing out the meals where she stood at the end of the table again and passed my meal to those I sat next to pass down, instead of just coming to each person individually and giving them their meal.
The sauce of the chicken green curry was also very thin and not the creaminess that I remembered, the flavour was certainly still there, but again, underwhelming.

The Pad Thai was quite sweet and oily. I was still hungry after my meal, so progressed to finishing off my friends Pad Thai regardless of it being average as she was full.

I felt a little ripped off. I have raved about Lanna Thai to most who ask for a Thai restaurant in Perth to try. I don’t know whether they were having an “off” night, had run out of coconut cream or whether things have changed for good.
I would normally order the sweet sticky rice with mango for dessert as this would have to be my ultimate Thai dessert choice and Lanna have previously done a beautiful sticky rice and mango, but I felt a little saddened by the experience at this point.
My meal was about $25 for the prawn Panang Curry, plus rice which was a couple of dollars. So not out of the ordinary for Perth prices, but I normally pay this and walk away so happy. This time was a little different.

My experience has been tainted a little and I’m not sure when I will return to Lanna to give it another go…especially when I had takeaway from Ploy Thai in Maylands Ploy Thai on Urbanspoon the other day and it was wonderful, or when I’ve heard of S&T Thai in Northbridge and its amazing authentic curries!
It hurts me to give the only review of Lanna as a negative one, especially when our meals after all were still delicious, just not as I had remembered. Plus, if I reviewed the other 15 times I have visited Lanna, it would be very different!

Please give Lanna Thai a try; this was my only negative experience. I still have a lot of love for this beautiful restaurant.
Highs: fresh prawns and a nice tasting Panang Curry
Lows: Not the amazing food and service I remember
Overall: 5/10
Will I return? Probably not any time soon unless I am in the Subiaco area looking for Thai.

Lanna Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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