Food

Chalawan Thai Gastrobar in Collingwood

The World Loves Melbourne was invited to the exciting launch of new Thai gastrobar Chalawan. The vibrant venue, named after the Crocodile King in Thai folklore, opened late June and has been serving up an impeccable menu of contemporary Thai food and drink since.

Chalawan is the first Australian outlet from the team behind renowned Bangkok venues Hyde and Seek, Peek-A-Boo and Smith. The Collingwood venue is even staffed by an all-star team direct from Bangkok, ensuring that all the zest, vibrancy and vigour of Thai cuisine comes through on every plate.

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This grounding in Thai flavours is paired with modern techniques such as sous vide and brining, local produce and ingredients to deliver a sophisticated menu unlike any other Thai offering in Melbourne. Don't expect "authentic" cuisine as the menu is designed to highlight Australian ingredients, and recipes adapted to suit local produce. 

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We started with the Tom Kha Hoy Shell, pan-seared scallops with lightly fried oyster mushrooms in a frothy Tom Kha broth. They literally melted in our mouths! Another one of my favourites The Khao Soi Gae, is a Northern Thai curry with slow-roasted lamb shoulder served over handmade black sticky-rice tagliatelle. There was also a smoked pork belly, supplied by neighbours Meatsmith, served with caramelised stone fruit and a crisp rice cake, and a homemade sausage with young-chilli relish.

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To match the outstanding food menu are the aptly named ‘Croctails’, made using premium spirits and featuring house-dehydrated fruit. Nawin Pimolrat, Chalawan’s head bartender, has created an exquisite list of drinks which will take you straight to the streets of Bangkok. We sipped on 'Dear Jasmine', Bombay dry gin, pavan, banana liquey, cinnamon, citrus and jasmine, absolutely divine.

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Designed by Studio Equator, the beautiful space is anchored by the reptilian central bar covered in scale-shaped turquoise tiles, while the vaulted exposed beams down the length of the dining room draw diners’ eyes to the Chalawan Crocodile King mural on the back wall.

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Chalawan is open Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday 5:30pm - 10pm. Friday and Saturday 5:30pm - 11pm.

102 Smith Street, Collingwood.

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