Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN
ALONG a small section of Furneaux Street in Manuka sits four eateries that dish up some pretty yummy food – Timmy’s, Kopi Tiam, Bellucci’s and Thai Cornar Restaurant. We won’t talk about the restaurant across the road on Franklin Street, which has gone up in smoke.
It was a Monday night and we had been wandering, looking for a place that was open, starting with the Foreshore then winding through Kingston and then a quick stop at Griffith shops. More and more restaurants are choosing to close Monday nights so best to check by phoning (not all websites are reliable).
We landed at Thai Cornar, just as the sun was setting. The elevated outdoor area (timber deck flooring and enclosed with a barrier to protect from any wind) is a great spot when it’s not too hot.
We fussed over what to order and welcomed recommendations from the wait staff who didn’t skip a beat when it looked like we were going to take forever to decide.
“Want something spicy?” we were asked.
“Then try number 19”.
“Like curry?” we were asked.
“Well, order number 13; it’s super popular.”
And so it came to pass that we dined on the pad kra paw with beef ($15.90) and the green curry with chicken ($16.50).
But first it was the entrees, and here we knew what we wanted. The kanom jeeb ($9.50) was served quickly and the four Thai-style steamed pork and prawn dim sim hit the spot. Also on the entrees list are Thai favourites such as money bags, almond prawns and deep-fried fish cakes.
The pad kra paw stir fry was spicy, just as promised, and delicious. The thin slices of beef were ‘”wokked up” with garlic, basil sauce and a super kick of chilli. It was a memorable dish and it also comes with chicken, if your tastebuds prefer.
The green curry was also memorable. The chicken was tender and the healthy dose of lime cut through the creaminess of the curry sauce. The dish was aromatic, deliciously fragrant and not too sweet. We wolfed it down with fluffy steamed white rice.
The interior of Thai Cornar is neat, tidy and basic. The emphasis here is on the food not an over-the-top fitout. The staff are friendly although we struggled at the end of our meal to pay the bill. The restaurant had suddenly found itself packed out, with takeaway orders piling up, and things just went a little haywire.
Thai Cornar not only offers takeaway; there’s also the option to order online. The restaurant is BYO. The lovely Vintage Cellars Manuka, with its great selection of wines, is around the corner on Bougainville Street.