Thai Garden Restaurant

After a hard day packing and unpacking into our new house, we decided to go out for dinner. I suggested to my partner to try Thai Garden Restaurant in North Hobart. I have heard from one of my colleague at work that it was good and she had been there a few times a couple of years ago. We were really looking forward to an authentic Thai meal.

The restaurant is located at Davey Street in North Hobart. It doesn’t look that inviting on the outside. But, when we got inside it was bright and welcoming. The Chinese waitress was friendly and nice. We ordered Thai fish cake and beef curry puff for starter and Massaman Beef Curry and Thai Omelette (Kai Teow Moo Sab) for main.

There were 3 other tables – all local Tasmanian.

We heard the microwave beeped a few times in the kitchen. I heard the staff and kitchen communicated in Cantonese. Not Thai. Both were not a good sign for a Thai restaurant. Then came our fish cake and curry puffs. I told the Chinese waitress (from Hong Kong) that we were sharing and to give us 2 smaller plates. The fish cake was big in perfect flat and round shape – not how an authentic Thai fish cake. The taste – it had a mild flavour, very soggy and spongy. It lacked fresh kaffir lime leaves and snake beans for that bit of crunchiness. It was not nice and we believed it was microwaved. But the waitress insisted they were deep fried and was very defensive.  The curry puffs were huge with unusual shape with more mashed peas than beef. It was a disappointing starter as well. The waitress asked confidently how were the starters. I responded they had nice flavour. I was trying very hard not to criticise the meal until I had the main.

The main arrived. Once again,  both dishes were disaapointing. The omelette was flat with chopped beans, onions and few pieces of minced pork which had hardly any Thai flavour. It was blend and quite watery on the inside because they used frozen beans. The Massaman curry was blend and watery. The finely diced potatoes were overly cooked and mushy. The beef were thinly slice rather than chunky. The kaffir lime leaves were dried rather than fresh. It was an unpalatable curry I ever had. Once again, the waitress was confident and asked how were the dishes before we even finished. We told her the truth but she was extremely defensive which made our meal from bad to worse! We lost our appetite and asked for the bill. It had to be one of our worse experience eating out in Hobart.

Obviously they were doing alright for them to still be opened. I asked if they were under a new management because I was thinking that my colleague knew what she was talking about when she recommend this place to me a few weeks ago. But I was told that they have been running the place for years and had very happy customers. In my opinion, they were customers that know nothing about Thai food and most likey have never been to Thailand. It was definitely localised to a country Tasmanian taste.

I have never written such a bad review on a restaurant before. Normally there is something good to write about. But, Thai Garden had certainly topped my worse list in H0bart.

6 responses to “Thai Garden Restaurant

  1. I tried this place for the first time at the end of October, we ordered two curries plus pad thai to takeaway. My partner and I both thought it was really bad, too 😦

    The pad thai was nothing like I have ever had before (both here or in Thailand) and was more in the style of singapore-style noodles from our local noodlehouses.
    We also had the massaman, not much flavour for what should be a lovely, comforting dish. And I’ve forgotten the name of our other other curry, but it was a red one with prawns and pineapple, and was all chilli heat with no flavour. Very disappointing….

    • Hi Bri – glad to hear that I am not the only one. Unfortunately, there are people around eating at Thai Garden thinking the food is Thai, and worse, thinking it was good! That place is a shame. It makes me angry to know they can get by selling Thai food when they probably have no idea what Thai food is all about. They should have call the place something else other than using the word “Thai” or using Thai names in all the dishes in the menu when they can’t even make a simple Thai dish, like fish cake or Pad Thai. I was telling a chef friend of mine today, and later found out from him that the people that owns and runs the kitchen are not Thai, but from Hong Kong!

  2. My husband and I have gone there quite a few times, and we actually like the restaurant and it’s food. I’m guessing I’m part of the people that have no idea about Thai food and have never been to Thailand? Bingo. However I still enjoyed the food and that shouldn’t be a bad thing, as long as the food is good, I’ll eat it.

    Also, the restaurant is actually on Ryde Street and apparently they got a new chef around that time, and I do admit, the food wasn’t as good as it use to be. They’ve recently renovated and reopened after having been closed for a while. I went there a few days ago and the food, in my opinion, tastes a lot better now, and I’ll definitely be going back.

    One last thing, I don’t understand why it’s a bad sign for the restaurant if staff are Chinese and not Thai. Are you implying that Chinese people can only work in Chinese restaurants and a Thai restaurant can only have Thai workers? I don’t know about you, but I find that rather racist and ignorant.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t have very good experience there, but if you’re going to write a review, at least write it without racist comments and comments that offend us customers.

    • Aria – I welcome any comment, including comment like yours.

      Firstly,that article was posted in 2010. Things may have changed especially in a small place like Hobart. Chefs come and go. Restaurants reopened with new and fresh ideas including menu.

      However, your point about “I’m guessing I’m part of the people that have no idea about Thai food and have never been to Thailand?” was precisely what I am trying to explain in my post. If a place is selling Thai food, then the food needs to be authentic in flavour to the ethnicity of that country and origin.

      You have also pointed out “I still enjoyed the food and that shouldn’t be a bad thing, as long as the food is good, I’ll eat it.”. Absolutely correct! I am not stopping you from going there to eat. No one is. So, by all means continue to eat at that place if you like the food so much. There are other authentic and good place in Hobart that stay true to the taste and flavour of the origin and ethnicity of the food. I am sure if you love your food and open to understand the ethnicity of the food, perhaps you may want to read the other local food bloggers website to get their views on the local food scenes.

      And, your last point “I find that rather racist and ignorant.”. I am a Malaysian Chinese. I know my food very well especially food from Southeast Asia and I have travelled to Thailand many times, eat at many Thai places in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. How can I be racist and ignorant about my food if I am trying to explain that the food at Thai Garden at that time in 2010 was not authentic to a Thai cuisine? It doesn’t matter if the place is run by any colour and race but if you want to sell an ethnic food to paying customer, then do it right. Food is about experience and journey so the customer can be educated and experienced in what they are eating and where they come from. However, if you don’t care about that and you eat because you love the “food”, then continue to do so. I am not stopping you from eating at any place that you love to eat, including Big Mac or KFC or Fish and Chips. And if you find my comments offensive, then don’t read it.

      One last thing, I have been thrown with racism remarks while walking/driving in Tasmania. So please don’t preach to me about racism and ignorance unless you are a minority like myself and has been through direct and indirect discrimination and abusive racism attack.

      • Hi Victor, thanks for the reply. I apologise if I was rather rude in my previous post. It’s not your review on the food that made me decide to comment on a review done in 2010, it was the comment that you made, saying that it’s a bad sign for a Thai restaurant to be communicating in Chinese. If that wasn’t said, I wouldn’t have commented on a post so long ago. You may think I’m overreacting, but I’m Vietnamese, and I have had a lot of racism thrown at me in my life. (I’m also sorry to hear that you experienced rascism as well, because no one should have to go through any of that.) So when I saw the comment you made, it irritates me.

        And I’m not saying you were racist and ignorant about the food, because you weren’t. You just shared your opinion and your experience there, and that’s perfectly fine. If when you say that “it doesn’t matter if a place is run any colour or race”, and you believe that, then why did you write in your review that it’s a bad sign for a Thai restaurant’s staff to be speaking Chinese? Why does it matter if they’re speaking Chinese and working in a Thai restaurant? Would being Chinese and trying to cook Thai affect your food?

        I’m not trying to come off as a ‘hater’, I just wanted to point that out to you.

        • So you are Vietnamese. Then, you should know the ethnicity of the food very well i.e. whether it’s Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese which are the most commonly available asian food in Australia. You are probably right that it makes no difference whether the food is cooked by Chinese in a Thai restaurant. However, in this instance based on my experience at Thai Garden and at that time, it does make a difference with me that the food was cooked and served by Chinese, which I have to point out, and in my opinion cannot cook Thai food at all! I am confident that most people will say the same if they walked into any ethnic restaurant (e.g. Italian or Greek) and cooked by a non-ethnic national. If the food is authentic and good, then it is fine and they will rave about the food, service and experience. However, if the food is not authentic, people will without a doubt make a comment that it was cooked by a non-Italian or a non-Greek, who doesn’t understand the food of the origin. That is, if the customer knows who cooked them in the kitchen. In my instance, I would not have pointed out that it was cooked by a Chinese (cantonese speaking background) if they have kept their voices down in the kitchen. But, they had no qualm that they were loud in the kitchen and that the customers could hear them in the dining room.

          You don’t walk into a restaurant, expected to pay for the food and turns out the food has no resemblance or authenticity to the food. It is unfortunate that you are upset over the fact that I pointed out that the food was cooked and owned by Chinese, which is true. If you have to know, I do eat at other Asian restaurants (e.g. Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese) in Melbourne but cooked and owned by non-ethnic speaking nationals (such as Longrain, Chin Chin, Bangpop, Burma Lane) and they do a fantastic job to stay true to the flavour, ethnicity and style of the cuisine.

          If you love Thai food, places like Vanidol, Ivory and Suwan Thai is a better choice in Hobart. Not because they are cooked and owned by Thai people, but the food is true to the authenticity of the country. If Thai Garden food is as good as theirs, I would have given the place a great review and careless if they are owned and cooked by Chinese. Funny enough, I tried Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor but the restaurant doesn’t show up with a rating or reviewer. And, you love the food so much that you keep going back. Am I missing something?? Care to share?

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