Feast on flavourful curries and zingy Thai salads at Mermaid’s Som Tam Gai
The past week has been pretty wild on the weather front and we don’t know about you, but when the mercury dips a degree or two we find ourselves craving belly-warming classics such as flavourful curries, bowls brimming with noodles and sizzling stir-frys. Lucky for us, Som Tam Gai is here to satisfy those hearty hankerings with its elevated take on Thai favourites. Perched next door to Bistro Lamp and neighbouring Poké Poké, Goccia Italian, Background (Barista) and Lovechild Kitchen + Bar in the highway-fronting complex in Mermaid Beach, the pint-sized newcomer is in excellent company.
At the start of last year, Gold Coaster Dasche Goodwin was happily working in a fine-dining Thai restaurant in Helsinki. The esteemed eatery was widely regarded for intricate flavour balancing and putting a modern spin on classic Thai cuisine but alas, we all know what transpired next. With little warning, Dasche found himself back in his old stomping ground of the Gold Coast wondering what he was going to do. As fate would have it, two of his brilliantly talented chef buddies Garry Velez and Carlos Devalence, who have also spent considerable time working in fine-dining kitchens around Australia, were in a similar predicament. The trio decided to combine their collective love of Asian cuisine and open Som Tam Gai. The compact venue opened its doors a couple of months ago with a goal to reignite your love of Thai cuisine. Som Tam Gai is all about the experience of dining together. Born from a pandemic that enforced isolation, the venue is designed to bring people together with a range of plates that are intended for sharing. You won’t find traditional entrees and mains, rather sections including charcoal grill, fresh, snacks, salads, from the wok, curries and sides, with each dish designed to be plonked in the middle of the table with spoons clinking as you tuck in. The skewers cooked on the charcoal grill will transport your tastebuds to a makeshift roadside market in Thailand where barbecues on the back of motorbikes line the streets (remember travel?). Pan-fried scallops with coriander dressing sit pretty alongside perfectly grilled king prawns from the ‘fresh’ section and unlike the majority of restaurants that treat the salad as a bit of an afterthought, Som Tam Gai champions hero-worthy creations such as the spicy-yet-sweet green mango, lychee and herb salad with sinus-clearing green Nahm Jim. The curries are all made from scratch in-house and whilst they all sound mighty appetising, the Thai-red curry with roasted salmon is guaranteed to hit the spot. Side it with some rice and a crisp roti to mop up all of the surplus sauce and that, my friend, is dinner done well. If you simply cannot decide, the banquet menu is an excellent option at $49 per person. Som Tam Gai also offers a succinct selection of swill including mostly Australian wines in red, white and sparkling varietals, frothies from Burleigh’s Black Hops and Varsity’s Aardvark & Arrow as well as classic cocktails.
Keen to dine? Jump over to our Stumble Guide for booking details and opening times.
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