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byo, camp hill, mid-range, restaurants and cafes, takeaway

HOT: Mons Ban Sabai Thai Garden Restaurant, 12 Martha St, Camp Hill

RM and I were wilting a bit from the humid tropical heat and one night we decided that spicy Thai food was the only solution for our lacklustre appetites. Doing a quick round of Google pulled up ‘Brisbane’s most awarded Thai Restaurant’, Mons Ban Sabai. Based on that slogan, we thought it was worth giving it a go even though it was located in Camp Hill, a completely unfamiliar suburb to us.

Strapped in and at the mercy of the GPS navigator, we drove to to a small strip of suburban shops on Martha Street and pulled up in front of a very busy restaurant. Our first impressions of Mons Ban Sabai were positive – friendly service, high airy ceilings with a huge open window facing out on the street corner and a steady stream of customers.  The purple gilded decor had Thai touches without being overdone and tacky. A quick peek in the kitchen confirmed that most of the staff appeared to be Thai, although interestingly enough we discovered that the owner and executive chef is actually Swiss.

Onto the menu. Most the items would be familiar to suburban Thai restaurants, with a few departures in the chef’s recommendations. We decided on money bags ($11.90) and green mango salad ($11.90) to start, followed by a Thai Island curry ($25.90) and soft shelled crab ($25.90).

Mons Ban Sabai Martha Street Camp Hill

The money bags were juicy little fried bonbons filled with chicken, water chestnuts and herbs accompanied by a sweet chilli sauce. They were freshly fried and not greasy and a winner. The green mango salad was a sweet coconut milk dredged salad, very refreshing and very sweet.

Mons Ban Sabai Martha Street Camp Hill

It seems that Mons Ban Sabai‘s takeaway popularity may also be to diners’ disadvantage, as we waited for an inordinately long time for our main courses. When they arrived, they were very impressive. The Thai Island chicken curry was presented in a hollowed out pineapple half and emanated the sweet flavours of pineapple, lychees and coconut. The soft shelled crab was generously proportioned with juicy fried morsels. Unfortunately, neither of them were as spicy as we’d requested – the waitress had looked at us dubiously when we said we wanted everything to be authentically Thai hot and what came out was certainly mild to our taste. Some fresh chilli remedied the situation to some extent, but we wished that Thai people would stop mollycoddling us!

Mons Ban Sabai Martha Street Camp Hill

When I went to the bathroom, I discovered that RM had made a secret assignation with the waitress for a serve of deep fried ice-cream ($8.90). I’m Chinese, and deep-fried ice-cream is my culinary shame as it’s the kind of thing that is normally served at Chinglish (Anglo-Chinese) restaurants. Mons Ban Sabai‘s version was quite good, but it erred on the conservative side with the frying time – the batter wasn’t quite crisp enough but the orb of solid ice cream could have withstood a bit more heat without melting.

Mons Ban Sabai Martha Street Camp Hill

Over the last few years Mons Ban Sabai has been variously voted as the State and Brisbane’s Best Thai Restaurant and Best BYO Restaurant by the judges of Restaurant and Catering Queensland. We think that Mons Ban Sabai is a step above your average Thai restaurant in quality (with a commensurate price increase), and we’d even go as far to say that it’s worth crossing town for.

Mons Ban Sabai Thai on Urbanspoon

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Discussion

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  1. These pictures rock! The food looks so yummy. I especially like the carved out pineapple dish. Makes me hungry for Thai food!

    Posted by Acai | April 20, 2010, 12:49 am
  2. I love Thai food and I love it mild and I love deepfried ice cream – this place sounds AMAZING! Thanks for the review!
    .-= Laura Newfarm´s last blog ..Advanced Pricing Strategies: $2.95 =-.

    Posted by Laura Newfarm | June 8, 2010, 11:34 am

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