I can’t admit to being the driving force behind choose places to eat; so when Ruby Red and Bureaucrat were interested in Middle Fish, a Thai café on the edge of the Melbourne CBD I was in. Bureaucrat and I’d seen Middle Fish last week when we’d wandered over to Seven Seeds the week before and liked the look of it, and Ruby Red also had Middle Fish on her list of places to try.
Middle Fish falls into the modern Thai food Melbournites have adopted with relish, and goes a step further with the décor. We all gazed admiringly around during lunch at the artful (or is that artless?) blend of Thai and Melbourne café eclectic. And there was so much to take in: from metal window grills and market chairs imported specifically from Thailand to booths made from recycled Australian train sleepers and locally designed art work.
Ruby Grapefruit went for the Mussaman beef curry with roti. It was a generous service of tender beef which we coulnd't finish. Most roti I've tried in Melbourne tends to be on the greasy side whereas my "background" (through my Trinidadian partner) is for a lighter, crispier roti. This roti was exactly as I like it and I'd go back for the roti alone.
I chose the Gapi Fried Rice (caramelised pork belly, prawns, green apple, beans shoots & red onions). This came out on a dinner sized plate heaped with the rice at the centre, fragrant with fish oil and topped with a small mound of pork belly. The portion was probably large enough for two. I think Ruby Red expected the pork belly to be crispier but that didn’t mean it wasn’t well cooked and moist.
Bureaucrat chose the Ka Nhom Jeen, a southern Thai fish curry soup with crab leg meat, vermicelli, pickled vegetables, steamed vegetables and coconut cream. I'm a sucker for anything with coconut cream (despite the cholesterol and saturated fat that comes with it). I also particularly enjoyed the lightly pickled vegetables that accompanied the soup.
Another things was the drinks that came in the quirkiest containers: mine was a young coconut juice in an enamel jug. Ruby Red chose a longan juice with peeled longan that arrived in a small silver bowl. Worth it just for the containers alone.
If I didn't like Middle Fish for the huge serves, the attentive service and the moderately priced good food, I'd love it for being one of the friendliest places I've visited, with owners Siriporn Liamthon and partner David Holtum really excited about their restaurant. We spent almost 30 minutes talking to Dave after we'd finished out meal about how the decor had come together and ideas for adding a breakfast menu and I felt as fed by our lunch as I did from David's enthusiasm and I wish them all the best with their plans.
Food - 7.5
Ambience - 9
Service - 7.5
Price - 7.5
122-128 Berkeley St
Carlton VIC 3053
Ph: (03) 9348 1704