When your mother-in-law places a meal in front of you, it’s probably best to eat it. Particularly when it’s the infamous son in law eggs, made up of crunchy tamarind fried eggs with a sticky and sweet chilli sauce.
At Johnston Street’s newest Thai eatery, Son in Law, it’s more than just a dish. The name was naturally inspired by the eggs, but there’s more than meets the eye. Owner Tony Rungpradit’s wife, Oh, is a chef, and it’s their relationship with Oh’s mother that motivated their choice. It’s said that if a mother in law feels her son in law is being less than kind to her daughter, she’ll serve the dish as a clear message. Be warned. But at the restaurant, they are not interested in playing it safe, or making threats.
The husband and wife team behind Son in Law have put a fresh spin on their last venture. Originally opening Ayatana on Chapel Street, the duo always had the plan to open a bigger space. Ayatana created a more serious dining experience, while Son in Law, with its bright splashes of neon in the split-level dining space, is cheap and contemporary, with the dishes experiencing a modern twist. It’s a bigger venue, with a bar to keep you going throughout the night and a spacious outdoor seating area, perfect for the warmer months.
The menu balances two opposing forces: authentic, traditional Thai food with modern Australian cuisine, creating the perfect marriage. It is fresh, vibrant, and most importantly, friendly on your hip pocket. Obviously, the son in law egg dish is recommended, but it’s the fusion dishes that will have you refusing to stop. The braised beef tacos; a soft tortilla stuffed with red onion, coriander, mint and ground chilli, will have your tastebuds tingling, while the sweet and crunchy tamarind salad with bean shoots, carrot, green apple, roasted coconut and crispy noodles is full of flavour. If you’re inclined to sharing, try a few smaller dishes such as crispy barramundi fillets with roasted dry chilli, mint, coriander, red onion and roasted ground rice, or deep fried chicken ribs with fried shallots and spring onion with a choice of nam jim jaew or sweet chilli dipping sauce.
But be wary of filling up on the smaller dishes, as the larger options are worth holding off for. Feast on the twice-cooked crispy pork belly, stir fried with chilli jam, green beans, bean shoots and kaffir lime leaves, or a massaman curry with a choice of slow braised beef or lamb shank, with cinnamon, roasted cashew nuts and sweet potatoes. Not feeling carnivorous? Son in Law offers up vegetarian options such as the classic vegetable spring roll served with sweet chilli sauce.
End the night on a sweet note, with the marshmallow and Nutella puffs, full of berries, crushed cashew nuts and French vanilla ice cream. There are other dessert options, but we stopped reading the menu when we read Nutella.
There’s no better combination than Thai food and a cheeky drink. Son in Law have your boozing habits sorted with a range of craft beer, cider, light to medium bodied wine and a cocktail list to boot. You can even expect authentic Thai whiskey and rum. What more could you ask for?