Monday, July 09, 2012

House, Surry Hills

House on Elizabeth Street has a bit of a reputation...a HOT reputation. The food is authentic Isaan style from Northern Thailand...where the generous use of chilli is not frowned upon (at all), fermented anchovies are used liberally as a seasoning and the dishes are generally quite dry, not saucy like the Thai food most of us might be more familiar with. The food is designed be shared and enjoyed with friends and family, as is the way in Thailand.

House has long been on my wish-list so I was thrilled when Rachel organised a blogger meet up via twitter.  And the #ThaiFoodParty was born.

I think I probably missed out a bit on the true “House experience” as I wasn’t ordering any meat dishes.  Unlike other Thai restaurants there wasn’t a lot on offer for vegetarians (other than a few salads), and really only a few seafood dishes.   I didn’t spot any tofu on the menu at all (yes, meat lovers rejoice).  I have friends who LOVE House...they rave about the pork and duck dishes, but as I’m guessing they’re not free-range I abstained.

So what did I eat?  A really delicious Tum Mua Pla Krob ($8.00). In English that's a green papaya salad with crispy anchovies, dried shrimp, beans, Thai eggplant, cherry tomatoes, peanuts, garlic, lime and chilli. This dish had a bit of a chilli kick to it but it wasn't anywhere as severe as I was expecting.  It had a good amount of "dressing" too which helped wet the rice.

I also ordered the Pla Som Tod ($14.00) which is a deep fried fermented fish, seasoned with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, eschalots and chilli. It looks a bit like fish fairy-floss, very dry, packed with dried chillis and very very fishy in flavour.  I think this dish is probably great when ordered with "something" that goes really well with it...but I'm not sure what that would be, which is always the difficulty when eating WAY outside your normal eating-zone with others as unfamiliar with the cuisine as I was.

I only snapped a few dishes that the others were eating. The Jaew Horn ($18.00), an Isaan style hot pot of chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid, pork liver and seasonal green was a big hit down the other end of the table, and looked perfect for (another) wet Sydney night. Gai Yang ($16.00) was another popular choice - char grilled marinated chicken served with Jim-Jaew dipping sauce (the sauce was pretty spicy judging by the coughing and glasses of water being reached for).

It's not only spicy food that House is well know for. Their BTS (Better Than Sex) dessert gets a pretty good rap around town ($15.00).  Toasted brioche served with pandan coconut gelato topped with Thai caramel sauce and sprinkled with roasted black and white sesame seeds.  It's good...but is it better than sex? Depends on how bad the sex is your having I guess.

I really loved the Nam Kaeng Sai ($5.00) - Thai style shaved ice desert with sweet potato, sweet taro, pineapple and toddy palm seed was topped with Thai caramel sauce and coconut milk. Totally DELICIOUS and totally moreish...and totally better than sex...the dessert, not actual sex.

House is at 202 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 02 9280 0364.

House on Urbanspoon


  1. "Depends on how bad the sex is your having I guess" hhahaha :P

    sad about the vego options! I am really jealous of your foodparty and meets wish I could still see you guys :(

  2. Shame I missed this one, the food looks good!

  3. Ah, reminds me that I must organise the Atom Thai party. Vego options aplenty there. :)

  4. Had a salad here recently that blew my head off! The grilled chicken is awesome though :)

  5. Food looks friggen awesome! Thai food is definitely creeping up to be one of my favourite cuisines!! mmm

  6. ooh the salad sounds really good! i still haven't been yet but i am intrigued by the BTS dessert

  7. OMG I love thai food, I've never eatan here yet though! argh can't wait to try xx


  8. Mel, you are honestly SO good for abstaining from meat that you're not sure is free range! I'm impressed... especially when that choice means you have to eat a fermented fish salad! You're a star!

  9. Nice choice, love House! The Thai food is so different which is what makes it special but I haven't had their better than sex dessert yet.

  10. You take OUTRAGEOUSLY gorgeous photos, oh my word. Now I just want to eat, eat, eat!

    I clicked through from Nat the Fat Rat and I just love your blog--and the Miss Piggy theme! :) If you ever want to say hi, I'm Sarah from the Reverie blog.

    Nice to "meet" you!

  11. Have been meaning to try out this place in an day soon hopefully!

  12. I know exactly who to bring to here now that I know that the food is spicy and they have a dish called Better Than Sex! :P

  13. Oh how did I missed this meet up! I heard alot of good feedback about this place! The fish salad looks like the fish floss dish that the princess was cooking in MKR earlier this year.

  14. That green papaya salad with lime and chilli sounds yumm!!! Must try that better than sex dessert haha!

  15. I think the BTS here is pretty good. Haven't really been enamoured by their other dishes though.

  16. There are so many awesome restaurants in Sydney I've never heard of, like this one. Northern Thai - interesting! I should totally check it out!


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