You know how it is. You’re hungering for those clean fresh flavours of Thai food – something with a bit of a hit, but not too bad for you; flavours that linger on your tongue rather than fatty fried food for a change.
Tucked into the corner of Easy T Centre in Robina is a long-existing Thai restaurant. We love the name and have eaten great food from its chef, so we’re happy to become reacquainted.
Following the shape of the centre itself, Tuk Tuk is a sedate L-shaped room, looked over by a giant wooden Buddha head at one end. It’s a casual clean and tidy place, ambient enough to enjoy a good meal, the sort of little restaurant that you’d be happy to have around the corner to pop into on any free night, or to grab a quick takeaway as you drive past on the way home.
We speak to Pas Ucharatna, owner chef of Tuk Tuk Thai, who is well experienced in Thai cuisine.
“I’ve been a chef since 1998,” he tells us. “I spent many years working for other people, both as chef at Chiang Mai Thai and Lemongrass Thai, before opening my own restaurant,” he adds, recounting how he bought Tuk Tuk Thai from the previous owner three years ago.
Of all the Asian cuisines, Thai is one that many people love for its adaptability to family members’ dietary preferences. With sixty-five choices on the menu, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free are easily catered for, so when sharing a meal with friends, this is an easy fix.
The popularity of Thai food is matched only by the number of Thai restaurants, though less frequent in this area.
“When people order Thai food, they expect big portions for a small price,” Pas says.
That’s true. Viewing Thai food as a healthy, well-priced meal option, we often order a feast!
Our orders are taken, with entrées arriving not too long afterwards, all of a good standard: tasty Fish cakes and Satay chicken, the Coconut prawns crisp in their coconut casing, served with a curry mayo – mild creamy sauces to please local palates. Other entrées on the menu include Softshell crab, Salt and pepper calamari, Curry puffs and Prawn rolls.
We choose several mains to share at our table of four: a Choo Chee fish curry, the very lightly battered fillets piled high before drenching in a mild curry sauce; Pad Thai; and Beef salad. the grilled wagyu tossed through a Thai herb salad.
Our standout dish is Stir-fried basil beef, presented in a bowl with vegetables, fresh chilli, garlic and basil. The tender beef is complemented by the fresh and zingy flavours of Thai herbs almost bouncing off the plate.
Tuk Tuk Thai is particularly well-priced, with entrées priced between $7.90 – $8.90 and mains $15.90 – $19.50, with a 10% discount for takeaway. No meal is above $20 and the sizes are generous.
With the venue being licensed, there’s a choice of well-priced international beers and well-chosen wine to accompany your meal. Two wines caught our eye: Wirra Wirra Church Block, little more than bottle shop prices at $26.90, and Twelve Degrees Pinot Noir at $24.90 per bottle.
Our hint for next time? We’ll ask for at least medium curries, or perhaps even ‘as the chef desires’, taking the opportunity to gain a boost of heat and flavour.
Easy T Centre, 514 Christine Avenue, Robina Ph: 07 5580 8080
Open: Mon – Sun 11.30 – 2.30, 5pm – late
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Tuk Tuk Thai Robina.