Whilst chatting with AH at work one day, he mentioned about Red Opium being newly opened along Hill Street that was sneakily located opposite the Perth Mint. I was keen to try this place even more when I saw that they had a 100% rating on Urbanspoon. What is it about this place that’s just drawing the crowds?
Having missed out on one Saturday evening, we gave it another try the following week and managed to get us a table. The only condition was that we needed to leave the establishment within 1hr15min. We didn’t mind, so we agreed and decided to try Red Opium out.
As we entered Red Opium, it felt like we were entering a different world altogether. Literally transforming their name into a combination of a ‘red light district’ and “opium den”, this place was filled with red lights, paintings of opium/cigarette smokers and even a traditional opium smoking ‘bed’! It was a brilliant expression of the name of the restaurant.
Having gone through the menu before, I had a rough idea of what I thought we would order… so after some discussions around the table, we decided on the following:
- Crying Wagyu – $16.80
- Tom Yum Goong “Hot” – $8.90
- Tom Kha-puccino “Hot” – $7.80
- Som Tum with soft shell crab “Hot” – $17.80
- F-Duck “Hot” – $23.80
- Jasmine Rice – $3.50 (not too sure if it’s per serve or per person)
- Mango with sticky rice – $8.50
- Thai Tiramisu – $8.00
The choice of mild, hot and very hot is up to the diner to debate on, and according to the manager of the place, mild is the use of a big chilli, hot the use of a chilli padi, very hot the use of two chilli padi’s.
The crying wagyu was a recommendation from the staff, and I was really quite excited to try the dish when it was served. There was a generous serve of meat, and sauce for that matter. The tender, melt-in-the-mouth wagyu was well complemented with the sweet/sour sauce with peanuts. I loved the texture but would have personally loved it more if there was a tad more chilli punch in that sauce.
The soups were shared amongst the three of us, with the Tom Kha-puccino aptly served in a large coffee cup. I was told to try this dish by others who have tried it, and the Tom Yum Goong was just a traditional favourite in my family so we had to try. The mother and I both preferred the Tom Yum Goong to the Tom Kha-puccino, which we found a tad on the sweet side. The tom yum goong had the right amount of tang and spice, especially towards the end of the bowl, when the heat started to take over… awesome!
The som tum is something we’d order whenever it is available in a Thai restaurant, and I was certainly delighted that it was available. The interesting twist to this dish was the choice of the addition of soft shell crabs. I really enjoyed the punch of chilli that this dish had to offer. There was a good amount of peanuts to the dish creating that textural delight, and not to forget those soft shell crabs. It was actually a surprisingly pleasant combination. Lovely!
The F-Duck is the modern take on the traditional red duck curry, which is usually served with pineapple and lychee. The dish was served in a dish with quite a large surface area, exposing the roast duck and other elements. I initially thought it was too little curry, but it turned out otherwise. The duck was moist, tender and full of flavour, and the curry was really tasty too!
Mom and I were definitely hanging out to try some dessert, in particular for Mom, the mango with sticky rice. I turned my eye immediately to the tiramisu when I saw that they had special guests of thai coffee and Kahlua amongst the usual suspects.
The mango and sticky rice was served unconventionally in a nice glass with the mango chopped up. Mom and Dad enjoyed this, with me the only one saying that it would be nicer with more coconut cream. But one can’t really go wrong with this dessert.
The thai tiramisu was a sheer delight, and I was a happy camper by the end of my dessert. The combination of the thick thai coffee and generous serve of Kahlua soaked in the sponge was an absolute winner, and the serving was just right. I would definitely order this again.
The service at Red Opium was spot on. The manager of the venue came over to check on each table, which gave the place a very personal feel. The waitress who took our order was patient and was willing to explain a number of things to us.
Overall, this was a beautiful experience at Red Opium. The food, despite the modern take to the dishes, presented us with tastes that are no less than the traditional places around, and an environment that transports you to a netherworld for a wonderful Thai experience.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rating by: S.T. a.k.a Miss Egg
Telephone: (08) 9221 8780
Address: Unit 21, 326 Hay Street (Entrance off Hill Street)