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If we were about to walk the green mile, had made our peace, last rites had been administered and the rather kindly warden had asked that most crucial of questions – what would you like your last meal to be? – we’d pick Terminal Thai. This Thai restaurant in Sydney’s Leichhardt is for many the be-all-and-end-all of Thai dining in the inner west. From the alpha, an appetiser of, for example, cosy prawn blankets, to the omega, a dessert of banana roti with vanilla ice cream, Terminal Thai is fine Southeast Asian food for the endtimes. Become enraptured down Norton Street, but be gracious enough to book ahead – spaces on the spicy stairway to heaven are a little limited.
Let’s spin the wheel of history in reverse and begin at the end. We’ve mentioned the divine banana roti, but why not go deeper into the wilds of traditional Thai dessert and order up the egg custard with green sticky rice for a less-than-usual finish to your meal? Indeed, why not take the road less travelled and base your Terminal Thai experience around the chef’s specials? Some of these dishes you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Sydney; it’s here down Leichhardt’s Norton Street that you can find Thai delicacies like pla sam ros, deep-fried barramundi topped with chilli, Thai herbs, garlic, and a special, homemade sweet and sour sauce, or the Chinese-inspired crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce.
Terminal Thai likes to shout about the people’s vote when it comes to listing the best of their authentic Thai dishes. Perennially popular items from this Leichhardt Thai restaurant’s very long list include the money bags, deep-fried pastries stuffed with mixed vegetables, minced chicken and prawn, and served with a plum sauce for dipping. Real value for money, these. Hearty mains include the well-loved massaman beef curry or, yes, Terminal Thai’s take on pad Thai. Fans of this compulsory Southeast Asian dish will want to opt for the duck, or a combination of veggies, tofu, and seafood, and turn the spice dial to hellish. Without wanting to get too messianic about it, we all know that we are all, in a sense, terminal beings – at the very least life’s too short for bad pad Thai, so hop to it and make a reservation for your culinary preservation.