Chilli Jam, Majors Bay Road, Concord

Very brave to open a mod Thai eatery on the Italian and cafe dominated strip that is the eating hub of Concord – one of many in the Inner West.  Another understated opening – no advertising, website or flyers in the mail that I could see – but given the regular traffic on this well known street, none was necessary.  Walking through the narrow front door, I was super impressed with the not-too-dimly lit, spacious interior.  Large oversized tables, huge cushion topped timber arm-chairs, generous aisles, and candles with the centrepiece being the three hanging globe chandeliers weaved with fairy lights suspended like sparkling moons across the room. And that’s just the decor. The food is equally impressive – and the value is outstanding for such a trendy well decked out place.

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We ordered four entrees – the duck wrap – kinda like a duck san choy bau sort of awkward in cos leaves, but with flavour that just explodes in your mouth, once you realise that it’s cold.  Finely chopped duck meat is mixed with chilli, cucumber, mint, onions and other exquisitely melded flavours. All entrees around around $5.9 – $8.90 which is pretty good value for anywhere.  Tom Yum soup was intense though a bit salty for some, filled with prawns, baby corn, mushrooms and topped with fresh coriander. Did I mention I love the servingware? 

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We also tried the prawn cakes (a twist on the usual fish cakes) – chicken and prawn mince shaped into patties and deep fried in breadcrumbs. They were outstanding, and great value – you get four the size of a regular hamburger patty, and not fishy (in a bad way) at all! The chicken meat sweetened the prawns even more.  I didn’t take to the taro puffs as much, square and crimped around the edges. The filling wasn’t tasty enough (maybe because the other things were so much so!).  But the essential money bags were text book perfect – crispy but not oily, filled and tied with a pretty chive, and double layered pastry for extra crunch.

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I think we decided at that point that we were totally stuffed because of the entrees, but too late! The mains consist of a three menus: curries, stir fries and noodles.  You pick your meat (chicken, lamb, prawns, tofu/vegetables) and then your desired sauce.  Combination 1 for us: Chilli Jam Prawns. $18.90 for prawns – fresh king prawns sauteed in the thick sweet chilli flavour with just perfect veges of snow peas, capsicum, and garnished dramatically with a long dark fried chilli.  Combination 2: Thai basil sauce rice noodles with chicken ($17.90 for chicken dishes).  A bit too much chicken, but the noodles were al dente and I loved the egg bits in it – all topped with lemon, and deep fried translucent basil leaves.

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Combination 3: Penang curry.  Chicken breast was a bit chewy as if it was already cooked, as opposed to chicken on the bone which would have resulted in a fall off the bone result, but good nonetheless and generous in proportion.  Poor curry. No one touched it because we were so full!  We really wanted to try one of the desserts – actually there was only one dessert! $8.90 for a large serve of black sweet sticky rice, served with Thai baked custard and drizzled with coconut cream.

I’ll definitely be back, and judging by some of the large groups we were a bit of a latecomer to the restaurant. Other interesting looking dishes include the whole barramundi and some of the salads.  So if you’re in the area and don’t feel like Italian – Chilli Jam’s the way to go!

Chilli Jam Thai Restaurant 104 – 106 Majors Bay Road Concord  (02) 9743 3400

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