Thai Pothong, Newtown

It is a wonder that with so many Thai restaurants in Sydney, that Thai Pothong commands the popularity that it does. Their menus proclaim 'Voted best Thai restaurant four years in a row' and you can be assured that the place will be filled with customers on a Saturday night.

Despite being located on busy King St, where there are a number of other Thai restaurants, Thai Pothong remains supreme. On this particular Saturday night, we have a reservation for 8pm but find a queue of people waiting on the street, all of whom seem to have reservations. My friend phones the restaurant, telling them that we have a reservation but can't get inside. Minutes later, a staff member arrives into the throng of people, calling out for my friend. We were ushered inside, with the waiting people looking on enviously.

Unfortunately, our VIP experience was short lived as we had to wait another 5-10 minutes inside for a table.

While waiting, I had a look around the restaurant and it is quite interesting. It is a very large resaturant, seating many, many tables including large groups (the internet tells me it seats 250). Everything on the walls and on the stands around the table, are for sale! This includes artworks, statues, lamps etc. Indeed, a small part of the restaurant is a giftshop. More about that later.

Large ceiling lights (don't think they would be for sale since they are a fixture)

Once seated, the staff apologised for making us wait. Looking around the restaurant, every table was full with no less than 9 birthdays taking place (you can tell by the birthday balloons hanging over particular tables). Indeed, during the course of our dinner, we heard 'Happy Birthday' being sung five times! Each time was a rousing rendition with staff members joining around the table to sing.

By this time, I was quite hungry. The cold, wintry night and the waiting had left my stomach growling.

Thai Pothong menu

Examples of menu pages

One of my friends ordered a hot jasmine green tea and we were surprised when green tea came for the whole table. A kind waiter informed us that the extra green tea was complimentary due to the long wait, and that we would also be receiving complimentary dessert.

My free green tea (unlimited refills)

We started off with some entrees:

Vegetable Curry Puffs (Garri Puffs) - $9.90 for 4 pieces
Lightly Fried | Vegetables | Curry Paste

The curry puffs were surprisingly delicious. The pastry tasted fresh, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were made in the kitchen (i.e. not pre-bought and frozen). The dipping sauce had a strong, pungent scent of vinegar and I used this sparingly.

BBQ Octopus (PLAMOUKYANG) - $9.9
Marinated | Grilled | Baby Octopus | Chilli | Sour Sauce

The octopus was nice and tender, with some pieces having a lovely grilled flavour.

The description of rice is the menu is quite amusing. It is described as 'Endless steamed Jasmine rice for everyone'. My friend and I were determined to make the most of this endless steamed rice!

Pot of rice (KHOW SUAY) $3 pp

As for mains, we decided to share:

Massaman Lamb (GANG MASSAMAN GAE) - $19.95
Mild Lamb Curry | Roasted Peanuts | Thai Herbs | Crispy Onions

Yes, of course I had to try my favourite Thai dish! I was initially tossing up between the duck curry and this, and in retrospect, I would have preferred the duck curry. The lamb was soft and fall-apart, the curry was the right consistency but I found it hard to differentiate from Thai 1st Time's massaman curry, which is almost half the price.

Soft shell crab salad - $24 something?

This was very nice. The soft shell crab had a marinated flavour that you don't get from soft shell crab served in Japanese restaurants. The rest of the salad was okay, a combination of unions, red capsicum and cucumber.

Stir fried prawns - $22.90?

I would have enjoyed this dish far more if the prawns were not frozen. I dislike restaurant dishes which use frozen prawns for a dish that is prawn-based.

I don't know if it was the cold weather, but our dishes got cold very quickly. This was disappointing because I like to mix the curry with my rice but cold curry is a bit unappetising.

The service was absolutely excellent, with waiters coming around several times to check that everything was fine and to pour water/tea for us. Great service is sometimes hard to find these days and I think more restaurants could learn from Thai Pothong's staff!

Once the mains had been cleared away, we eagerly awaited our complimentary dessert.

Complimentary dessert
Vanilla ice cream served with watermelon and orange slices

One scoop for each of us. It was a refreshing end to the meal.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, part of the restaurant is a small giftshop. Thai Pothong has a scheme for earning 'Thai Pothong dollars' depending on how you pay the bill:

Receive a 10% refund on your ENTIRE restaurant bill in Thai Pothong Dollars when you pay your bill in cash, or 5% when paying with your Credit or Debit card

Thai Pothong Dollars earned, and spent, will be rounded to the nearest Dollar.
ONE Thai Pothong Dollar is worth ONE Australian Dollar in our Gift Shop
Taken from their site HERE

So our bill total was about $93 and we paid in cash. Our change came back with ten 'Thai Pothong Dollars' to spend in the store. So off we marched to the giftstore. Since this dinner was a farewell for a friend, she was the lucky recipient of the Thai Pothong Dollars and chose a small bag of incense ($9.90) to take home with her.

Thai Pothong
294 King St Newtown 2042, NSW
(50 mtrs from Newtown station)

T: 02 9550 6277


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. people waiting outside AND inside

    the food doesn't look that spectacular... any lunch specials?

  2. I don't know if there are any lunch specials....

  3. Chilli Seeds Thai in Bexley North pwns Thai Pothong. Similar quality for lower prices!

  4. Hi arthur: I've never heard of Chilli Seeds Thai before - whereabouts in Bexley North is it?

  5. Chilli Seeds Thai is on the corner of Bexley Road and Shaw Streets in the heart of Bexley North. They are generally open at nights only but are packed on Saturday nights. Free BYO.

    I've been twice, once late last year and once earlier this year. Both were excellent experiences.