Thursday, 16 May 2013

Nine Elephants Docklands - Ring of Fire

Sometimes my hedonistic tendencies cross into sheer and utter stupidity and like a child playing with fire, when I am asked "how spicy do you want that?" I can never resist proclaiming I can take any amount of spice that you can offer. Like my love affair with sake (the Japanese alcoholic drink, not the restaurant) large amounts of spice always seem like a good idea at the time, however I tend to suffer later. After ordering a plethora of food at Nine Elephants, the question of spice was asked and answered with my usual affirmation. Despite the consequences the next morning, the taste was worth it.

The Drunken Chicken ($7.50) was the first to arrive after placing an ambitious order for two people. Three small drumsticks that did not display any taste of alcohol however there was a faint taste of ginger. The vegetarian-friendly Chive Dumplings ($9.50) was the next course of sorts. A delicate rice pastry that contained chives, herbs and a gentle amount of spice that encouraged me to start drinking Singha beer ($6.50) at a faster rate despite knowing that it would not eradicate the burning sensation in my mouth. Four Spring Rolls ($6.50) accompanied a serving of Roti Bread ($4.00) and despite being predictable in taste, assisted in differentiating the flavours inherent in the dumplings and offset the spice a bit.

Leaving the land of entrees and entering the valley of mains was the difference between night and day. Khao Ka Nah Mooh Grob ($15) included stir-fried pork belly with Chinese broccoli, minced chilli and garlic along with the requisite jasmine rice. The vegetables were fresh and crisp and the pork belly was fatty. The levels of spice were extreme and I was left taking an intermission, which almost left me sleeping on the floor holding my bottle of beer whilst I waited for the sting and raging inferno to die down in my mouth. This is when I knew - absolutely knew - that I would be suffering the next morning, but I didn't care. I had liquid courage and some damn good food. Beside the pork belly, we ordered a Gang Dang ($13.50), another vegetarian option that is incidentally also gluten-free, which is a simple beef red curry which left my mouth and tongue tingling, my nose running and required yet another Singha to artificially cool the burn. Torturing my already abused body paid dividends as in the end, we both wanted spicy Thai food and we got what we wanted.

Located on Village Street near the Platform 28 Bar and Etihad Stadium, the restaurant can easily be overlooked because of the awkward street frontage. The room itself holds about forty people and has what seems to be a dispatch box on an elevated floor. You are almost left to wonder if Peter Slipper was going to come out of the toilet and take his place in the box to direct proceedings. Service as a whole was kind and attentive and in general helped make for a relaxed experience. With the construction in the area, the corporate types and of course Etihad stadium, a trip to this restaurant should be planned so that you are not inconvenienced by the large lunch crowds, traffic, closed roads or masses of people. Some proper planning though will lead to an enjoyable experience at what is certainly a shining star in the relatively dull Docklands precinct.

Nine Elephants, Village Street, Docklands

Nine Elephants
67 Village Street, Docklands VIC 3008
(03) 9670 9909
My Rating: 13/20
Service: 3.25/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3.25/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 89% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Nine Elephants.

Nine Elephants on Urbanspoon