Lucky Queanbeyan! Their first Thai restaurant Thai Manor has returned after a lengthy hiatus. Although there’s a tweak to their name, a new central location and double the chef power, their commitment to providing the city with authentic Thai deliciousness is unchanged.
Long-time locals and regulars will remember when chef Mel (Thathong) Millar headed up Thai Manor near the police station 19 years ago.
Now called Manor Thai, the restaurant is back and Chef Mel is back, too! He and Chef Wanchai run the restaurant together. Mel says he was too busy as the sole owner of the original restaurant and that “going into this partnership was easy”.
Mel learned his trade in cooking traditional Thai food in Bangkok over 30 years ago. He was an apprentice chef at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok and at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. After completing his apprenticeship, he worked at both hotels before taking on the position of Sous-Chef at the Dusit Thani. Before moving to Australia, He was also the Executive Thai Chef at the Yin Yang Restaurant, Kathmandu.
Shortly after arriving in Australia, Mel established the Thai Manor in Queanbeyan, the first Thai restaurant in the city.
Chef Wanchai’s Thai cooking pedigree is also first class.
After studying Hospitality in Bangkok, Wanchai worked on cruise ships in the Caribbean.
He obtained his chef qualification at William Angliss College in Melbourne before working at prestigious locations on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Most recently, Wanchai worked at the Peninsula Hot Springs and Spa, developing his Thai Fusion talents at the Peninsula’s leading Thai Restaurant, The Light House at McCrae.
Earlier this year, Mel and Wanchai teamed up to develop the Manor Thai Restaurant in Queanbeyan. Mel says that former customers of the Thai Manor often come in just to say hello.
Wanchai says that as one chef has worked mainly in the south of Thailand and the other comes in the North, between them, the varied flavours of Thailand are covered.
Since their July launch, the chefs have used a trial menu to gauge what customers enjoyed and wanted for their 2020 menu.
Many dishes hail from the Issan region of North-eastern Thailand. Think chili peppers, peanuts, fragrant spicy salads and sticky rice.
The chefs recommend several dishes for first-time visitors. They say that customers tend to go for their curry options, the green curry, or their lamb Massaman, a dish much-loved by patrons from the original restaurant.
But make sure you try their Laab, the famous minced-meat salad. The meat is seasoned with lemon juice, fish sauce, chili, aromatic spices and herbs with roasted rice powder giving it a bit of a crunch. The chefs are happy to cater to their customer’s special dietary needs and taste requirements (just let them know).
If spicy hot is not your thing, their crispy chicken dish is a delicious option, whereas those seeking a heat challenge should order a Paad Kee Meow or a Jungle curry (both dishes have a double chili emoji next to their name on the menu so there’s fair warning).
When they cook for themselves, Chefs Mel and Wanchai usually whip up some chili basil featuring purple basil and bamboo shoots. This dish is D1 on the menu.
The chefs make all their own curry pastes and sauces from scratch.
Manor Thai’s beautiful logo is the Thai character for the number 9, synonymous to Thais with King Rama IX, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This character was chosen in honour of King Rama IX, who passed away in 2016.
Thank goodness Queanbeyan is so close!
Manor Thai is located at 59 Monaro S, Queanbeyan.
It is open every day (except Sunday) for lunch from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm and for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm.