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Red Hills Thai Tea House adds spice to Inner South renewal

By Sophia Brady 10 July 2018 0
order up at Red Hills Thai Tea House. Photo: Daniella Jukic

Order up at Red Hills Thai Tea House. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

South of the city centre, Red Hill is well known for offering an amazing lookout over many of our national icons and sweeping vistas of Canberra.

Drive down the hill and in the heart of the suburb, you will find the local shops on the verge of a new era. The beloved Red Hill Supermarket was sold in July last year, after serving the community for over 50 years. With the new owner, Brendan Irvine, at the helm, came a name change to ‘Red Hill Express’ and a vision to renovate and reinvent the space to serve the community for another 50 years into the future.

“We love being a pivotal part of the community in creating a space to connect. We feel we have a responsibility to the consumer to provide the best we can possibly offer and having local shops to be proud of. We have been given such a warm welcome and we have been so well supported by the local community, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.” said Brendan.

The renovations that are currently underway have seen the store shut since the beginning of June, with Brendan saying, “we will be increasing the floor space by around 40% with a major focus on fresh. We want to create an offer that has a wider range of healthier options, ready to eat meals, great service and a high level of convenience. Due to very complicated internal building works we are hoping to open mid to late August.”

Chef Nei Rattanakosol and his wife Fon. Photo supplied.

Chef Nei Rattanakosol and his wife Fon. Photo: Supplied.

At the same time as the supermarket was seeing a change in ownership in July 2017, right next door Chef Nei Rattanakosol and his wife Fon opened their own new business, Red Hills Thai Tea House

“I grew up working in my parents’ restaurant, ‘SukoThai’ (now closed) in neighbouring Yarralumla. When I finished my studies, I worked in the hotel industry and moved to the public service but that wasn’t my cup of tea. I resigned from the public service to follow my dream to become a chef.

“While Fon had worked at her family restaurant, ‘Lemon Grass Thai’ since 2004. She is always good at customer service orientation, with her interpersonal skills, she is loved by all the regular customers and the staff,” said Nei.

With this winning husband and wife combination of both front and back of house experience, Nei said “In July 2017, we opened our own restaurant, Red Hills Thai Tea House. The menu places an emphasis on presentation as well as maintaining the integrity of the Thai dishes.”

Chef Nei Rattanakosol teaching the next generation, his son, about the restaurant business. Photo: Supplied.

Chef Nei Rattanakosol teaching the next generation, his son, about the restaurant business. Photo: Supplied.

Since opening, the restaurant has become a neighbourhood favourite with Brendan Irvine saying, “We love it! My personal favourite is the Chicken Massaman. Great service and beautiful fresh food.”

Echoing the sentiment, local Red Hill resident and leading Canberra businessman Richard Rolfe and his family were thrilled when they discovered Red Hill Thai Tea House in January. Just around the corner from their house, the food is so good that the family eats in at the restaurant once a week. “It is nice that it is local and the people are so pleasant and the food is great!” said Richard.

As for the must-try dishes, Richard says: “For entree always start the meal with a serve of Dim Sim served with a fresh salad and the best sauce you have ever eaten.” Other family favourites include the Chicken Panang Curry with coconut cream, kaffir lime and sweet potato, the Chicken with cashew nutsBeef Massaman Curry with sweet potato and the highly original dish of Lamb Cutlet cooked to perfection served with a herb mayo sauce.”

Lamb Cutlet cooked to perfection, served with a herb mayo sauce. Photo: Sophia Brady.

Lamb Cutlet cooked to perfection, served with a herb mayo sauce. Photo: Sophia Brady.

Red Hills Thai Tea House is located at Shop 1, 1 Duyfken Place, Red Hill and is open Monday – Saturday from Noon – 9:00 pm. 

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