A friend's recommendation led me to Green Peppercorn Thai and Lao Restaurant on a Sunday evening. Situated near Fairfield station, we thought that there would have been ample parking available, but had a bit of trouble finding a spot on the street outside, and had to circle a few times. Once we got to the restaurant, we saw a sign stating that there was parking located at the rear of Fairfield Hotel, the building in which the restaurant was located in.
A few days prior, I had attempted to make a dinner reservation for myself and three family members in order to save us the trouble of having to wait for a table. When I called Green Peppercorn, a member of staff kindly informed me that they only took reservations for groups of 15 people and over. She said that generally they wouldn't be too busy around the time I wanted to come, and that I shouldn't have trouble getting a table. With this information, my family and I arrived at Green Peppercorn at 6:30pm. When we set foot inside the restaurant, we noticed that it was fairly busy, with only a few tables free in sight. An attendant showed us to our table and gave us only one copy of the menu saying it was all they had. A few minutes later he returned with an extra copy of the menu for our convenience.
Shortly afterwards, a waitress came to our table to take our orders. Not long after that, a server came to our table and presented us with some drinks that we had ordered. My brother had the Strawberry, Watermelon and Lychee Fruit Shake ($6.50) while I had the Custard Apple Fruit Shake ($6.50).
Custard Apple Fruit Shake - icy and refreshing.
Strawberry, Watermelon and Lychee Fruit Shake - recommended by our waitress as a popular mixture.
The drinks were blended with ice, and were refreshingly cold and fruity. My Custard Apple shake was slightly creamy and very sweet. The consistency of the fruit shakes were very smooth.
Pad Thai was the first dish to arrive
After our drinks, the first dish that arrived was the Pad Thai with Vegetables ($10.90). The rice noodles were sweet, and were garnished with a squeeze of lemon, which gave the noodle dish an acidic tang, offsetting the overall sweetness. The crushed peanuts after being mixed through the noodles gave the pad thai differing textures.
Laos Style Papaya Salad - much spicier than I had expected.
The next dish to arrive was the Laos Style Papaya Salad ($11.90). Laos Style Papaya Salad is much hotter than Thai style Papaya Salad, and I wouldn't recommend it for people who can't handle chilli. It is also much more sour than its Thai counterpart, being flavoured with crab paste in addition to fish sauce and chilli. When ordering the Laos Style Papaya Salad, the waitress gave us a few options for spiciness, ranking from mild to very hot. Being confident in my ability to handle chilli, I told her we would have it hot. She gave me a word of caution saying that it would be very hot, but I stuck with my choice. When I tasted the dish, I wished that I had listened to the waitress's words of caution. It was extremely hot, almost to the point of being unbearable. Despite the unanticipated hit sensation, the taste was still undeniably good, and I decided to forgo a slight bit of discomfort and eat it anyway. The sour hit of fish sauce and crab paste was what I particularly enjoyed.
Soft Shell Crab - crisp and well cooked.
Green Peppercorn's Soft Shell Crab ($16.90) was one of the best offerings of soft shell crab around. It was crisp without being oily, and had a pleasing crunch when bitten into. It came with two sauces, one of which was a simple sweet chilli sauce, and the other one was a very interesting sauce, simply described as 'mum's special sauce' on the menu. I loved the sour and spicy flavours of the special sauce, and only used this one as a dipping sauce for the soft shell crab.
The Salt and Pepper Calamari ($16.90) was also excellent. I've had my share of terrible salt and pepper squid, and Green Peppercorn's version was definitely not one of these. Green Peppercorn's Salt and Pepper Calamari was crunchy, with an interior that had the distinctive chewiness of squid.
Charcoal Barbecue Ox Tongue
We had a few meat dishes, including the Charcoal Barbecue Ox Tongue ($10.90) and Lao Sausages ($10.90). The ox tongue and lao sausages both came with dipping sauces. The ox tongue was succulent and chewy without feeling tough. It had a subtle smoky taste, and the spicy & sour dipping sauce added some interesting flavours to the meat.
The lao sausages were cut into pieces for diners' convenience. The pieces were large and crisp on the outside, with tender meat on the inside. The sausages had been additionally flavoured with spices, giving them a traditional Laos taste.
After we finished our savoury dishes, we were brought the dessert menu, and spent a few minutes deciding what we wanted. For once, I had trouble settling on an option as all of the desserts sounded very appetising.
Finally, we settled on the Coconut Lava Crumble ($11.90) and the Black Sesame Crème Bruleé ($14). We had to wait a slightly longer time for the desserts than for any of the other dishes we had that night.
They arrived after about a 10-15 minute wait. The Black Sesame Crème Bruleé was presented in a bowl that was longer than it was deep, and the hard top was a dark greyish black colour instead of the usual brownish gold.
Black Sesame Crème Bruleé
When I cracked the top of the crème bruleé with my spoon, it gave way to reveal a creamy greyish black coloured custard. When I tasted it, it had the unmistakable taste of black sesame, along with a hint of classic vanilla. The custard was creamy enough, and the shell of the crème bruleé was also hard enough, but there was something I didn't like about the taste of the cream.
Coconut Lava Crumble - a more conventional dessert.
The coconut lava crumble was served in a round beverage glass and included coconut jelly, vanilla custard and macadamia crumble layered over a mango sorbet. It was probably the nicer out of the two desserts, and also more conventional. The flavours of coconut, vanilla and mango accentuated each other well, as each flavour was delicate without being too overpowering. The macadamia biscuit crumble also provided a differing texture to the overall softness of the coconut lava crumble.
Traditional Laos & Thai statues are what make up the decor at Green Peppercorn
The service at Green Peppercorn had been exceptional all throughout the night. Our main waitress, although seeming to be quite busy, always had a lovely and welcoming smile on her face when speaking to me. The other servers also appeared quite friendly and polite.
Cute buckets that held the cutlery on every dining table
I found the price range to be a little bit higher than a traditional Asian restaurant in this area of Sydney, but thought that it was well worth it as the quality of the food was so good. The atmosphere was rather noisy, but it couldn't be helped as the restaurant became quite busy later in the evening. As they don't take bookings for small groups or couples, I'd recommend coming earlier in the evening, around 5pm or 6pm. The décor was much nicer than a typical Asian restaurant, but not so nice as to alienate the customers. Overall, the food and service were of a high standard, and it is probably one of the best Laos and Thai restaurants in Sydney.
Where: 1 Hamilton Road Fairfield NSW
Why: For top quality Thai and Laos cuisine
Cost: Medium range
When: Lunch and dinner seven days a week