This Northbridge restaurant, from the team behind Bangkok Jump Street, trades in home-style Thai with a sense of nostalgia.
The fireplace in the centre of this heritage-listed cottage may lie dormant, but Baan Baan has brought its own warmth to this Newcastle Street site with a sense of energy accompanying Thai dishes rich in nostalgia. Wide smiles complement vibrant greenery and walls splashed with street art, while the food is as comforting to travel-starved punters dreaming of Ko Bulon Leh or Chiang Mai as it is to those yearning for home.
Chef and owner Dao Thanasothorn grew up in Bangkok, and her fresh papaya salads and curries hark back to her youth, with influences ranging throughout Thailand: betel leaves serve as wraps for fried mackerel flavoured with ginger, lime and toasted coconut; grilled pork cheeks are sticky with tamarind sauce; and a Northern-style curry of slow-simmered beef rib falling from the bone is fragrant with ginger and pickled garlic, and exceedingly generous. Wines, which veer towards spice-friendly Australian labels, are poured with generosity to match, while fruit-driven cocktails start from just $14.
Betel leaves serve as wraps for fried mackerel flavoured with ginger, lime and toasted coconut, grilled pork cheeks are sticky with tamarind sauce, and a Northern-style curry of slow-simmered beef rib falling from the bone is fragrant with ginger and pickled garlic.
Having spent years running pop-ups as Bangkok Jump Street, the team was well-placed to pivot to takeaway-only during shutdown, where Thanasothorn’s signature whole fish grilled in banana leaf was a highlight. Returning in person, though, means a chance to hear the chef’s story of her family’s fish farm and orchard to go with it, a personal touch that suits the family-friendly tone, where groups and shared dishes dominate.
If you didn’t know that Baan meant “comfort and simple”, you’d easily guess: everything about this happy little place says just that.