Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery

Rating: 15/20

  • 20 West Row, City, 6257 0700
  • www.thirstwinebar.com.au
  • Owners Jeff Piper and Justin Kavanagh, chef Jeff Piper
  • Open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday from 4.30pm, Wednesday to Friday, from noon
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Licensed, no BYO
Green curry with trout dumplings at Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery, in the city.
Green curry with trout dumplings at Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery, in the city. Photo: Gary Schafer

Bet you wouldn't chance a cheap Thai cafe with plastic chairs for a standout wine experience, right?

Well, that's just some of the unusual aspects of Thirst, which has one of the most enjoyable lists in town.

Where you can leave things in the hand of sommelier Travis Cutler, who will guide you through lovely aromatic whites and savoury reds of Austria, France, Australia that can stand up to the food you're eating.

This is not an easy thing, since the food is heady with chilli, garlic, coriander and other fresh aromatics from Thailand.

Jeff Piper - no, he's not Thai, used to run a classic French-based modern Australian place in the same spot - throws all his love of intense and pungent and wild Thai flavours into this food, and out pops what we think is the best Thai in town.

Favourites among the entrees are corn fritters ($10.90 for four) with rice flour, red-curry paste, chilli and coriander, fresh and satisfying; and fish cakes ($11.90). You'll also find smoked house-made sausage ($12.90) with lemon grass and galangal. Among the mains, a massaman beef curry ($21.90) is bold and sweet with potatoes, peanuts and palm sugar.

A fish salad with crispy bits of fried fish and green mango ($21.90) is an onslaught of garlic and chilli. A jungle curry ($25.90) on the specials board is a re-creation of the Thai jungle, eye-watering, jungle green curry with green chillies, green peppercorns and ginger.

There's a quail chopped in here, bamboo and Thai eggplant. The soup has to be one of the healthiest, happiest things on any menu around town, and among the desserts, unusual sorbets flavoured with the likes of ginger and pineapple; kaffir lime; or coconut ($1.90 a scoop).

You wouldn't describe the food at Thirst as refined. It's eclectic, bold, fun and full of the passion that Piper clearly feels for this cuisine.