The Spice I Am group of restaurants is one of the city's trailblazers, along with Chat Thai, both of which have carved out respective titles among Sydney's many Thai restaurants with multiple venues.
|Golden Siam cocktail at Spice I Am, Darling Street, Balmain|
Indeed, there's even a tempting Thai ingredient-inspired cocktail list at the Balmain outlet, including the tropically sophisticated Golden Siam with dark rum and amaretto, shaken into a fizz and hidden well by a trio of pineapple, guava and lime juices.
|Mini curry puffs|
They're not kidding at Spice I Am when they say mini curry puffs either - these were adorably cute, one or two-bite morsels of golden pastry filled with a lightly curried filling with plenty of potato.
|Bour tod - deep fried prawn betel leaf|
Served with a drizzle of a sweet chiili sauce, crushed cashew nuts, red chilli and coriander leaves, this oily innovation just made me crave a fresh betel leaf package even more.
|Mini pork satay|
|Yum hua plee - banana flower slad with king prawns and chicken|
Topped with both deep fried king prawns, the slivers of banana flower were mixed with shredded chicken breast and a seriously hot combination of roasted coconut, shallots and a nam prik pao dressing with plenty of chilli.
|Homok - steamed fish curry in banana leaf|
At this point, the beer bottles were starting to gather on the table, with water refills coming thick and fast.
|Pad prik khing - crispy pork belly|
It worked with us, sending a red curry paste stir-fried pork belly dish with green beans, chilli and kaffir lime leaves our way. This time, the crackling skin on the pork went some way in distracting us from the searing curry and chilli heat, though I wished there were more beans in the dish.
|Prawn red curry|
The prawn red curry was fairly generously sized with large, well-cooked, tail-on prawns, and Thai eggplants and slightly bitter pea eggplants which are not always common in takeaway Thai food.
|Mango sticky rice|
Thai restaurants seem to have a knack for sourcing the best local mangoes for their sticky rice desserts - this one featuring an appropriately petite pile of pandan-scented sticky rice - hands down my favourite Thai dessert.
|BTS (Better than Sex)|
No doubt, the pandan gelato was perfection but I found the toasted brioche and "Thai caramel sauce" altogether too rich and too sweet to stomach, especially after the explosive flavours of dinner.
Spice I Am Balmain isn't your standard suburban Thai takeaway: it is Balmain afterall, and with seductive cocktails and desserts on offer, I don't think anyone is complaining about the explosion of Thai food across Sydney's palates.