I love Thai food…regular readers will know this. I’ve been to Thailand several times and cook Thai food frequently, too. So I was excited about visiting Erawan in Chelsea Village in the Southern Suburb of Wynberg in Cape Town for the first time.
Chef Noom graduated from the prestigious Dusit Thani Thai School of Cooking, so that’s a good start. And the name has an intriguing Thai connection. Erawan is the Elephant God and the name refers to the rain clouds and lightning that result in rain sent down by the god Indra as he rides the elephant god Erawan across the heavens. According to Aryan legends, Erawan is huge, white and has 33 heads. Each head bears seven tusks and for each tusk there are seven lotus ponds. Each pond has seven lotus pads, each pad has seven lotus blossoms and each blossom has seven petals. On each petal dance seven angels and each angel has seven ladies-in-waiting. So there’s a lot going on there then!
A bit like there is on the comprehensive menu. There’s a wide range of sushi, a dim sum section, a good salad selection, chef’s specials and stir fries. Luckily you’re promptly presented with the prettiest bowl of prawn crackers I’ve seen in a long time to munch on while you carefully make your decisions.
We started off with a couple of dim sum delights. The Goong Tod – deep fried prawns with spring onion in a crispy wonton pastry came with a sweet chilly sauce. Jam packed with tasty minced prawns and beautifully crunchy.
Steamed spicy beef dumplings were stuffed with mushrooms, coriander, ginger and garlic and served with soya and chilli sauce.
All mains can be ordered mild, medium, hot or Thai style (beware!). As it was my first visit I cautiously went for mild just in case of disaster, next time I’ll confidently ramp it up to medium
There’s a lovely chef’s special choice from which we had the prawns cashew. Six sweet and juicy queen prawns were stir fried out of their shells in a light curry sauce with garlic, coriander, roasted cashew nuts and fresh vegetables.
The stir fry section has a list of sauces to which you can add your choice of fish or meat. I went for the stir fried fresh basil sauce – fresh vegetables stir fried with garlic and infused with fragrant basil and added pan-fried crispy pork. This is one of the nicest Thai dishes I’ve had, genius idea to offer crispy pork, so good I may well have to order it again on my next visit, oh yes, there will definitely be a next visit.
We ordered egg fried rice to complete our feast – it was perfectly done, glossy, light and flavoursome.
There’s also a main course stir fried rice and noodle dish section that we didn’t venture into this time.
Portions are substantial (you could easily share a main between two) and it’s really good value with starters mostly under R50 and my delicious pork dish R125 (around £2.15 and £5.40 in English money for any fellow UK dwellers lucky enough to be in Cape Town at the moment).
It’s a popular place with a steady stream of customers refilling tables as they’re vacated. All run with a gentle efficiency – you don’t feel rushed – and smooth service with a smile. Just what you’d expect from anything that’s a part of Thailand. Gotta love a new Thai eatery to add to the list.
Erawan is at 15 Wolfe Street, Wynberg, Cape Town.