Thursday, 26 July 2012

Review - Aloi Na!

Monday, 27th Feb 2012

Aloi Na
61 Hardware Lane 

Cuisine: Thai, Asian

Taste Rating: 7/10   Value Rating: 7/10

Aloi Na on Urbanspoon

It was a drizzly and humid day with a maximum temperature of 30 deg C. High humidity is not the norm in Melbourne where summers are very hot but tend to be dry. We were in Hardware Lane  looking for a place to have lunch.

Hardware Lane has a stretch of restaurants which sit shoulder to shoulder. Most of the restaurants here have outdoor as well as indoor dining.  A common sight is  city workers lunching under the outdoor umbrellas or awnings. Several restaurants have spruikers in the lane touting for business from pedestrians.

We walked down Hardware Lane and popped our heads into a few restaurants while trying to pick a restaurant. For some reason, most of the restaurants were uncomfortably hot inside. Were they caught unawares with the hot humid weather or did the air-conditioning in Hardware Lane break down en masse? 

We finally decided on Aloi Na, for no particular reason. The restaurant was stifling inside so we picked a table under the outside umbrellas. The wait staff were dressed in black uniforms and seemed lethargic, presumably due to the heat. Our waiter had sweat running down his face! Overall service was slow, especially when it came time to pay as no one could be found at the cash register and after waiting a long time, I finally had to go and look for someone to take our payment. Was it because it was a Monday? Our waiter, however, was helpful enough when required during the meal.

The menu consists of Thai dishes but also has Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese dishes. There is the risk of an identity crisis with too diverse a range in a small menu. Or it could be a good attempt to please as many people as possible!

We ordered  Lamb Lemongrass with Jasmine Rice and Thai Fried Rice with Chicken.

The Lamb Lemongrass was tasty. The sauce had a medium chilli hotness. The lemongrass flavour was too subtle, however. You could only taste the lemongrass if you actually bit into a piece of the lemongrass. 

The Thai Fried Rice was not savoury enough for a Thai dish. There were big slices of chicken which were good. However, the vegetables were cut too chunky for a fried rice, with big pieces of carrots. You could get away with slices of meat but big crunchy pieces of vegetables sit oddly in a fried rice. The slices of cucumber and tomatoes as garnishes at the side were okay.

Overall, the dishes we ordered would be more suited to someone looking for a more Westernised taste. So while the prices were not overly expensive for a restaurant meal, you would feel let down if you were after a more authentic Thai taste. To be fair, we have tried only two dishes and the menu does have other Thai dishes. Then there are the dishes from other countries, as well, if that is your preference.

Hardware Lane

Aloi Na!

Lunch Menu

Page 1

Page 2

Lamb Lemongrass with Jasmine Rice

Thai Fried Rice with Chicken

Window looking into Aloi Na!

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