To my mind, Sailors Thai Canteen, is the fuss-free equivalent of Longrain in nearby Surry Hills. Years’ ago Longrain had established a market in Sydney, hungry for its food, and even hungrier for its cocktails. Not too long after, Sailors Thai came through and swept up a crowd hungry for good quality Thai at reasonable prices.
Sailors Thai Canteen has a large communal table, rich flavoursome dishes served quick, and efficient nonchalant waitstaff. In its position in The Rocks in the northern part of the Sydney CBD around Circular Quay it could take advantage and charge through the roof. While it sticks to the same script year after year, the script doesn’t include taking advantage.
Even though it was raining, we were surprised to get a couple of seats on the communal table straight away after 7pm on a Friday. There for only a short time, we saw tables turnover quickly and few lingered long after eating. Everyone around us looked like they were having fun and we eagerly awaited our food.
Our starter was tofu wrapped and fried balls of chicken and prawn (hoi jor) that came out looking like a dim sim. Nothing to write home about, but we were hungry and they were tasty! We shared a pad thai and a pork curry for main. The pad thai was better than average. The prawns in particular were juicy and fresh. The pork curry (Gang Panang Moo) had nice additions of thinly sliced lime leaves and red chilli, along with some well cooked potato in a rich coconut and spice sauce. We were happy with what we had chosen and happy to skip dessert (nothing jumped out) in favour of turkish delight Easter eggs back at the hotel!
It’s not dirt cheap, but considering where you are dining, to get away for $50 each for plenty of food and a couple of drinks it is more than reasonable. While the communal table contributes to the turnover of diners, the other option is to order and take back to the hotel. Either way, Sailors Thai Canteen serves up nice traditional Thai quickly and will be doing so for many more years to come.