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The gang behind Spice I Am is back and on a mission to introduce Sydney palates to new Thai flavours scorching a few tongues in the process. The focus of the new venture, House, is the cuisine of Isaan – a region in the north-east of Thailand. So when you come for lunch or dinner, you need to forget everything you think you know about Thai cuisine – the menu will not have green, red or Penang curries, pad Thai, curry puffs or stir-fries. Instead expect fantastic house-made sauces, fermented and pickled nosh and chilli. It is a new experience and quite an adventure – although familiarity still exists in flavours like galangal, coriander, lemongrass and other typically-Thai ingredients.
The best way to experience the food is in the ample courtyard, under the light of paper lanterns, with a group of dining companions – the braver, the better. Dishes are designed to be shared and there are plenty to choose from. Milder appetites will appreciate moo ping (char-grilled skewers of marinated pork served with jin-jaew sauce) and the pla tord kra teim; a whole snapper with garlic and pepper deep-fried and served with jin-jaew and tomato and chilli dipping sauces (although, the spice-sensitive might want to keep the dipping to a minimum as the side sauces are tongue-tingling). Another must-try dish is gai yang – a char-grilled marinated chicken also served with spicy dipping sauces. Diners who prefer for their food to slap them around a bit more should look to salads which incorporate impressive amounts of chilli and "spicy" soups such as the tom yum powng kai. There are also milder, deliciously-stocky soups for diners who want to salvage their palates. A drink menu, including an affordable wine selection, can be found at each table but you'll have to order at the bar.