In Hobart, where compromise is the main ingredient in most Asian eateries and take-aways, when it comes to the food of Thailand there are the others and then there's Mai Ake Thai. It's a very stylishly designed space with lacquered furnishings and clean lines wrapped around the restaurant's wonderful focal point - an open, wok-flaming theatre of a kitchen. It delivers spice and flavours to match the warmth of the flames and serves up a lot more than the usual fish cakes, fried curry puffs and stickily sauced chicken wings.
Instead, from a menu ranging freely around the regional food styles of the country, the most popular dish by far is the masaman curry, redolent of aromatic spices and fried coconut milk, originally from the Muslim south of the country but now one of the most widespread and famous of all Thai dishes. The selection of Thai salads comes from the north east interior, while stir-fries like prawns with cashews and squid, smoky from the wok, come from the coast. And one shouldn't miss spooning up some of the pungent, golden broth of the "wet" jungle curry. About the only non-Thai thing you'll see among the spices and smiles is the Gaggia espresso machine in the corner.