Papaya Thai Eatery and Cafe, Camperdown

An exciting treat for you all this evening!  Today’s post is a special guest post from a friend and colleague of mine.

Who is this guy, you want to know? For now, all I’ll tell you is that by night, our mysterious guest poster is an appreciator of fine cooking, including his own. Otherwise, you can find him training with weapons, fighting, breaking boards and all things ninja at Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia, probably to work off all the food.

So, I’ll step aside and let friend/colleague/eater/assassin take the floor…

It was Sunday, 7:50pm. I just wanted to eat fast and cause my wallet as little pain as possible.  The latter is of particular concern as I, like Ms All You Do Is Eat, work in book publishing.

I was on Missenden Road in Camperdown and the Papaya Thai Eatery & Cafe seemed like it would do the part of shutting my stomach up.  What was meant to be a pit-stop during my race of a weekend turned into a delectable night of dining, and I will definitely be going back for more.

Girlfriend and I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so we only bought one dish each. We will be rectifying this mistake next time. Girlfriend ordered the Cashew Nut Curry with tofu and vegetables. It was mixed with chilli jam, mixed seasonal vegetables and cashew nuts. The sauce was the perfect texture, with great flavour that was not too overpowering. Tofu can be a tricky one, often undercooked, crumbly and bland. Papaya’s tofu was a treat. It had a crispy outer layer, and the insides were firm and did not crumble away after just one bite. It was well matched with the chilli jam and cashew flavour. A simple side of rice made this a filling, satisfying meal. Girlfriend took some home in a doggy-bag (thirty cents for a takeaway box), but this may have been partly due to the large lunch we enjoyed at Manly (but that’s another story).

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I had my favourite, Masaman Beef Curry. A mildly spicy red curry with potato and peanut. I’ve had some great Masaman in my time, and some pretty ordinary. Papaya gave me a new experience by serving the curry in what I’m calling a pot, although it is more of a tall bowl. Whatever you call it, it was tender wads of beef and sublime potato floating in a huge sea of the Masaman sauce. I was given a fork and a spoon for this dish, a wise call. I could have just drunk the sauce straight. It was an absolutely fantastic flavour, full of texture. Often there is never enough curry sauce, but I couldn’t say that about Papaya’s generous serving. I also got a side bowl of rice. I started by scooping portions of the potato and beef onto the rice and pouring in some sauce to mix through, but often found myself just drinking the sauce by the spoonful like it was soup. They even had a red chilli floating in the mix for the spice.
Both our mains were $11.90 each, plus $2.50 rice each on top. Girlfriend’s did not require so much rice but mine probably did. Most of the mains were in the $9-14 range, with a few above and plenty of entrees below. I’ve eaten at Thai restaurants where the mains are up to $30, and I have not enjoyed those as much as I enjoyed my Masaman from Papaya Thai Eatery & Cafe. It’s not too far from Girlfriend so I know she will be going there regularly. I will probably be seeing more of her just so I can go back to this place. Girlfriend, if you’re reading this, that was a joke. Really.

Papaya goes to show that you can enjoy fast service and inexpensive food that still tastes great!

Would I go? Sounds like I should!