Hun-Bastard Salad and Egyptian Iced Tea. Picture by Carlota Arias
Escape the hustle and bustle of Potts Point/Kings Cross at "Bang Tang: Salad 'n' Roll - Good Food with Naughty Soul".
Just off the main strip of Kings Cross on Darlinghurst Road, nestled amongst the cafes and restaurants in revamped Llankelly Place, discover the tantalising treats of Thai-born, owner and chef Nat's intimate and relaxed eatery "Bang Tang". The latest addition to Potts Point's myriad of places to eat, Bang Tang has an original and unique twist on the usual South East Asian eateries dotted throughout Sydney.
With a background in fine dining Nat wanted to create a simple, intimate space using fresh produce to create healthy, tasty, innovative dishes he describes as a fusion of Indochinese cuisines. The first time I tried out Bang Tang I bought one of the Rolling Magics on my way home - two generous rice paper rolls (so plentiful I had one for lunch and one for dinner) filled to the brim with chicken and a rainbow of fresh, shredded vegetables accompanied by Bang Tang's yummy Goddess Chilli Sauce.
My next visit to this little oasis, in what can be described as a hectic, animated and vibrant area, I had The Hun-Bastard salad - perfectly poached shredded chicken breast, cashew nuts, ginger and seeded mustard on top of an abundance of greens, sliced carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sliced radish, spanish onion and thai mint with a zingy dressing (again I took half of it home for dinner!). To complement my lunch I ordered some "House-brewed Egyptian Iced Tea" - a blend of Ceylon tea, organic hibiscus, rosebuds, rose petals and rock sugar - so delicious and refreshing (photo above).
This particular day I had time to savour the experience. Nat and his team are so lovely and friendly and have eclipsed the art of excellent customer service. As I grazed on my salad, listening to the chilled, funky jazz music in the background and did some people-watching, I noticed how the staff remember everyone who has been there and go out of their way to make their guests feel relaxed and comfortable.
Then (drum-roll please) the highlight of my day happened when I spotted "Vietnamese Coffee" on the blackboard. I asked Nat if it's traditional Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk and when he said "Yes" I actually gasped in pure delight! I hadn't had cà phê sữa nóng (hot Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk) or a cà phê sữa đá (the same but with ice) since I travelled throughout Vietnam in 2009 - it's a staple there and I drank copious amounts of it every day. Nat creates his own brew with arabica, robusta and Vietnames coffee beans and I felt like I'd been transported back to Saigon...bliss.
I returned the next day, worried that I was developing an addiction to Bang Tang, not just to the food, drinks and gorgeous staff but to the ambience of the place. As a resident of Potts Point for the past 17 years I've never discovered anything in this area that can even slightly compare. I've set myself a challenge to try everything on the menu and there are always specials - different dishes, homemade iced teas and herbal teas. This time I had the bargain lunchtime feast, "The Bang Lunch Box", only $12. You choose a salad; I chose the Tofu-Passion (crispy tofu, avocado, passionfruit, kaffir lime with the same fresh salad base) and it comes with a "Cigar Roll" (Bang Tang's crispy chicken roll) and a soft drink. I opted to pay a little extra to try the "House-brewed Lemongrass Iced Tea" - fresh lemongrass, pandan leaves, Thai herbs and rock sugar. It was definitely worth it...exquisitely invigorating. If you don't want to purchase a drink the jug of complimentary water contains Binchotan charcoal from the Kishu region of Japan. Binchotan active charcoal is 100% natural and has been used in Japan as a water purifier since the17th century. Pretty cool.
My next indulgence at Bang Tang will be on a weekend when they serve breakfast/brunch - "Indochinese Pan-Baked Eggs with homemade Tomato Relish, Lemon-chicken Sausage, Pork Floss and Turkish Bread". I can't wait!
Bang Tang Salad 'n' Rolls - 50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point NSW 2011
Hours - Lunch Mon-Sun 12 - 5pm, Dinner Fri-Tues 5 - 9.30pm
Phone - 0403 179 270
Facebook - www.facebook.com/bangtangsaladnroll
Instagram - @bangtangsaladnroll
Website - www.bangtang.com.au
Vietnamese Coffee. Picture by Carlota Arias