One thing Sydney does not lack is Thai restaurants. But the new restaurant Viand (Thai for “assorted food”), which has found a permanent home in Woolloomooloo after briefly operating as a pop-up in late 2020 and early 2021, has a few quirks.
Viand’s menu is not long pages. Instead, it’s downsized to a neat eight-course tasting for $145 per person (or $120 per person for the vegan option). You won’t find ubiquitous dishes in most Thai restaurants in Australia, either – chef-owner Annita Potter hopes to offer diners something they might not have tried before.
“I don’t put green curry on it,” she said Large format. “I’m not taking anything away from the local Thai shop…I don’t want the comparison because [Viand] It’s not that.”
Viand celebrates the ingredients, flavors and nuances of Thai cuisine with dishes that can include pork curry cooked for five hours with tomatillos, makrut lime leaves and holy basil, and duck egg relish salted with aged pork, green mango and roasted shrimp paste.
“These are the kind of dishes I want to highlight because you can’t find these dishes anywhere and they’re a bit racy for Thai food in Sydney,” says Potter.
The Perth-born chef also aims to reflect her experiences in her menu. “I have a crab dish on the menu that I had with David once and it literally blew my mind, and so this is my version of that.”
It’s Thai cooking legend David Thompson, with whom she has worked for years at a number of his restaurants around the world, including the award-winning Nahm in London and most recently as executive chef of his famous Long Chem. She also briefly had a pop-up in the historic Macquarie Street Mint building.
The drinks menu is as short and sharp as the food menu, with a tight selection of palate-pleasing wines and cocktails to “pair the food perfectly”.
The kitchen, which is wrapped in an eye-catching red tile mosaic, has been strategically erected right in the center of the restaurant. Potter says the idea is to create a chef’s table experience for the entire dining room, so that all of the prep, cooking and plating is in full view of diners. Even those with their backs to the kitchen won’t miss a thing: there are mirrors on the walls for convenient viewing.
“I don’t want to be hidden in the back anymore. I want to engage with people and I want to talk to the clients I serve. It’s like they walk into my house and we have a dinner party together,” she says.
The dining room opens onto an intimate courtyard, which will be reserved for passing customers who will be offered a small à la carte menu which will be set up in the coming weeks. An upstairs space is also available for private dining experiences and will also serve as an artists’ collective led by Potter’s partner, painter Mark Wotherspoon.
41 Crown Street, Woolloomooloo
(02) 8590 0873
Wednesday to Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to late