By Jo Rittey


Chalawan is the first celestial body with a Thai name. Named last December after a mythical and villainous crocodile king, the star formerly known as 47 Ursae Majoris is the a yellow dwarf star in the constellation of Ursa Major. It is also the name of the latest addition to the burgeoning Smith Street family.


Chalawan is a big name to live up to, but by all intents and purposes, this little gastrobar has been wowing patrons since its launch in late June.


Designed by Studio Equator, the narrow, yet beautiful space is anchored by the reptilian central bar covered in scale-shaped turquoise tiles, while the vaulted exposed beams down the length of the dining room draw diners’ eyes to the Chalawan Crocodile King mural on the back wall.


Chalawan is the first Australian outlet from the team behind renowned Bangkok venues Hyde and Seek, Peek-A-Boo and Smith. The Collingwood venue is even staffed by an all-star team direct from Bangkok, ensuring that all the zest, vibrancy and vigour of Thai cuisine comes through on every plate. This grounding in Thai flavours is paired with modern techniques, local produce and ingredients to bring two hot food destinations together for your northside pleasure.


Start with the Tom Kha Hoy Shell pan-seared scallops with lightly fried oyster mushrooms in a frothy Tom Kha broth. The Khao Soi Gae is a Northern Thai curry with slow-roasted lamb shoulder served over handmade black sticky-rice tagliatelle. The ultimate of contemporary Thai dishes on the menu to delight any gastronome is the Gaeng Dang Ped, a confit of Mikleham corn fed, free range, duck leg red curry, with grilled lychee on a bed of mixed quinoa and lentils.


To match the outstanding food menu are the snappy ‘Croctails’, made using premium spirits and featuring house-dehydrated fruit. Nawin Pimolrat, Chalawan’s head bartender, has created a list of drinks which will take guests straight to the streets of Bangkok. A highlight is the Islander Cobbler with its fusion of Plantation 5 Years, Pavan, Toddy Palm, Passionfruit, Citrus, Mango and Kaffir lime leaves.


Cheers! Or maybe chok dee is more appropriate.


102 Smith Street, Collingwood

Tuesday–Thursday and Sunday 5.30pm–10pm

Friday and Saturday 5.30–11pm

Closed Monday

Jo has an exotic (kiwi) accent, loves good food and wine and has just a touch of the required culinary cynicism when it comes to the misuse of apostrophes and the hype over kale.

Something to say..? Leave your comments here.

facebook like buttonStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via Twitter