It has been over two years since Morks opened their doors at Kingston Foreshore. Throughout these two years, I’ve been there numerous times and everytime it has been very satisfying. If you think the Thai you had last week was the very best in Canberra, I am so sorry, but you’ll need to get yourself a table at Morks ASAP!!
People who live on the Northside of Canberra would be familar with Morks because they used to be in Florey shops before moving to Kingston Foreshore. My first encounter with Morks happened when I was looking for new places for lunch one day. Did an online search and BAM found a contemporary Thai restaurant called Morks, so I decided to give it a go. After the first lunch at Morks, I instantly fell in love with their food. It must had been their twist on traditional Thai foods. Even though I love traditional Thai food, it does get a a bit boring. I can actually order food at a Thai restaurant without even looking at the menu, simply because the Thai food scene in Canberra is all the same.
Morks is a bit different from the other Thai restaurants in which their menus are printed daily, so the foods you see here may be different to the ones offered. The menu is split into three sections, entrees, mains and dessert.
I am a real sucker for Thai beef salad. Whenever I see it on menus in Thai restaurants, I always have to order it. But I am always disappointed as the beef in the salad is always really tough. The Tongue in Cheek is Morks rendition of the Thai beef salad and is a complete game changer. They use Wagyu beef cheeks, I feel really sophisticated when I order Wagyu beef as there is more fat marbling than ordinary beef which meant more tender meat. However at Morks the choice of cut is the cheek, which is usually full of connective tissue and is more suitable for braises and stews. I was not sure if I made the right move ordering a Thai beef salad made with beef cheeks as I didn’t want to be faced with more disappointment. It was until I took my first bite and the beef were so tender that even my grandma would be able to eat it. They employed a techinque called sous vide. Also you may notice there isn’t much leafy greens in the salad, only some finely diced tomatoes and cucumber.
At Morks, they like to have fun naming their foods. For instance, what comes to mind when you hear Scallop and Pig? For the pig element I was hoping there would be some bacon, but no there’s no bacon. I don’t know if they actually use bacon in Thailand… Anyways it turns out the pig element is a slice of pigs ear terrine. Those who haven’t had pigs ear may be put off by the strange gelatinous texture followed by a crunch of the thin cartilage. But being raised up in a Chinese household, I had nothing to fear. The scallops are quickly seared with the centre still quite raw, which in my opinion is the best way to serve scallops. The plating is really simple and clean. At first I thought they forgot to add the nahm prik (Thai dressing made of chillies, limes, fish sauce and maybe garlic) until I picked up the scallop and discovered there was a clear puddle of liquid beneath the scallop. It may look like there isn’t enough dressing but trust me it is sufficient. As Marco Pierre White would say “Less is More” (Yes I had been watching Masterchef). This is one of the dishes I always order whenever I go to Morks. Don’t worry there is actually four pieces in a serve, I just had to dive in before snapping a photo.
The other staple I always order is the Angel Prawns. The prawns are come with a coconut curry and is served in an earthenware dish covered with lids. Simply take off the lid and reveal a plump prawn slathered with a mild yet addictive coconut curry. The best bit I like besides the prawn is the curry underneath the prawns. Not your average curry because you are able to eat this with a fork.
This is one of the newer dishes offered, Fried squid, lime, chilli. This is perfect in all ways, crispy, flavourful and most importantly not greasy!! They chose to use the entire squid, body and tentacles (the tentacles are the best pieces because they get really crispy after frying). The squid pieces are coated in a very thin batter, fried then dusted with a subtle chilli powder and is served with lime and kewpie mayonnaise.
This is another new dish off the menu, Crispy Pancake, Pad Thai Noodles. If you like tacos and Pad Thai noodles, this is the dish for you. The noodles are served inside a crispy pancake, similar to the Vietnamese pancake (which is adapted from the French crepe, as France once ruled Vietnam). It is served with a side of bean sprout slaw. The crispy pancake does complement the pad Thai as it adds another layer of texture.
I reckon the best way to eat flounders is to deep fry them. Like in Chinese restaurants, they have salt and pepper flounder, at Morks it’s Crispy whole flounder, turmeric and garlic rub, Nahm jim. Although the flounder is deep fried, there isn’t a hint of dryness in the flesh. You can eat the flounder as it is and taste the turmeric and garlic or you can dip it in the Nahm jim. The Nahm jim is very addictive and tasty, and very acidic with hints of spiciness. Basically the essence of Thai food.
The other main I order to share was the Pork belly, caramelised soy, young mango, Thai herbs. It comes in four pieces per serve but the pieces are quite large, one per person is more than enough. The pork belly sits in a puddle of caramelised soy, topped with medley of Thai herbs and onions. I do recommend you order some rice to accompany this as the caramelised soy is really good mixed with rice. Lime is offered to those who lighten up the pork belly.
After consuming large amounts of proteins, it’s time for some vegetables. This is the Buddha’s green curry. This is a vegetarian Thai green curry, made with asparagus, sweet potato, potato and cassava(not too sure). Topped with fried curry leaves. This is another dish that requires rice to help soak up all the sauce.
I chose the Old school fried rice over plain jasmine rice was purely out of curiosity, I want to know what is old school fried rice. Besides the essential egg, there are also crispy dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, onions and fried shallots. It was really comforting eating this fried rice because if would remind me of my mums fried rice. I didn’t actually notice that the fried rice was meat free until I had my second to third spoonful. I wonder if they would do this fried rice takeaway, cause I would much prefer this than the mediocre fried rice from Chinese takeouts.
From looking at the menu, Morks probably love Pokemon. Previously they had the ‘Jigglypuff’ which is a lychee sorbet. The current flavour is mango gelato and is named ‘Pikachu, I choose you!!’.
Morks is currently my number one place for Thai food in Canberra and I highly recommend it to those who haven’t been. Once you’ve been you’ll be hooked, like me.
Address: 18/19 Eastlake Parade, Kingston ACT 2604
Phone: (02) 62950112
Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday 12pm – 2pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Thursday 6pm – 9.30pm, Friday & Saturday 6pm – 10pm