It was hard to imagine such a tasteful interior existed inside of Shark Hotel (not that I think that Shark is shabby or anything). I just did not expect that they would do up the place so well - even using earthen shades of mortar and pestle as decor.
They have quite a reputation and one would easily mistake them for a Thai place. I see a confused look on your face now. Trust me, I had that same reaction until I found out that this family-run business is actually Laotian but one that cooks up a Thai storm. As Laos is a tiny country neighbouring countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and China, it would make sense they use similar cooking methods and ingredients, especially herbs and spices.
First up, we had the Thai Papaya Salad ($11.90). Sour enough to jolt you awake if you are feeling sleepy.
We also enjoyed the Seafood Tomyum ($17.90), which in our opinion, had a generous amount of seafood in it.
One of my all-time favourite orders at a Thai place is the Red Duck Red Curry ($17.90), and in my opinion, the one they served here was fantastic! I could not get enough of the curry! The duck pieces were tender and juicy, too.
Stir-fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts ($13.90) was nothing to shout about - done like any other Thai place.
Now, two highly recommended things that you must order at Holy Basil are not main dishes. Instead, one is a drink while the other is a dessert.
The drink is none other than the Watermelon and Lychee Ice Blended ($5.50). Super addictive even for a non-cold drink lover like me!
The most famous dish served here has got to be the Holy Basil Fried Ice Cream ($13.90). You must think that we were mad to pay that much for a piece of fried ice cream, which is less than RM3.00 ($1.00) back home. But hey, this was one hell of a melt-in-your-mouth-roll-your-eyeballs-towards-heaven kind of fried ice-cream. Really.
Be sure to make a reservation, especially if you are thinking of having dinner here. They are very popular and without a reservation, it would take at least 30 minutes before you get a table. But once they get your orders, food as served pretty quickly.
Shark Hotel 127 Liverpool Street, NSW 2000, Australia.
Tel: +61 2 9283 8284
Open daily 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 11:00pm