Last night was my 6th year anniversary and I was very excited about going out for dinner with my Husband. We wanted to try a new Thai place so with great reviews and recommendation from others who had been there, we decided on Thai Lemon tree in Croydon.
Upon walking in I noticed that the restaurant was very cramped as there was a rather loud 60th birthday dinner happening and they had tables in the centre making a large rectangle to accommodate for this. We approached the counter as was greeted by a super friendly man who I think may of been the owner. We were offered a seat out the back (outside) but it was rather dirty and cold out there so we opted for inside. The only table free was one right at the back in the corner , we had limited choice so we took that.
As we looked over our menu we were quite disturbed by the noise coming from the large table as most of them had a bit too much to drink and did not care about the other patrons and the staff were not doing anything to minimize the noise so it put me on edge a little. However looking over the menu I relaxed a little and was really looking forward to their amazing food that I had heard about.
We decided on my favourite, roti bread and also chicken satay skewers for entrée. I was hungry in anticipation and could not wait, but wait I did! It took a good 25 minutes at least for our entrée to come out. Our chicken skewers were nice and soft but they were barely warm as was the roti bread. It seemed as though it had been sitting on a bench for some time before it got to us. The roti bread was a huge disappointment. It was dry and bland and had no flavour to it whatsoever and the sauce was chunky with peanuts and not smooth at all. Although the sauce was okay it was not one of my favourites.
For mains we ordered soft shelled crab which was marinated and then deep fried with garlic and ginger, Chicken Pad Thai and Thai style chicken fried rice.
We waited at least another 35 minutes for our mains and during this time we watched another couple who had come in after us get given their mains and finish even before ours came! I think being in the corner we were just forgotten about! ” Nobody puts Baby in the corner ” Not only that we had to deal with the people from the rectangle table walking around and talking to others while having their butts literally in my face (NO JOKE!)
My soft shell crab was a real let down, especially given that it was almost $26.. I was looking forward to this the most but the batter was thick, flavourless and it tasted like it had been fried in used oil, leaving me with a coating of grease in my mouth. I could not even eat it all. However the crab inside was delicious and soft.
The Pad Thai was okay but not the greatest. The sauce was really thick and oily unlike other Pad Thais that I have tried before. However it was nicer than the soft shell crab.
The Thai style rice was the nicest dish, even with having dry chicken. The rice had a beautiful flavour and there was plenty of ingredients and was cooked really well minus the chicken.
The highlight was our apple cider and that came from a bottle!
By the end of our food, which we didn’t finish, I was feeling quite sad. I was hoping for an incredible experience but it was rather ordinary. In the end I had to leave as people from the rectangle started making jokes about Indigenous people and the stolen generation and mocking them. I just had to get out of there as I could not hold my tongue any longer!
So where did Thai lemon tree go wrong tonight? Because surely they are not normally this bad, others rave about them! I think tonight they had a huge booking for a 60th and should of closed and focussed on them as we were forgotten despite also booking. Food was left to go luke warm and the quality that other have experienced was not there tonight which means they cannot handle the volume of people. The kitchen was obviously over stretched and it showed in the food that was served. The manager and wait staff did not think of their other patrons when the other large table was being obnoxiously loud and making racist jokes, and as a manager they really should of been asked to politely keep the noise down as there are other patrons trying to enjoy their meal. People would expect that if it was a bunch of noisy toddlers! It is sad because I really wanted to love this place.
So for my experience last night I sadly have to give Thai lemon tree in Croydon a 4.5/10.
Annie Bean xx