06 Dec Colonel Tan’s
Colonel Tan’s (AKA Revolver Upstairs)
That’s right. If you haven’t heard, Colonel Tan’s is open for business Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 11, and even on Friday for lunch. Created by the owners of the Cookie-Revolver Upstairs-Toff In Town-Magic Mountain Saloon-Boney phenomenon, Colonel Tan’s bangs out some of the most authentic and inspired Thai food in the city, pairs it with a grungy lounge setting, stimulating beats and a cocktail list that’s longer than their hawker-style food menu.
Rather than a mass of dancing bodies, you get a restaurant with tables and menus. The sofas are still there, the DJ behind the cage is still pumping beats, and graciously the bar is just where you left it. Take a seat because the smell of curry and coriander in the air is too good.
Coulter called the restaurant portion of the nightclub Revolver Upstairs “the quintessential Melbourne venue” when he hosted our Hood Food Guide episode. A place where you can get “food, booze and music” in one gnarly spot. And if you’re a 3181 local, simply bring something proving it and on Thursdays, you get 50 percent off all food. In today’s age, that’s madness.
The cocktails are perfection, like the Enlyghtenmint, a tequila concoction made with Cassis, Lychee, Blueberries and Ginger Beer, or the Yo! Jito, made with Havana 3 year old Rum, Lychee, Lemongrass, Palm Sugar and Mint. What?! But you’re mostly here for the Thai food, which is assuredly great. If you’re going with a group of six or more, go for the banquet. There are two options, a $25 per head for just mains to share, or $35 a head for entrees and mains. The waitstaff will choose for you, and they’ll choose right.
Tapioca Chicken Dumplings, Betel Leaf Salad with Smoked Trout and Coconut-Ginger-Lime, Spiced Sausage with Cabbage-Peanut-Ginger Slaw, Chicken Curry Dip and Roti Bread. All the flavours. All the spices. And that was just the entree. Take a breather. Drink some of the best tap water in Melbourne, flavoured with citrus fruits and apples.
Now the mains. Things like Red Penang Lamb Curry, Stir Fried Pork Belly and Chinese Broccoli, Bangkok Bolognese, and of course, the Colonel’s Five Spice Chicken. You’ll be stuffing your face with your right hand, passing a plate across the table with your left, and tapping both feet to the beats bumping from the DJ cage.
Getting There: It’s on Chapel so parking is a pain – there’s one hour free parking in Chapel Precinct, but it’s strictly enforced, so make sure to check out the signs. There’s Safeway parking across the road and some decent room on the side streets. Tram 6 to Glen Iris rolls right past the front door and the Prahran and Windsor train stations are close. Remember that you’re going to Colonel Tan’s and it’s a must to have a drink with your meal, so don’t be a dickhead – take PT or treat yourself to an Uber.
Come for: “The vibe” and the rocking Thai food to match. The Five-Spiced Chicken is rockin’ and their classic dish, but you won’t be sorry with the Bete Leaf Salad and Red Penang Lamb Curry.
229 Chapel Street
Prahran, VIC 3181
03 9521 5985