Located beachfront at Repulse Bay’s The Pulse, where you can almost (but not quite) imagine yourself on a beach in Thailand, Maximal Concepts have recently opened Sip Song, just a few doors down from the restaurant group’s Limewood.
Inspired by the beach culture of the southern Thai coast and the food of the country’s night markets, Sip Song means “12” in Thai and is named as such to represent the typical number of ingredients needed to create any classic Thai dish.
With a focus on bringing “dynamic Thai flavours and fresh, quality ingredients”, Chef Nuch Srichantranon is a Bangkok native who joined Maximal Concepts following over seven years of professional kitchen experience in Sydney. Chef Srichantranon moved to Hong Kong in 2017, where he worked at Mak Mak at LANDMARK, before joining the Maximal Concepts family in 2018.
For a weekday evening, the place filled up surprisingly steadily, and a second influx came later on for drinks at the bar. With a kitschy Thai beach club interior and upbeat pop from the 80s–90s playing, the vibe had me singing along with my TBC cocktail ($85) in hand, made with gin, lemon, blackberry, lavender, honey, Thai basil and ginger beer.
We started with charcoal-grilled skewers of tiger beef ($110), squid ($95), chicken ($65) and pork neck ($85), all with their own sauces (peanut sauce is always a winner with chicken dinner). The meat was cooked very well, and after being drenched in the sauces, it melted in the mouth. The same can be said for all the meat we sampled at Sip Song; the skill is clearly there in terms of cooking technique.
We were excited to try the Thai “son-in-law” Scotch egg with minced chicken and crispy shallot ($55). This showcased an egg, soft-boiled to oozy perfection, encased in a thin layer of chicken – a well-thought-out half-centimeter, which was just enough with the rich egg (we were assured it was a “happy egg”!). The chilli jam on top gave this traditionally British pub snack its Thai-ness, with crisp, deep-fried kaffir lime leaves for that quintessential Thai fragrance.
We were then met with the “Don’t Tell Mom” roti pancake with BBQ pork neck, chilli jam, fresh herbs and crispy shallots ($95). This was rightly named one of the “Fresh” dishes on the menu, as the lovely, smokey-sweet pork was well balanced by the fresh zing from the herbs and spices, and the yoghurt drizzle complemented the typically intense Thai flavours with its cooling creaminess. This may not be a first-date dish – requiring the use of fingers, lots of licking and bits falling everywhere – it’s messy, but in the best way.
And then all at once the rest of the dishes descended upon us, and we suddenly appeared to have every dish on the menu at our table, with everyone reaching across and tucking in – ready, set, GO!
The tom yum goong ($125) was sweet and spicy, but it did not have the sourness I expect from a tom yum.
I thoroughly enjoyed the red roasted duck curry ($195) for its coconutty creaminess. I’m a wimp when it comes to spice, but I still managed to enjoy the chilli in this dish.
A highlight for me was the lemongrass and fish sauce pork ribs with prik naam pla sauce ($185). These were presented, breathing with steam and glistening with juices, fresh from the kitchen and draped in all their Thai finery of shredded lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, little jewels of pomelo and beads of green peppercorns. Again, the cooking technique at Sip Song is impressive, and these darlings were no exception – falling off the bone and melting in the mouth. Completely moreish.
Other dishes included the Sip Song pad thai ($210), pad see ew with hanger steak ($125) and Thai “Strip Club” chicken ($165). Whilst these dishes were beautifully presented, they were too sweet for us, and the pad thai was pricey considering the portion size and ingredients.
And, although my sweet tooth was satisfied enough, puddings included banana roti pancake with condensed milk and chocolate sauce ($75), ube and coconut ice cream with salted peanut brittle and jackfruit chips ($65), coconut and corn ice cream ($65) and the classic mango sticky rice ($75). The banana roti pancake was the winner here, with the extra butter from the roti making these pancakes all the more indulgent.
Although Thai food often contains quite a bit of sugar to balance the amalgam of flavours used in this Southeast Asian cuisine, southern Thai food isn’t usually very sweet, and I felt it could have been dialled down a tad with most of the dishes at Sip Song. However, I got a good sense of the Australian influence from the chef in a few of these dishes, which was a pleasant and interesting change. Chef Srichantranon’s cooking skills are top notch overall. Perfect for a fun night out, Sip Song is especially great for groups of friends.
G/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2898 3788, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
For more reviews like this, like Foodie on Facebook