Tasty Asian by the river

Rasa by the river. Supplied.

Trevor Pepys reviews Rasa Modern Asian Cuisine

Another week, another cheap Asian BYO! I know what you’re all thinking – Trev’s blown his fortune on cryptocurrency, which he might have done, if he knew what it was, and if he ever listened to the advice of his wise old grandson.

But no, it wasn’t about the money, it was about having an old mate in town with whom Trev has trudged up many a dark lane on the wrong side of lawless towns, seeking sensory and culinary delights. Or was it sensuous? Doesn’t matter, too much water under that bridge, move along, nothing to see here.

We were always looking for new experiences, the mate and I, and yes, it sometimes got us into trouble, but more often it got us a free plate of sardines in a harbour-front bar in Portugal, or fish and chips and a pint for next to nothing in a seedy Cornish pub.

“Are there any Portuguese sardine bars or Cornish pubs in this part of Noosa?” the mate asked. No, but remember that mad night in Malacca when you could hear the pigs squealing in the kitchen as the blade came down? “No.” Trev’s managed to unsee that one too, but you get the general idea, cheap as chips Asian-Malaysian served with a smile. We can do that a short hike along the river.

The mate was happy. We filled an Esky with litre-bottles of Bailey and Bailey pinot gris (about $10 at Dan’s) and wandered into a splendid river sunset before arriving at Rasa, to find it already half full of locals and the kitchen puffing out the exquisite aromas of the East.

The missus and a daughter on the cadge materialised moments later, having done their bit for the hole in the ozone layer by driving the few hundred metres from home. After a brief lecture on environmental responsibility, and a few slurps of the vino, Trev took charge and ordered starters for the table – vegie spring rolls ($9.20), Thai-style fish cakes ($8.40) and Bert’s Steamed Balls – don’t ask ($8.90).

The spring rolls and the fish cakes were average to goodish, Bert’s balls a triumph of reality over fantasy – lean pork marinated in tasty spices. Excellent.

The mate was in his element now, quaffing the pinot and making guttural noises as he ate enthusiastically. The women looked on horrified, but Trev knew he was back in the Malacca of the mind, reliving it all.

Trev allowed personalised choices for the mains, on condition of sharing, and took the lead with the Seafood Hot Thai Chilli ($23.60), while the mate chose the Prawn Rasa ($23.60), the daughter a Vegetarian Thai Green Curry ($16.90) and the missus a humble Gado Gado ($17.90) and steamed rice for the table ($4.90).

Trev’s chilli mixed seafood extra hot, off the chef’s specials board, featured tasty homemade Thai chilli paste and a mix of spices, wok-tossed with seasonal vegetables, all of which made up for the fairly lacklustre seafood mix. Rasa knows her pastes, that’s for sure. The mate’s Prawn Rasa was much the same, except more prawns, less paste. The vegie green curry was a little under par, but the huge gado gado was another triumph, proving yet again that a good kitchen can make the simplest dishes sing.

The verdict: Overall, a little uneven, but we were hungry and probably should have put more thought into ordering instead of bogging straight in. Even on a chilly winter evening, it’s a good room right off the street, tables full of people enjoying the simple ambience and the cheerful service. If you’re not already a regular, it’s worth a try.

Rasa Modern Asian Cuisine, 255 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville. Phone 54740263.