Holy Basil, CBD

My affinity for Thai has been well documented on the iFat chronicles.

Something about the eclectic combination of flavours, textures and killer presentation that makes Thai cuisine right up there amongst my favourites. It’s a thai-t race (heh) between Thai, Japanese and Italian but a race nonetheless.

If this race was to ever eventuate then the restaurant equivalent of Usain Bolt, representing Thai cuisine, would be Holy Basil located in Sydney’s CBD.


I don’t go on many dates, but Holy Basil would definitely be a perennial favourite if I was much better with the ladies.

It’s hidden inside the Shark Hotel building on Liverpool Street and you’d never find it unless you knew where to look or was with a fried ice cream fan (more on that later). They appear to have changed their menu recently but all my favourite dishes remained intact.

Let’s unleash this Thairiffic feast:

Grilled ox tongue
Grilled ox tongue
Close ups 'cause I like to get it in.
Close ups ’cause I like to get it in.

I’m so glad I don’t have Thai-ranosaurus rex arms because my limbs reached out lightning quick to sample an old favourite of mine. The key to getting people to try this dish is to simply tell them that its grilled beef. It’s not really a lie; it’s more of a vague statement. You can tell your buddy once they’re completely enamoured with this awesome dish. It might actually be my favourite cut outside of wagyu, it doesn’t have that ‘melt in your mouth’ quality that everyone seems to love but just an extremely tender, grilled to perfection chew that I enjoy equally.

There’s a little sweet chili mix on the side accompanied by a trusty salad.

It’s an absolutely perfect starter and a staple every time I visit Holy Basil.

Red curry with chicken
Red curry with chicken

I’m a big fan of any curry regardless of the shape, colour or haircut. I just felt like giving a shout out to Taylor Swift tonight and opting for a big bowl of RED.

A dollop of coconut cream, generous serving of chicken, bamboo shoots, carrots, basil leaves and some zucchini all to spice up your rice. It was a bit on the mild side but I generally prefer my curry that way unless I feel like a large serving of milk midway through dinner.

Oh we also got some noodles because I wanted to maximise my carb intake:

Pad see ew with lamb
Pad see ew with lamb

Why lamb? I had chicken in the curry and beef in the form of ox tongue so I thought I’d keep up with the variety.

The lamb flavour didn’t overpower the natural flavours of the pad see ew. The base I’m guessing is sweet soy sauce as the flat rice noodles were coated beautifully and had that lovely brown colour. My favourite vegetable is Chinese broccoli and that’s what comes with the pad see ew. You see some other Thai restaurants just dump a bunch of frozen vegetables into their pad see ew but fresh Chinese broccoli is the way to go.

Now for the grand finale and the reason why Holy Basil is a favourite of many:

Holy Basil's signature fried ice cream
Holy Basil’s signature fried ice cream

I’ve had a lot of bad fried ice cream. Many restaurants that offer this dessert offer a large ball of fried batter with barely a spoonful of generic ice cream inside that you have to force yourself to like.

This is not the case at Holy Basil.

Is eating this dessert the high point of my life? Is the taste of Holy Basil’s fried ice cream the culinary equivalent of having a kid, watching them grow up, do well in school, have a successful career and getting married to the loves of their life? Is this life, not in a nut shell, but perfectly fried pastry?

Maybe; maybe it is.

All I know is that to dine by your side is such a heavenly way to dine.

It's the inside that counts.
It’s the inside that counts.

Here’s the TL; DR for everyone that hopes my blog’s view count sinks like the Thai-tanic cause of my almost Thai-ranical obsession with Thai puns.

– Ox tongue is a must Thai for the uninitiated.

– Whether you’re high on life or thai-red, red curry is the way to go (I love the addition of duck to the dish if none of the other meats tickle your fancy)

– Pad see ew is a dish that definitely would’ve given Leo some space on her door after the Thai-tanic sunk

– It’s a Thai-t race but Holy Basil’s fried ice cream is definitely the dessert for my last meal if I was ever on death row.

Holy Basil, CBD

Inside Shark Hotel, 127 Liverpool St 

Sydney, NSW 2000

Holy Basil on Urbanspoon

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