Hillarys Boat Harbour
206/58 Southside Drive, Hillarys
Ph: (08) 9246 5053
Modern Thai with a standout view
This is one of my mother’s favourite restaurants. As a notoriously hard to please restaurant patron and fantastic home cook, I knew that I was in for a treat with this review.
Dusit Dheva By the Sea is multi-award-winning restaurant serving Thai inspired cuisine located in picturesque surroundings. Positioned on the Hillarys Board Walk at Hillarys Boat Harbour, the alfresco area and restaurant tables offer views out over the moored boats and ocean blue water across to the beach.
Chef Taweepong Sangsuriyaporn (Mhee) has been in Australia for 16 years developing his trade in some of WA’s best Thai restaurants. Mhee draws on his heritage using traditional Thai flavours and showcasing Western Australian ingredients brought together elegantly with a modern take on presentation.
Spending his early life in Bangkok in the growers markets with his family, Mhee has an appreciation for authentic flavour and quality ingredients that shine through his dishes and you can taste his passion and integrity in each dish. The wall length image of Thai fishing boats beached at a distant tropical location on the inside of Dusit Dheva By The Sea assists to transport us to somewhere far away.
We start with the seared Shark Bay Scallops, served in a shell with julienned apple and Thai herbs. The lightly seared scallops are delicately anointed with a bundle of flavour. The freshness of the apple, with the zing of lime and herbs offer a gentle sweetness that balances the seafood bite from the scallop. There is a subtle hint of chilli that lingers but does not overpower the palate. We accompany the scallops with a glass of the 2018 Kuku Sauvignon Blanc and the freshness of the herbs and lime compliment the citrus notes in the wine.
We are offered the Kratong Thong next, minced chicken with sweet corn in a crispy golden cup. The cups of corn and chicken are gentle in flavour, made tastier with the heat from the chilli sauce. The crunch of the pastry allows you to be able to appreciate the morsels in a single bite.
We progress to the Soft Shell Crab with watermelon, shallots, mint, coriander, chilli and lime dressing. This crispy and salty nest of crab is piled onto a bed of watermelon that sits in a sweet and subtle dressing of herbs and lime. The watermelon lifts the crab off the plate, keeping the crab crunchy and allows you to be liberal with the moreish sauce, reapplied at your own pace, as you move through the dish. The sweetness of the watermelon refreshes before you go back for more of the salty crunch from the crab. The 2018 Kuku Sauvignon Blanc is again a well-balanced match with the melon notes complimenting the dish perfectly.
The Choo Chee Curry is grilled Tasmanian salmon served with a creamy red curry sauce garnished with kaffir lime. This is delicious. The salmon is lightly grilled, tender and succulent, falling apart with your fork. The red curry sauce is rich and creamy without being too much. The kaffir lime is aromatic and the intense flavour stays with your mouth. This dish is on the hotter side so if you are heat sensitive avoid eating the sliced banana chilli on top and consider pairing it with a cold beer. Mhee also offers the option for less heat across his dishes so if hot chilli is not your preference, let the waitstaff know and they can accommodate you.
We move onto the signature twice roasted Pork Belly. Nested on shredded papaya salad, the salty, sour and sweet flavours of chilli, lime and fish sauce cut through the richness of the crispy and succulent pork belly slices. Mhee explains to me that the dish, which in my mind is already a 10/10, is made better with a green mango alternative to the papaya, not quite in season. He tells me that he spends two hours each morning personally choosing specific Asian ingredients that he needs to make his dishes so divine.
We finish with the Roast Duck Red Curry with lychee, cherry tomatoes and Thai basil leaves. There is steep competition now between Scott and I as to which is our favourite dish.
The duck is melt in your mouth tender, with a slightly crispy skin covering the breast pieces. The curry sauce and duck lie on a bed of lychees and cherry tomatoes. There is spice and warmth with exotic aromas and a heat that is balanced by the sweetness from the lychees.
Dusit Dheva By The Sea was recently awarded the Best Thai Restaurant and Restaurant of the Year in October 2020 by Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence, and holds previous awards for best Thai and Best Asian Restaurants for many years. You can taste and see in every dish the years of dedication to creating an extraordinary interpretation of modern Thai.
In the words of Mhee, the awards make the past 16 years of hard work ‘worth it’, and I can conclusively say that I agree. My mum does too.
By Danica Scott