Kaffir Lime Thai & Lao Cuisine, Cabramatta West

South-west Sydney, which is known for its eth­nic enclave of Vietnamese, remains a rarely vis­ited area of Sydney for me des­pite my closest friends being Vietnamese. Indeed, Cabramatta is even con­sidered a gour­mand des­tin­a­tion for Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese cuisines. Of course, when you can get deli­cious and authen­t­ic food from those cuisines closer to home or work, it’s only an impromptu group din­ner after a gruelling study ses­sion that D and I found ourselves in Cabramatta West at Kaffir Lime Thai & Lao Cuisine.

Tucked away on a side street with a hand­ful of oth­er shops, there’s fierce com­pet­i­tion in the area with Holy Basil, Green Peppercorn and Twelve Spices close by. But when one of D’s study group bud­dies, though, coun­ted Kaffir Lime Thai & Lao Cuisine as their favour­ite res­taur­ant, we knew it was worth a try.

For drinks, we have the Passionfruit Shake ($5.00), which was bright with trop­ic­al fla­vours like a Frosty Fruit Iceblock by Streets although it lacked the tart­ness of the fresh fruit, and the Jackfruit Shake ($5.00), which delivered on the fla­vour of the fruit although its more icy and less than the one at Huong Xua.

Salt & Pepper Squid ($16.90), ‘deep fried battered squid tossed with salt, pep­per, chilli and gar­lic’, starts us off.

The squid is tender and soft with a thin and crispy bat­ter, with the chilli at the bot­tom of the plate deliv­er­ing a good heat to those inclined.

Next up is a Soft Shell Crab Salad ($21.90), ‘crispy fried soft shell crab served with a salad of green apple, green mango (sea­son­al), red onions, cel­ery, car­rots, lem­on­grass, shal­lots, cori­ander and chilli lime dress­ing topped with cashew nuts’.

I love a crispy soft shell crab and these are just that with juicy crab meat inside. The salad is aro­mat­ic with tangy and sweet fla­vours, adding fresh­ness between bites of fried food.

This is the Ox Tongue ($15.90), ‘grilled ox tongue, sliced and served with our homemade sauce’.

The ox tongue was tasty with lightly car­a­mel­ised edges and went well with the lightly vin­eg­ary dip­ping sauce. It was tender for the most part although the end slices were quite tough.

This is the Raw Beef Larb ($12.90, avail­able cooked), ‘fine diced beef salad with tripe, anchovy sauce, lem­on juice, fine roas­ted rice, shal­lots, cori­ander, fresh and dried chil­lies’ at ‘medi­um’ heat (avail­able mild and hot).

The larb had a bal­anced fla­vour of sweet, salty and spicy with a hint of acid­ity, that did not over­whelm the fla­vour of the tender raw beef, while the tripe added tex­ture. At medi­um heat, the spi­ci­ness was enough to deliv­er a long burn. Next time, we’d go with the mild.

And finally, the Grapao Moo Grob ($15.90) with ‘stir fried crispy pork belly in a chilli basil sauce’.

The pork belly was tender, although being the last table to arrive at the res­taur­ant, the cuts were not the best and some pieces were miss­ing the crispy skin. The sauce had a fra­grant basil fla­vour with a gen­er­ous chilli kick that went well with the pork.

The dishes at Kaffir Lime Thai & Lao Cuisine are reas­on­ably priced and sized with com­plex fla­vours that are fra­grant and well-bal­anced. Those who like Thai and Lao food would enjoy a visit.

Kaffir Lime Thai & Lao Cuisine is at 112A Lord St, Cabramatta West NSW 2166.