In the food court area of Maroochydore’s Big Top shopping centre, tucked away just inside the entrance from Ocean Street is a cute little Thai Restaurant called Pum’s Kitchen. Having never reviewed a food court eatery before I’m not sure whether to call it a restaurant or not but after having eaten the food, it’s fresh, tasty, restaurant quality food – not what one often finds in a food court which is so often overcooked food that has been sitting around for hours if not days.
Having just returned to work after several months recovering from a car accident (I’m almost back to 100% thank goodness!), I didn’t want to take too much time off and stopped by the food court to grab some lunch. I had remembered the owner contacting me before my accident asking if I’d like to review them so headed up to the counter to order.
The gentleman serving at the counter was just taking the order from the previous customers and I could hear a real sense of warmth and passion in his voice when explaining the food. Having just checked out their Facebook page, I can see that he was Christopher, Pum’s husband. When it was my turn, he again, took his time explaining all the dishes to me and explaining how they work. I settled on a Penang Curry with the beef (all meals come with either chicken breast or eye fillet beef).
The meals came in Medium or Large and, seeing as I hadn’t had time for breakfast, I went with the large. Actually who am I kidding, even if I did eat breakfast I still would’ve gone for the large! I didn’t have to wait long, and seeing as it was Wednesday, I had a quick whip around the farmers’ market )and got a punnet of beautiful fresh strawberries for my dessert as well as a gluten-free cupcake for my coeliac neighbour). I like the fact that you can see through into their kitchen and sure enough, there was Pum cooking away!
Looking at the receipt I just found in my jacket pocket, I was charged $12.90 for the curry + $1 extra as I chose the beef instead of chicken. Strange, because now as I look at their menu it says it should have only been $11.50 for the large + $1 for the beef. I’m not one to quibble over $1.40, but if this happened every time I bought lunch it could add up. I’m sure there was a reason for it though.
When Christopher handed over the container, napkin and fork, despite me just being a random member of the public, it almost felt as if it was his privilege and honour to serve his wife’s food to me. It only took a second but it had a sense of ceremony around it, reminiscent of a Japanese tea ceremony I went to 20 years ago. I guess the feeling that I got, was that the food was cooked with respect and care. Hard to explain as it was so subtle but it was good!
Anyway, I went back to work, turned off my phone, opened up the lid and …oh my …. the aromas! Took me right back to my childhood as one of my best friends from school was Thai and I used to love going round to her place to eat her mother’s cooking.
I just sat there inhaling for a good couple of minutes as (a) it was too hot to eat and (b) no one was around to see me do all that sniffing! The first forkful was a delight, the second was even better and so on. You could taste the authenticity and freshness with every bite. I’m not a cook, but even I could tell there weren’t any “packaged mixes” or jars of flavouring used in this dish. The veges were so fresh, in fact the beans looked and tasted like they could’ve been picked out of the garden that morning. The meat was tender, the sauce was flavourful but not too creamy, and as it was a medium spiced curry, I definitely needed my tissues on hand.
My colleagues who had since returned from purchasing their lunches had come over to check out mine and after I let them have a taste each, they both remarked that they wish they had’ve got that instead.
So seeing as this is my first review since getting back on my feet, I feel a bit bad as it was just for one container of food, but rest assured, that one container packed in a whole lot of taste, culture, and, despite the risk of sounding gushy, love.
I definitely plan on going through the rest of the menu at some stage, but even if I don’t manage to, I know my workmates all will. I saw on Pum’s Kitchen Facebook page that their next step is to introduce “restaurant service” to the food court. I’ll be interested to see how that would work as it’s a bit of a thoroughfare through there, but if it means more people are inspired to try the food then it cant be a bad idea.
Now, I’m sorry, I would remiss if I didn’t finish off without giving one bit of criticism though, and that is the fact that I do NOT like the font they have used on their menus and signage. Papyrus font! Ew – it just makes it look so old fashioned and cheap and in my opinion, doesn’t reflect the food or business at all. Maybe whoever did that work for them thought it looked Thai or something but unless they were a friend doing that graphic design work for them for free, I’d advise them to go elsewhere next time they get a new menu or sign.
Having said that, don’t let the font or the fact it is in a food court scare you off – I encourage you to give it a go and hopefully you’ll be like many others whose reviews I glanced over on their facebook page who said that it’s the best Thai food on the Sunshine Coast!
Facebook: Great little facebook page, honest, newsy, relevant and best of all, it has a menu on there to download. To save you looking it up, click here for their menu I downloaded from there the other day.
Website: I couldn’t find a website, but as their menu and contact details are on their facebook page, they don’t really need one.
Address: Big Top Market Fresh, Ocean Street Maroochydore. They’re located just inside the entrance from Ocean Street and inbetween the wet and dry Shane Stanley Farmers’ Markets. You’ll spot it with the little tuktuk (taxi) outside.
Phone number: 0435 508 101
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