June 6, 2015

sujet Pic Spice I am

Sujet Saenkham, owner and founder of some of Sydney’s best and most popular Thai restaurants, has recently launched his first cookbook, “Spice I Am”, featuring easy to follow recipes and practical advice, as well as tips on where to find essential ingredients for the Thai kitchen.

This beautifully photographed cookbook brings Thai restaurant classics to your kitchen. Whether you enjoy Sujet’s signature stir-fried crispy pork belly with basil or crispy prawn and lemongrass salad, or classics like Slow Cooked Massaman Beef Curry and Pad Thai, you will be inspired to put the take-away menus back in the drawer and start preparing delicious meals yourself.

Born in a small rural village in Central Thailand, Sujet discovered the joys of cooking and preparing food at an early age, spending hours working alongside his mother and grandparents. After studying science in Bangkok, Sujet made the move to Australia, where he studied hospitality and finally realised his dream of opening a restaurant of his own, Spice I Am in Surry Hills.

The Spice I Am collection of restaurants now features five restaurants in Sydney, the primary Spice I Am in Surry Hills along with eateries in Darlinghurst and Balmain plus a north-eastern Thai street food restaurant ‘House’, also in Surry Hills and the recently opened Surry Hills Eating House which focuses on the regional cuisine of southern Thailand.

The cookbook “Spice I Am” will inspire the home cook to prepare mouthwatering Thai feasts in their own kitchen.

Sandra Tiltman  


November 15, 2014


Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from around the globe. Offering a vast range of attractions from historical monuments, great beaches, vibrant nightlife, relaxed lifestyle, fantastic shopping, a broad range of accommodation from the most luxurious hotels to the most humble apartments, Thailand manages to provide the holidaymaker with a range of experiences that appeal to all age groups. Not just the domain of the young or the old, whatever it is you are looking for, you will probably find it in Thailand.

DSC04605With visitors arriving year round, rather than on a seasonal basis, as is the case with some tourism hot spots, there never seems to be an “off season” in this magical country.

One of the standout attractions in Thailand is their cuisine, which seems to have universal appeal. So popular is their cuisine that virtually every city in the world has a Thai restaurant and Sydney is no exception, with a large number of restaurants serving this cuisine in nearly every suburb. In fact, one could go as far as to say that there is no need to go to Thailand to get authentic Thai food.

Close to the heart of Sydney, in Surry Hills, is one of the best Thai restaurants I have found. Located on the corner of Elizabeth & Campbell Streets,“The Surry Hills Eating House” offers the diner a truly authentic Thai experience. The atmosphere is relaxed in this minimalist venue, with pleasant Thai serving staff who are very welcoming and extremely helpful when offering assistance in menu choices.

DSC04623When I dined there recently, I asked our waiter to recommend several dishes for us to try. One of the criteria was that I did not like too much chilli.

Our two entrees, which we shared, were very tasty. I especially enjoyed the Pak Mor Youan of steamed minced pork and spring onion wrapped in rice paper.

The second entrée, Mieng Ka Na, sweet and sour spicy flossy pork, green lime, ginger, eshallot and fresh chilli served with green Chinese broccoli leaf, was just a little too hot for my taste, but perfect for my partner, the broccoli leaf seemed to break down the heat.

We also shared the two mains. Gaeng Kiew Wan Nua, a green curry of slow cooked beef served with roti was excellent, as was the Gai Pae Sa, Chinese Phuket steamed chicken with steamed fresh water spinach, ginger rice wine sauce and chilli ginger dipping sauce, so delicate and tasty.

DSC04630The portions were very generous so when it came to choosing dessert, we decided to share just one. The Steamed Taro With Durian Coconut Cream was a fitting finale for this superb meal.

As I mentioned before, who needs to travel all the way to Thailand when such authentic cuisine is available in Surry Hills. Chef Sujet Saenkham’s food for this restaurant is regional Thai, a lighter style with a delicious Chinese/Malay twist.

Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond


November 9, 2014


Toshiba and Intel recently held an event with a difference at a specially designed Pop-Up venue in Surry Hills, where sushi delivery was taken to new heights with the Seriously Japanese Pop Up Zushi Roller Coaster. Being greeted by two geisha lookalikes was a fun way to be shown to our seats, which were milk crates with planks on top.

DSC04335Orders were placed for the crafted sushi via the latest Toshiba tablets and 2-in-1 devices powered by Intel Inside. The bespoke sushi, designed by artisan chefs, was delivered to the table after a mind-blowing, break-neck journey via the exclusively created sushi roller coaster.

Guests waiting to enter the pop up venue were lined up almost the full length of the inner city laneway. Walking past the crowd as we departed, we were asked by those eagerly waiting, if it was worth the wait. Yes, we answered, it’s definitely worth staying in line to see such an imaginative and clever sushi delivery system, more impressive than the usual sushi train. The fact the sushi tasted so good was a bonus.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond    


February 27, 2014


Celebrating its first birthday last week, The Soda Factory at 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills has become one of Sydney’s favourite bars, after just twelve months.

DJ Grandmaster Flash jetted in from New York especially for the celebrations.  After leading a toast to The Soda Factory turning one, he then performed an intimate show for the party.

DSC01256At The Soda Factory, the fun begins right at the front door, where you are greeted by staff on roller skates, wearing 1950s era diner uniforms.  Entry into the bar is behind a retro coke machine door.

Sumptious lounges and comfortable armchairs are just two of the reasons why this bar is so popular.  Add in a great atmosphere, large selection of cocktails, wines and beers, terrific music, a food menu of American favourites and there you have it, a bar you want to visit every night.

Following the huge success of their hotdog menu, co-owner and Executive Chef Michael Chase has launched a full diner menu. The lit-up vintage American diner sign hanging by the bar’s new diner section won’t let you forget it. Long tables have been fitted, accommodating larger groups to enjoy the expanded menu. The full diner menu is available 5pm-10pm daily, with a late night menu operating 10pm-late. Michael commented “After the enormous popularity of our Gourmet Hotdogs, we wanted to truly bring an authentic taste of Americana to Surry Hills, with our take on the diner classics – along with some special Soda surprises like the Cheeseburger spring rolls & Popcorn Shrimp.”

Sandra Tiltman     Photos:  John Pond


November 18, 2013

3 baby faces

To celebrate the return of its 100th rescued and rehabilitated orangutan to the wild, Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia is hosting a public event emceed by BOS ambassador, Triple J presenter and animal rights activist, Lindsay McDougall on Thursday 28 November at The Forresters, 336 Riley St Surry Hills from 6pm – 9pm. Tickets are available at http://www.orangutans.com.au for $25 per head, including food and drinks. All proceeds will go to Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

The event will highlight the continued plight of Borneo’s endangered orangutans and provide insight into BOS’s world-first release program that has seen 100 rescued orangutans rehabilitated and released back into protected Bornean forest in the past 18 months.

With a further 600 orangutans still in BOS sanctuaries awaiting their return to freedom, the event aims to raise much needed funds to support this landmark program and help return these magnificent creatures to the wild.

Sandra Tiltman 


September 13, 2012

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship winner was announced today in a ceremony at the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills.  Mitch Cairns, 28, from Sydney’s Balmain, has won for his body of work, highlighted by One half of a woman’s waistline repeated 2012 and Poor Mum 2012.

This year’s judges were artist Del Kathryn Barton and the Gallery’s head of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe. Begun in 1999, this scholarship for young Australian painters is now in its 14th year.  Ninety-five entries were received from around Australia and eleven were selected as finalists.

The Scholarship is open to Australian artists aged between 20 and 30 years.  Mitch has won $25,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, which is administered by the Art Gallery of NSW. Mrs Beryl Whiteley, who died in 2010, was awarded an OAM for the creation and endowment of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2004. 

The inspiration for this annual scholarship was the profound effect of international travel and study experienced by her son, Brett

Sandra T. beside Brett Whiteley self-portrait

Whiteley, as a result of winning the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

Mitch Cairns won the Gruner Landscape Prize in 2003 and featured in the Salon de Refuses in 2004 whilst a student at the National Art School from which he graduated in 2006 with honours.  Mitch has been included in numerous group exhibitions in artist run spaces and public galleries including Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Sandra T.   Photos:  John Pond

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