Chubby Cheeks, Paddington

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A new Thai restaurant has opened in Paddington that will make your Chubby Cheeks smile.

There’s something fun about making a booking at a restaurant called Chubby Cheeks. Perhaps it’s the alliteration or the feeling that these guys, like you, probably love their food. You’ll find this new restaurant on Oxford Street Paddington at the old Max Brenner site. It’s only been open a few weeks and already the place is packed on a Wednesday night. Groups of locals young and old are eager to check out the new kid on the block and take advantage of the BYO. There are two long tables near us filled with silver foxes while on the other side of the small, dimly lit restaurant a group of well dressed women in their 20s are celebrating a birthday. There are cute dates in every corner and casual catch ups between friends. It’s all happening at Chubby Cheeks.

Guru Projects are the design team responsible for the fit out which feels warm, modern and sexy with exposed brick walls, pops of bright colour on the banquet seating and a beautiful tiled bar in the centre of the restaurant. The place feels expensive. If you’d just walked in from the street you’d think you were about to drop some serious coin. But then you’d peruse the menu and breathe easy, especially when you spot to $49 set menu.

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Designed for a minimum of two people it’s filled with a generous showcase of modern Thai and Southeast Asian dishes. Pick up your betel leaf topped with a seared Hokkaido scallop, cashew nuts, toasted coconut and lime zest. Wrap it up and gulp it down in one bite. Chubby Cheeks crackling pork bao with pickled vegetables and sriracha kewpie comes out next- one fluffy bun each (although you might want to consider ordering more they’re that good).

The tea-smoked duck breast comes on a banana blossom salad which helps cut through the rich smokiness of the duck as does the tamari lime chilli dressing. The tiger prawn and sweet potato fritter is an interesting dish, it’s another one to eat with your hands and has a lot of texture.

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The crispy skin master stock free range chook is a specialty at Chubby Cheeks and comes with their special satay sauce. Whilst the green rice flake battered fish fillets lack flavour it’s nice and light. Perhaps some more chilli lime dressing would do the trick.

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The Chubby Cheeks menu has been created by Executive David Claesson (ex. Glass Brasserie) and Head Chef Em Meechai (ex. Red Lantern) and is inspired by the traditional flavours and spices of Bangkok. The set menu has you pretty well covered but the 12-hour smoked Rangers Valley Wagyu brisket with green papaya salad and burnt chilli sauce is worth your attention. As does the deep fried salted caramel ice cream with popcorn and salted caramel sauce for dessert.

The fresh Thai flavours continue through to the drinks list with cocktails such as the Thai spiced negroni and coconut espresso martini. They also have four different spritz to try including our favourite Spritz Two made with RR Daring Dry, coconut and kaffir lime syrup, lime juice and soda. The wine list focuses on light varietals, complimenting the rich flavours of the food with drops from Australia, New Zealand and France. For $5pp you also have the option to BYO wine.

If you’re looking for somewhere to put those cheeks to work- eating, drinking and chatting away, look no further than Paddington’s hottest new restaurant, Chubby Cheeks.