FROM Japanese-inspired yakitori to Chinese-style Szechuan prawn and chicken dumplings with XO sauce, Oh My Papa is a flavour bomb journey through Asian cuisine.
The restaurant and bar, which opened last weekend in the East End development in Newcastle, is inspired by the foodie adventures of owner Pawarisa Lertaromrat, who also operates The Humble Thai in Newcastle and The Grateful Thai at Charlestown Square with her husband, Wirat.
While The Humble Thai and The Grateful Thai are a joint effort between Lertaromrat and her husband, Oh My Papa is entirely her creation and brings all of her favourite dishes from across Asia together on one menu.
"Our concept is about taking popular dishes from each Asian country and we have all of it here. I have travelled a lot through Asia to countries like China, Japan and Vietnam, which I really love because I am a big food lover. Food coma - that's me," Lertaromrat laughs.
"I love Asian food. I love the umami flavour, so I have taken the popular dish from each country and brought it here to the menu.
"We have the yakitori from Japan, the skewers, that's a favourite. We also have some South-East Asian dishes, like the curries and also a little bit of Vietnamese and Chinese, too.
"We have a little bit something from everywhere. I want to bring something new here to Newcastle."
All of the dishes are designed to be shared, reflecting the way in which food is enjoyed in Asian culture, with the menu split into four sections: small plates, yakitori skewers, large plates, and sides.
The smalls menu includes turmeric cauliflower tempura with coconut and lime dressing; veggie and taro spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce; cabbage and shiitake dumplings with truffle oil, truffle salt and vinegar; miang kham topped with crispy pork, watermelon, herbs and peanut chilli jam; and Hat Yai southern Thai fried chicken wings served with golden shallots.
Charcoal-grilled yakitori is one of the restaurant's specialities, with options including pork belly with original salt and togarashi pepper; thigh chicken with sweet soy; Thai marinated pork neck, as well as meat-free options: brown mushroom with ponzu and butter; zucchini with and butter; quail egg with ponzu and butter; and corn with miso, butter, paprika and parmesan cheese.
Speciality skewers include scallop wrapped in bacon with sweet soy; lettuce wrapped in pork belly with original salt; and miso yaki onigiri (grilled rice ball).
On the large plates menu, find Lertaromrat's top picks: caramelised sticky pork belly with twice-cooked pork in a salty-sweet caramel sauce, roasted peanuts and Asian coleslaw salad; and massaman slow-cooked lamb shank with sweet potatoes, grilled pineapple, roasted cashew nut, fried shallot served with acar Indonesian pickle.
Everything on the menu is homemade, from the sauces to the dumplings, while the design and fit-out of the space is sleek and modern, which reflects the menu's style.
She describes the food as fusion-style, with a modern take on favourite dishes.
"It is fusion because our look and our design at the restaurant it is very modern, and the food is modern too," Lertaromrat says.
There is a playful element to it all, too.
Look no further than the neon sign on the wall that reads "Papa, I need more drinks" and the names on the "Sneak Out From Papa" handcrafted cocktail list for reference: I'll Wait For Yuzu, I'll Miss You Coco Much, and Papa, I Won't Be Home.
The drinks list includes a range of wine, spirits and beer, including Kirin and Singha to pair with the food.
The name Oh My Papa is the title of an old song, but is also a tribute to her father.
"My dad always cooked for us at home, so it felt like a good name. It's a bit of a tribute to him. He's not a chef but he was always cooking for our household," Lertaromrat says.
"It had a big influence on me."
She first inspected the site in April last year and instantly knew she wanted to be part of the development.
"It's very exciting. We are local in Newcastle, we have lived in Charlestown for almost 10 years, so we can see how much Newcastle has developed over the years."
Oh My Papa, Lyrique Lane in the East End Newcastle development (near Woolworths Metro). Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 5-9pm; Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch 12-3, dinner 5-9 pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: