On the pass: Karen Batson, Cookie

After 12 years in business, what keeps the crowds coming back to Cookie?
We see it as an extension of your home. Both the space and the menu are really welcoming, which attracts a good mixture of people and a great energy.

Melbourne in summer can really bake - what's your go-to to beat the heat?
A simple green mango salad with lemongrass, peanuts, mint, coriander, Thai basil and dried anchovies. And for dessert, tapioca pudding topped with either lychees or mango ice-cream.

Or panna cotta with lime, strawberries and fresh basil. That's not very Thai, but I love it.

What have been your most memorable adventures travelling in Thailand?
Travelling with the Thais on their home turf and being the only farang there. It involved driving for an hour, and then another hour by long boat to a restaurant on sticks over the water. We ate oysters the size of your palm and curried soft-shell crab.

How does the Cookie team celebrate when it gets a bit of time off?
We are very much a big Thai family, so we always get together and have a barbecue on New Year's Day. Especially in hospitality, that time to stop work and enjoy some good food and good, relaxed company yourself is very important. There's always lots of beer and whisky.

What about the morning after the night before - what's your hangover survival menu?
Fried chicken, green papaya salad and sticky rice, and roti bread with condensed milk and banana.

Cookie, level 1, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9663 7660


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