Sailors Thai to set sail from the Rocks

Jason Tait, owner of Sailors Thai Restaurant at The Rocks, with head chef Pacharin Jantrakool.
Jason Tait, owner of Sailors Thai Restaurant at The Rocks, with head chef Pacharin Jantrakool.  Photo: Steven Siewert

Thai-defining Sydney restaurant Sailors Thai will shut its doors at the end of August. Sailors Thai opened 20 years ago under the seasoned hand of David Thompson, the Sydney chef behind Bangkok's Nahm restaurant, which has been named the Best Restaurant in Asia.

Sailors' mix of formal restaurant and more casual canteen proved an influential and enduring combination. Thompson, who coincidentally is bringing a branch of his Thai street food concept, Long Chim, to Angel Place, is no longer involved at Sailors Thai.

Its current owner, IT businessman Jason Tait, was a regular diner who loved Sailors Thai so much he bought it four years ago and set about maintaining its exacting standards.

Soft shell crab at Sailors Thai in Sydney.
Soft shell crab at Sailors Thai in Sydney. Photo: Richard Gates Photography

Tait says he lost the site in a blind tender and hasn't been able to secure another spot in The Rocks to relocate. "It's a blow. We're one of the last places left buying the genuine stuff [produce] … It hasn't been terribly profitable, but it hasn't been a loss maker either," he says. Word on Sydney's eat street is Thaifoon may have secured the space.