Neighbourhood: St. Vital
Address: 587 St Anne’s Road
Entrees: $15 – $20
Siam Thai opened long before Thai food became the takeout staple it is today, yet entering its revamped interior, one may be more likely to mistake it for a newcomer to the city’s food scene.
The eatery enters an open concept hallway to the end of the room where a friendly greeting initiates seating. An ink-coloured wall blooming with enormous pink lotus flowers and strokes of gold enlivens the entire space with a marvelously modern vibe.
Though the surroundings are new, the authentic, unpretentious food is familiar. Chef Sumruoy Poomrat presides over the kitchen, cooking time-honoured recipes . As someone who learned from a chef of the king of Thailand, Chef Sumruoy clearly values the process. Every dish captures the essence of Thai cuisine, and its famous harmony of spicy, sweet, salty and sour.
An abundance of flavours come out of Southeast Asia – with kaffir lime, coriander and no shortage of fish sauce. Specialties vary from region to region and draw inspiration from neighbouring countries. From southern massaman curry to the north’s khao soi. Expect the full gamut of flavors in every dish.
Blending exotic and familiar is one of the secrets to Siam Thai’s popularity. The approachable menu adopts the western convention of categorizing menu items, easing introduction for non-Thai patrons. While curries are the go-to for many Thai seeking diners, there are dishes here beyond the staple that shouldn’t be missed.
Sublime appetizers whet the palate for a cultural adventure. Golden cups are an exquisite must. Tartlet wonton wrappers filled with minced cucumber, red and green pepper, cilantro, topped with poached shrimp, pop with freshness. Flavours of lime, mint and lemongrass punctuate each bite.
Vibrant herbs and fish sauce laced dressings add exciting depth to an assortment of greens. Venture beyond the pleasing tangle of tangy tart apple and find perky lettuce variations coated with piquancy. The first attention getting bites of Thai grilled prawn salad burst with lingering spice. Sharp shallots, coriander, mint and fiery Thai chiles magically lift lettuce to a new level, lending essential freshness to the sweet shrimp.
Rich coconut milk medleys of veggies and proteins define luxurious curries, which indeed are superb. A hint of spice lingers after salmon in a silky red curry, brimming with green beans, peppers, and zucchini, quenches the appetite. If seeking more heat, without cream opt for country style curry. A hefty bowl of chicken and veggies steeped in chili laced chicken broth soothes with fragrant lemongrass, kaffir leaves and coriander. Straight from Chang Mai, a bowl of Khao soi delights with every noodle slurped from gravy-thick coconut broth.
Even if there is merely a sliver of space left for dessert, novel choices have a way of tempting a sweet finish. Rum fried bananas topped with coconut ice cream make a lasting impression. Even during the dog days of summer, a taste of the tropics is a very good idea