Finally! A meal worth really talking about! I was getting worried that my desire to fulfill this bucket list of never–eaten-here-before criteria was either based on bad standards or simply based on novelty. Not so the case with Restaurant Thailand.
I have to thank my friend Seana for reminding me the importance of this one. A fellow foodie, we worked together one summer, and in our spare time, we would discuss food, where to dine, how to cook, and where to buy exotic ingredients. When I started polling Montrealer’s and ex-Montrealers, Seana made sure Restaurant Thailand was on my list.
The irony again, one of my best friends, Georgia, grew up right on St. Urbain around the corner from Restaurant Thailand. We never shared a meal there, but she certainly acquainted me with some of the best Greek Food in Mile End!
I enjoyed this meal on a Sunday evening with my immediate family and were pleasantly surprised with the décor. The outside is non-descript white brick. Inside, you have your choice of sitting in a traditional Thai dining room with sunken seats that are beautifully upholstered, or standard North American table and chair seating. A beautiful bright and colorful tropical aquarium welcomes you as you walk in to be seated, located up front near the bar. Traditional artwork and framed mirrors line the walls.
The menu is large, and the plating is beautifully done. The appetizers are generous and hover around the $8 mark: the satay brochettes and fried rolls are four to a serving so everyone can nibble a bit. For the skewers we had a choice between chicken or beef (we chose beef) marinated in yellow curry served with peanut sauce and sweet and sour cucumber sauce. The Por Pia Sod (Thai spring rolls) aren’t fancy but generous in size, wrapped with shrimp and coriander, served cold with peanut sauce. Tod Plameuk (Fried calamari) was served in a generous mound and dependable, nothing unusual or unique to them, but very good. The Kam Pou Sawan are these delicious and visually beautiful starters of crab claws wrapped in crab meat, chicken and vegetables, fried and served with a house sauce.
The starter salads are a wonderful medley of flavours also reminiscent of their tropical origins, and for this Montrealer who up to a few weeks ago was still eating cabbage, beets and other winter fare, found this dish to be just what the doctor ordered. Yum Mamuang (green mango salad) with fresh coriander, red peppers, over mixed greens with peanuts in a sweet vinaigrette was a mouthful of sunshine and warm weather! Next winter I will order this meal when I feel my body is lacking vitamin D and I feel the urge to buy a S.A.D lamp!
A beautiful soup whose name I forgot to jot down had such delicate flavours of spices, coconut milk, fresh peppercorns and chewy mushrooms. The peppercorns are intact on their vine, a considerate touch preventing you from biting right into a lose peppercorn.
The main courses are varied as one can go with a slightly pricier House Specialty which hover between $12 and $29 a serving. Their more reasonable main dishes offer meals between $12.95 and $16.95 depending on which fish, seafood, meat or poultry you chose and can be combined with one of 18 specialties. I chose duck to go with the Kaeng Masman, a curry with coconut milk, peanuts, potatoes, pineapple and carrots, simply because I have never eaten an Asian meal with tubers and felt exceptionally adventurous. It was marvellous! A very substantial portion is served in a bowl and duck being a fatty bird was so filling, I couldn’t finish it and this resulted in a very tasty lunch for me the next day!
The Pad Thai was trustworthy, no individual spin on this Thai classic. We sampled the Pad Phrik King, a sautee with long beans and bell peppers in a spicy sauce with scallops.
Sticky rice is extra and is served in plastic bags wrapped in attractive bamboo packages. There isn’t enough for one meal, we ended up having to order seconds to soak up all that delicious sauce!
Coupled with Singha, a Thai beer, perfectly complimented the flavours of the meal.
I liked this restaurant so much, that it saddens me that I will have to eat at 37 more restaurants before I can return to this one! A definite must for all Montrealers, not just for your bucket list, but as a favourite you would return to again and again.
Restaurant Thailand is at 88 Bernard (corner of Sturbain). Hours Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Lunch Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 514-271-6733