Monday, November 8, 2010

Soht and Baay: Thai reference?

Soht and Baay opened with much fanfare at ION Orchard. The restaurant had almost no frontage at all at its entrance at level 4 of ION...just a counter, and a glimpse at the beautifully decor promised what was within. I had been slightly discouraged by this lack of ability to see the dining area, and the menu at the counter indicated the prices were on the higher side of Thai cuisine in Singapore.

But try I did...and came away fairly impressed.

The glass buddha theme continues one enters at level 4, there are two small private rooms on the right, behind the glass buddhas above, and the waiter leads one up a flight of stairs into a large, bright and airy dining room upstairs.

We started, as in many high end dining establishments tend to offer these days an amuse bouche.

This was quite like the Miang Kana I had several times in Bangkok...but instead of kana (kailan), it was served on a leaf of lettuce. The taste was rather good. The characteristic Thai mix of tastes - sweet, sour, salty and spicy were all in abundance. Good way to open the appetite, so to speak.

Also getting popular is the Thai Lemongrass drink.

This is not a difficult drink to make. Start with a few sprigs of Thai lemongrass...which is more flavourful than the Malaysian or Indonesian ones. Smash the bulb, put in boiling water. Let the concoction boil for a while. Set aside to cool. At home, I like it slightly sweetened with honey. But the version served at Soht was sweetened with sugar syrup....I found it a bit too sweet, and the lemongrass not pungent enough. Canton-I just downstairs of Soht and Baay serves a nice version, and in my opinion, a bit more concentrated with lemongrass flavour than here.

We started with the standard Thai Pomelo salad:

The pomelo was left as large chunks. Sweet, fresh, with a slight tinge of sour. And the sauce was thick, sweet, spicy. All the Thai flavours. Great salad.

The rice was, with a bit more attention to detail and care than most. It was moulded into a heart shape...not totally essential, but a nice touch, nevertheless.

I had the Tom Yum Kung, and Michelle had the Talay.

Tom Yum, is a standard bearer of Thai cuisine, and a rather complicated soup to prepare, requiring a whole array of ingredients blending together in a nice, almost magical way when done right. This tom yum was nearly there. I would have preferred it to have a bit more bite...more phet, as the Thais would say - phet meaning spicy. The sourness and the depth of the soup was quite satisfying. The prawns were reasonably fresh, but lacked the crunchiness and sweetness that one gets if one was dining along the klong in Bangkok.

We had some tanghoon with river prawns:

I have just written about my Lerk Thai review earlier this week, and my feelings towards my favourite Soi 5 establishment is still dear to me and not changed. The woonsen served by Soht and Baay is somewhat similar to Lerk Thai. The noodles were nicely cooked. The prawns fresh, and quite similar to the ones used in their Tom Yum. De rigeur dish. Not specatacular, nor poor.

We also tried the Phad Phet Kapow Kai

To me, this is the quintessential Thai dish, if there was one...more than the Tom Yums, and Som Tams. The Phad Phet Kapow is my all time favourite. Though my preferred protein is pork, Soht & Baay only offered it with chicken. The dish was rather good, good kick from the chilli padi. But a bit on the salty side, and the Thai Basil (kapow) did not manage to come through as strongly (fragrantly) as I would have liked. But still highly enjoyable. A recent sampling at Aroy Dee Thai in Sunshine Plaza offered a more authentic version, which I preferred. More authentic, and street like...while Soht's is, perhaps too refined.

Phat Phet Kapow Moo at Aroy Dee Thai

And finally the dessert. This was beautifully presented...

Khao Niau sticky rice...another Thai favourite and standard bearer. The rice was rather interesting...three types of flavoured sticky rice was offered, in three beautiful pastel colours. Lovely.

Interesting and good tasting Thai. Authentic tasting, excellent service. Good cooking with fine ingredients, though a bit pricey.

Soht and Baay
2 Orchard Turn #04-11 & 05-01 ION Orchard Singapore
6509 6058
Mon–Thu: 11.30am–2.30pm, 6.30pm–10pm
Fri–Sun: 11.30am – 10pm
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