One shop away from Penang Kitchen which was previously featured, is Thai Noodle House, another popular eatery with residents and students of the Adam Road / Dunearn Road area. I haven't been here before and to be honest, I wasn't really in a mood for noodles that day. But pasted outside the shop were some interesting pictures of dishes; there were some I haven't heard of before since I'm not a big fan of Thai cuisine e.g. Larb Gai, a type of chicken salad. Since there were two other ladies with me, I decided not to let the "Where shall we go and eat" syndrome drag on any further either!
So first up we were served a twin of dishes:
On the left is tom yum soup. We deliberately ordered this to first gauge the standard of the place; we wanted to see if they could get what is arguably Thailand's most famous dish, right. And they passed successfully! The soup was flavourful, rich with good amounts of lime, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass all present. What could be improved was the mixture of ingredients given. At $8.50 a bowl, we were only given minimal amounts of prawn and squid and lots of fishballs.
On the right is the larb gai a.k.a Thai chicken salad. I liked this because it is not often one gets chicken mince. I think its a delicate ingredient that shouldn't be over-seasoned or spiced. And the good thing was that the larb gai was spiced minimally with chillis and possibly lime juice, just enough to bring out the chicken flavour. Served with it are raw long beans and cucumber.
Belachan fried rice. This should be the first time in my life I've eaten this. And I think it won't be the last. In fact, I just cooked my own version last weekend but that was no way comparable to this. The rice was grainy and not mushy. It was over-oily and the belachan lingers nicely in the background and on the aftertaste. A winner!
Stir fried sweet potato leaves. Just a little background info on this. Sweet potato leaves are traditionally food for the poor. During the second world war in Singapore, people ate the sweet potatoes while feeding the leaves to pigs. This was because the main stems were hard. So to cook sweet potato leaves, one needs to painstakingly peel the leaves from the main stem. Thus, it may be a little more expensive than other kinds of regular veggies like spinach. For this dish, it was done very very well. It was possibly the best dish on the table. The leaves were about 80% cooked which left a nice crunch and flavour. I didn't know this could be done with sweet potato leaves. All the previous times I've eaten it, they were soggy so I thought that was the only way to cook it, other than in soup. The stir fried sauce in this dish was great too, black soya sauce and thai chillis. A really nice dish.
And lastly we have a lime sauce steamed seabass. One might think this would be a winning dish. Well in a sense it is. The lime sauce dressing was very unique. The flavour complemented interesting, the chilli, ginger and coriander garnishes. However, all of this was undone by the fact that the fish was not fresh enough for steaming. And at $25 a pop, this dish was a disappointment. The meat was a little hard and tasted dull. I'm not sure whether the unfresh fish was a one off thing. But if I were the chef and I knew the fish was not quality enough to be steamed, I would tell the customer that we were out of steamed fish but we had, for example, thai chilli fish or something, instead. Then I would proceed to deep fry the fish and serve it with a thickened lime juice sauce with a bit more chillies. At this level of freshness, the fish would have been perfect deep fried. Deep frying would also remove the dull flavour and add moisture to the flesh
And for dessert:
Red ruby on the left and thai chendol on the right. You will be forgiven that both of these were the same items. In general, the desserts were boring. But I do like the fact that the red ruby seemed "home-made"; water chestnut pieces wrapped in red jelly. But the coconut soup was plain and I would definitely have preferred the ice to be left out since it dilutes the already weak soup. The difference between the two was the the thai chendol, apart from red ruby chunks, had jack fruit. And that was about it really. You'll be better off having gula melaka at Penang Kitchen opposite!
Service was normal grade. Prompt and efficient but no small chit chat or telling you how they made the fantastic tom yum soup.
Atmosphere wise, it was pretty decent. I liked the fact that there were pictures of the Thai king, Bhumibol, and various food items and Thai tourism posters. It gave a very Thai feel to the place. Not to mention also that the owners and the staff were all Thai. Air-conditioning was welcomed too. Other than that, a typical small eatery set up.
With regards to value for money, a little on the steep side. For us, our total bill came to $62.50 without drinks (they served tap water). But I think that was due to the fish. I reckon $10-12 a person would be adequate for a good filling meal.
Overall, I would recommend this place. It serves restaurant-standard food (apart from the fish) at non-restaurant prices. I don't think there are many such Thai establishments in Singapore. If anyone decides to go, try the tapioca dessert and tell me about it! I saw another table order it and it looked quite yummy! :)
Food 7.5, Service 7.5, Atmosphere 7, Value for money 6.5
Thai Noodle House
Open daily (including PH) except monday: 1130 - 2130
Dine in, take away or call and pick up.
#01-03 Coronation Arcade
Tel: 6467 0104
Fax: 6462 3214