A Thai restaurant with no Som Tam? Seriously? Yes indeed. So, we opted for the vegetarian mixed opener, which turned out to be deep-fried stuff with two tiny dipping sauces that I assume came from the local cornershop.
The service, at this point was lonely. One poor and apparently quite depressed lady. Given that the place was almost empty, it was 7pm on a Monday night, it was still slow.
I ordered a weird concoction of calamari Paht Prik Pao (roasted chili paste) while my partner opted for what was called Ma-Khuer Yang (an aubergine red curry). We both had the black sticky rice.
The black sticky rice (in banana leaf) turned out to be bricks of black rice. Each grain of rice clung to its fellows for dear life, refusing to let go for fear of the chance of actually being cooked.
My dish was a basic slop of vinegar and sugar. Basil? Lime? Galangal? Not that I could taste. Fish sauce? Loads. It was no surprise by this point that the calamari were as bouncy and rubbery as old (1899) bike tyre. The whole thing was topped off with a smear of something chili; it felt like a copy of an Encona sauce.
My partner’s dish, however, made mine look subtle, elegant and made with loving care. The aubergine slabs were roughly marked with the back of a hot knife in order to make them appear in the disguise of something that had been near a griddle. They actually did bounce, we tried that out. The sauce was free of all flavour – which came as a relief.
We didn’t finish, but gazed at each other in awed surprise at the tunnelling achievement; making Thai food depressing.
We paid, politely having not been asked, “How was your meal?” by the lonely lady who, we assumed, simply did not want to hear the answer, and we left rapidly.