Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sawadee Thai Cuisine - An Elegance of Thai Flavors

Thai food in Singapore tends to straddle between the low end and premium options, and rarely do you find something in the middle which will really satisfy both your desire for Thai delicacies and not burning a hole in your wallet.

Sawadee Thai Cuisine, which was formerly located in Sembawang and now situated near Bugis Junction, is one such Thai eatery that tries to find a balance between quality and pricing.

Looking at the exterior, one would expect a fine dining experience from a place looking as refined as this.

The interiors are beautifully decorated and has an elegant and cosy feel about it. Yet, when you flip over the menu, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the food is actually quite affordable for such a setup and location.

Green Mango Salad

The green mango salad was done with 2 different types of mango, and the resulting textures were both refreshing and unique. The salad was properly seasoned and had a nice balance of sweetness and acidity.

Betel Leaf Wrap

This was a rather curious appetizer that makes use of betel leaves to wrap parcels of ingredients and eat as a mouthful. The ingredients include shaved peanuts, garlic, chilli, dried shrimp and a sweet prawn sauce that would not really be out of place in a plate of rojak. Taken as a whole, there was a scent of perfume and an explosion of flavors when you take it all in.

Hearty Duck Curry

I really enjoyed this Thai styled duck curry, which had lychees infused into the spicy and coconut milk flavored curry broth. And hearty it was too, with that wonderful combination of spice, savory and sweetness that only the Thais can come up with. This is ideal to go with a bowl of hot rice.

Thai Otak

This curious version of Thai Otak was also very charming. Served in a clay dish with little clay covers to keep warm and fresh, the texture was much drier and harder than most traditional otaks we find on the street, but that strong fragrance of coconut milk and spices really came through and made this a very flavorful bite.

Olive Rice

I seldom enjoy olive rice, but I must say, I was quite more than impressed with the olive rice served at Sawadee. Strips of chicken, lime bits, chilli and dried shrimp were all there to enrich the beautiful aroma of this rice dish. Taken with the duck curry, it was pure bliss.

Spicy Steamed Seabass

A staple of Thai cuisine these days, this spicy steamed seabass was cooked to perfection. The fish itself was super fresh and delicate, and the perfectly textured fish meat was a joy to savor.That simple topping of fresh garlic and chilli, infused with a tinge of acid was just right to balance the dish. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Fried Fish Maw with Beansprouts

This fish maw fish fried with beansprouts was also a delight. It was actually cooked more like an omelette styled dish, as the eggs were cooked very well to induce a beautiful fragrance to combine with the fish maw and beansprouts. A nice play of textures and crunch, and something simple but executed to almost perfection.

Durian Puree with Glutinous Rice

As for the sweet stuff, the standout was this simple durian puree with classic Thai glutinous rice. The rice was well cooked, and true to the familiar sticky rice texture. The durian puree was nicely blended, slightly grainy and not too overly smooth. Simple and effective.

The restaurant seems to be run like a family affair, as the head cook is the lady boss. She does most of the preparation and oversees every aspect of the cooking, from making the base sauces to the final plating of each dish.

The service staff were also all very friendly and ever smiling all the time, befitting of a good Thai eatery. Most of the food I tasted that day were of a high caliber, and even the weaker dishes were still more than palatable. 

For a meal steeped in class and elegance, the prices are pretty decent and is perfect for family outings and celebrations. And combined that with a central and easy to find location, Sawadee Thai will become a Thai favorite of The Silver Chef's for some time.

Sawadee Thai Cuisine
9 Tan Quee Lian Street

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