Near Telok Ayer Station
Befitting the versatile Cha Thai restautant greatly, this spectacular Baked Tiger Prawns Glass Noodle Claypot could easily sum up the quality of Thai food served over here – simply on point! Despite being its signature, one would, like myself, skip this on the menu, firstly due to its whopping $159 tag and secondly the injustice that the picture in the menu could have done to this dish, as the tiger prawns shown on the menu were utterly disproportionate to the actual gigantic size served! Literally, the head itself is already longer than my index finger (my palm isn’t petite by the way); this is by far, the largest prawns that I’ve ever encountered.
So I say, drop the usual crab vermicelli and go for this exclusive one if you have a soft spot for lobsters as the succulent, springy meat of these large tiger prawns, perfumed throughout with the aromatic spices and ginger would blow you off with its freshness while the umami coming through strongly from the bouncy vermicelli underneath would see you going for umpteenth servings. So flavoursome and with such high quality, this pot is definitely worthy of the $159 tag. Please note that only 3 prawns will be served, good to share among 4 and as these unconventionally huge tiger prawns are rare, it is advisable to place your orders first before visiting the restaurant in order to avoid disappointment.
Saute Pork with Basil Leaf – One of the huge favourite dishes that night! My love for Char Siu has given me a soft spot towards any beautifully grilled pork that comes together with a perfect light caramelisation. And with these two fundamentals done right over here, the tenderer pork cheeks utilised were made even more umami-tasting and lip-smacking with a stir fry. $18.
The Crispy Prawn Cake appetiser could have turned into a filling main on its own already with so much crunchy prawn stuffing encased within each huge patty. Perfectly fried on its outside to an impeccable crisp, we reckon that this is a must-order dish. $15.
Signature Tiger Prawn Panang Curry – A highly recommended bowl as it differs greatly from the usual ones in most restaurants. So thick, creamy and made homogeneous with no sign of splitting at all, this largely savoury Panang Curry with the mildest spiciness is made unique by complementing it with the lightly sweet lychee toppings. Loving the extremely low level of spiciness in it, it forms the perfect slather for your rice! $28.
Nam Prik Khai pu – Raw it may seem, the star lies in the creative dip that has been prepared from the heavy tasting crab roe, while at the same time, cleverly cut through by hints of acidity as well, rendering a flavoursome yet still refreshing dip for the greens! As you may have noticed, we have tasted quite a number of heavier tasting dishes and this came perfectly to add a refreshing element to the meal. $12.90.
Saute Kai Lan with Roasted Pork – The crackling crisp in those chunky pork pieces was the highlight of this dish, with its taste further accentuated by the crunchy Kai Lan stir fried in Oyster Sauce. $18.
Baked Pineapple rice – Overflowing with the curry spiced baked rice, this was a pretty delicious bowl of traditional pineapple rice. $18.
Thai Train Fried Rice – This plate of train fried rice perhaps has a deeper meaning to the Thais who usually have it on their long train journeys to the other regions of Thailand, just like the beautiful bento sets the Japanese are accustomed to. Though meant to taste more ordinary, the taste of this plate of fried rice has been lifted by the perfectly roasted pork pieces. $18.
Tom Yum Soup – Such clear soup usually fills me with trepidation as its deceivingly clearness usually bodes a swollen lips thereafter, worsened further by the acidity of the soup. But you could request for the bird eye’s chillis to be served separately. $28.
Cha Thai Toast – The moment this was served, I was overwhelmed by the fragrance emanating from these huge golden cubes. Pillowy and fluffy on the inside yet toasted to a perfect crisp on the outside with a fragrant butter overcoat, these cubes tasted best when soaked in the creamy, highly concentrated thai tea sauce. Special mention to the dip as its unique thickness hardly allows a droplet to drop; richness checked. $8.
If you have noticed, I have avoided Thai restaurants recently as the tastier ones are usually ridiculously spicy which may not help in the digestion for some. Cha Thai, however, serves Thai cuisine from the central region, that is culturally much less spicier than the other regions and thankfully, suits my palates perfectly. And I say with its high quality and hearty portions served over here, the slightly higher price tags are all justified.
Thank you Leah for the lovely invitation!
Verdict: An excellent restaurant.