A Regal Meal @ Royal Thai, Tropicana City Mall
Royal Thai @ Tropicana City Mall
A Regal Meal
I was in Bangkok recently and had the luxury of sampling Thai food in its purest form, both in high end restaurants and cooked straight from the wok streetside. Guess what? I’ve found a place in Kuala Lumpur that gives Bangkok a run for its money.
Royal Thai is a new addition to eateries at Tropicana City Mall, and joins existing restaurants under the Tai Thong Group of Restaurants (TTGR). Back to back with San Francisco Steakhouse, Santini’s and playfully connected by wine bar 798 (which in Chinese when pronounced sounds like ‘go to the bar’.)
Welcoming Chef Wallop and Chef Kussit from Northern Thailand, just three months into Malaysia and loving it, they cook up a regal feast. After numerous taste tests, both have adapted their cooking to suit the Malaysian palate, dialing down the spiciness whilst retaining the superb Thai flavour.
I opened the menu and was greeted by the Chef Specials like Soft Shell Crab with Salted Egg at RM 10.90, and Fried Rice with Crabmeat at RM 8.90. All ingredients are sourced directly from Thailand, yet the prices are very reasonable! For such a stylish yet traditional set-up, Royal Thai indeed does not compromise on taste and aims to serve food fit for a royal banquet.
JD and Dilly (Red Breakfast) and Jeremy (Red Evenings) were with me that night, and we were graciously looked after by Assistant Manager Bun who is Thai by heritage but Malaysian by birth. Our first dish up was one of all our favourites, the traditional Mieng Kam. At Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, I had the pleasure of discovering Meing Kam on a stick. A skillful Thai lady gingerly yet speedily wrapped a variety of condiments in the betel leave, and stuck three on a stick. I was amazed at the speed at which she did this – like a machine! And they were so tasty – the perfect balance of all the ingredients.
At Royal Thai, you’re presented with a platter of crispy shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, diced ginger and onion, lime, shallots, dried shrimp and the sweet sauce that binds it all together.
Bun stood up, took charge and gave us an animated demonstration on how to ‘roll’ our own Mieng Kam using the provided betel leaves.
Not as easy as it looks, I can tell you. The beauty is you can roll it however you like, and add as much or as little of anything you want. It’s dangerously Moorish, and you will find that you run out of leaves rather quickly.
We moved on to the Banana Flower Salad or Yam Hua Prie, a Chef’s Special.
Poached chicken coarsely shredded, fresh shallots, vegetables and roasted peanuts coated in a fragrant red coconut cream dressing. It was the only way to distract us from the Mieng Kam!
For a similar taste with a softer texture, try the Thai Aubergine Salad.
As soon as our Tom Yam Goong arrived, Jeremy loudly declared that this was his favourite dish.
With fresh tiger prawns, a variety of mushrooms, and aromatic lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, coconut and lime juice, it’s no wonder he was quick with his announcement.
Intoxicated by the smell, I took a sip and readily agreed with him. This was a good, flavorful Tom Yam with a nice balance of hot, sweet and sour.
The starters nicely settling on our tongues and in our tummies, Dilly commented that so far, nothing had been too spicy and for extra kick, we could add either Thai dried chilli, sambal and cut chilli padi in fish sauce presented to us in elegant jars.
Our main courses arrived as the friendly waiters scooped out fragrant steamed rice onto our plates. First, we enjoyed the all time favourite Green Curry Chicken, which was excellent.
Then, we tried the Kreng Phed Ped Yang, which is a Red Curry with Roasted Duck and Grape.
Most of the grapes ended up on JD’s plate, as did the duck, and taking a cue from Jeremy he speedily declared that this was his favourite!
We marveled at the rich, red ‘Paneang’ curry of coconut, herbs and basil that housed tender roasted duck and sweet grapes that pop in your mouth.
Another specialty to try is the Pla khaprong nueng ma now, or Steamed Seabass in a clear and spicy lime broth that doubles up as a soup.
Don’t miss out on the Khow pad sapparod better known as Pineapple Fried Rice.
A must try is the Pad Thai goong neang, or Pad Thai with Dried Shrimps.
Sweet, savoury, with crunchy beansprouts and that fresh out-of-the-wok smell and taste, I was transported back to the streets of Bangkok.
Dessert was a refreshing pleasure and we polished off ice-cold Tab tim grob, Red Ruby Chestnut Morsels in sweet coconut, and a sweet steamed Pumpkin Custard.
Adjourn to the terrace of 798 for after dinner drinks and mellow down to the band. Be it a weekday or a weekend, food-wise, every visit to Royal Thai will feel like a short getaway to Thailand.
You can’t afford to miss out on this regal meal.
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