Cha Thai ('CT') by Loaves me has recently open its door in Telok Ayer Street. Set up by the same group that brought you Shibuya Toast and Thai Food at SMU campus, Thai food is basically native to this group.
|Cha Thai - We Serve Quality|
Helmed by Executive Chef Permsiri Sirijindapan (fondly known as Leah), who was trained in France. Fluent in English, Chef Leah explain to us about her inspirations in introducing quality Thai cuisine to the world by combining traditional flavours modern cooking technique and best quality of ingredients. Boasting majority of kitchen staff with Thai background, you can be assure of the authenticity of the food here.
|The Kitchen - Behind the Iron Grille|
Starter was Crispy Prawn Cake ($15). It is thick, juicy and fresh. It has a light coating and perfectly fried to have the crispy texture in the outer part while maintaining the juicy fillings. The plum sauce on the side provide a sweetness to elevate the prawn cake.
|Crispy Prawn Cake|
|Crispy Prawn Cake - The fillings|
The curry dish Signature Tiger Prawn Panang Curry ($28). This is a Cha Thai original dish. The curry was thick, creamy, robust and rich. Instead of mind blowing spiciness, the chilli uses to accentuate the dish together with the sweetness from the lychee. The tiger prawns used fresh, big and juicy about the size of half of your palm. This dish best to consume with rice. To borrow a new term that I learn in Korean show, this dish is a Rice Thief (meaning it will make you eat lots and lots of rice). Superb!!
|Tiger Prawn Panang Curry|
According to Chef Leah, a few of her customers thought that the tiger prawns was not perfectly cooked but we can tell you the prawns are perfectly cook as per the thai style. FYI, it is normal in Thailand, if they slightly undercooked their prawns especially when the prawn is fresh. This will stop the prawn from become rubbery. The best part of course if you can suck the brain juice, that's where the flavour is.
|Tiger Prawn Panang Curry - Check out the size of prawn|
Next was Grilled Kurobuta Pork ($28). CT uses one of the rarest part of the pork, pork jowl (pork cheek). One of the rarest part of the pig and contains high amount of fats. Marinated in thai style then grilled on charcoal, it has a good caramelisation and the pork just melts in your mouth. Served with steamed glutinous rice and tamarind sauce, it actually make it a complete meal by itself. The only feedback I want to give is that I feel the glutinous rice is a bit hard and dry.
|Grilled Kurobuta Pork|
Of course, when you are having Thai food, you must try their Tom Yum Soup Clear ($28). LD is the one who sample the tom yum. The broth is clear, packs with herbs and basil flavour. It is sour and spicy. If you don't like overly spicy, avoid the chilli seeds floating around in the soup. Other than tiger prawns, you can also find mussels, fishball and mushroom. A good for value dish!
|Tom Yum Soup Clear|
Simmer Pork ($22). This is Thai style pork knuckle. CT sous vide the pork knuckles marinated with Ovaltine over long period. Yes, apparently, this is the secret to pork stew in Thailand. The result is fall of the bone pork legs and marinated that equally penetrated the meat and skin. Yum Yum!!
|Thai Pork Knuckle - Check out the skin. Yum Yum|
Steam Giant Sea Bass Fillet ($35). Ok, they are not kidding when they said giant sea bass fillet. The picture in the menu did not do CT justice. You want the actual size, check out the picture below. I think it can feed 6 pax nicely. Boneless and steamed with chilli, garlic, herbs and lime sauce. Because of the thickness of the fish, we find the sauce did not manage to get through. Though the meat is solid, you have to eat it with the sauce. We personally like smaller seabass served boiling with the lime sauce in smaller Thai restaurant.
|Steam Giant Sea Bass Fillet|
At this point, LD and I basically filled to the limit, however Chef Leah insist that we tried their Thai Fruit Salad ($16). It is a seasonal tropical fruit mixed salad with mango, guava, corn and carrot. Although this suppose to be a starter salad, we consider this our desserts due to the fruits. It has nice crunchy texture, mixed of sweet and spiciness in the sauce. Thailand answer to our fruit rojak.
|Thai Fruit Salad|
We also sample Thai Iced Milk Tea ($3.90) and Butterfly Pea Juice ($3.90). The milk tea is thick, smooth and solid. Just like the one that you get in Thailand. Meanwhile the butterfly pea juice made from butterfly pea flowers, which commonly use a blue colouring in peranakan dishes, provide a unique, sweet, lemony and refreshing taste to the drink.
|Butterfly Pea Juice & Thai Iced Milk Tea|
The décor of this place is bright with a clean wooden contemporary look. Different coloured glasses are used to provide different feel to the environment. We personally like their table set up, especially with a pot of grass and mini bottles of lab drip tubes to contain the sauces and vinegar.
|Part of Dining Area|
Overall, Cha Thai indeed served a High Quality Thai Food. While staying true to the traditional recipe, Chef Leah not afraid to introduce modern cooking technique that can bring the best of the traditional cuisine. Let us be frank, they are not cheap, but you will get what you paid for. Cheers!!
|Cha Thai - Take Away Counter|
Thank you very much to Daniel, Chef Leah and Cha Thai team for the tasting invitation.
Food & Drink: 8.5/10
Service: N / A (Tasting Event)
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80
80 Telok Ayer Street
T: +65 6636 3696
OH: 08.00 – 22.00 Daily