Monday, November 28, 2016

Basil Thai Kitchen at Paragon Shopping Centre

I know the traditional romantic will probably strangle me for saying this but falling in love with food is pretty much like falling in love with that special someone. It's that moment when you had an amazing meal and you can't stop thinking about it. You find yourself talking about it to anyone who'll listen and you can't wait for the next visit to finally happen.

A few weeks ago, I just had one of the best meals of 2016. That's quite a bold statement, I know given that the year is coming to a close. Add to the fact that I was down with a bad 3-week-long cough, I clearly wasn't in the best physical condition but wanting to check the restaurant out, I still pushed through and luckily, every single dish made the tiny struggle so worth it.

basil thai kitchen sg
Basil Thai Kitchen opened it's flagship outlet at the basement of Paragon Shopping Centre. I have to admit that while I've visited this mall a number of times, it was my first time to explore the basement and boy I was so shocked at what I was missing out on! It's not hard to spot Basil Thai Kitchen as it's one of the most well-lit restaurant in the block. One thing to note is that while Paragon Shopping Centre is considered to be quite high-end, the price points of this restaurant is very very reasonable. Now, let us talk about the food. It's very interesting knowing that this restaurant got Iron Chef Thailand Chumpol Jangprai as its consultant-chef. The menu showcases a mix of local Thai specialties all over Thailand. And while the Japanese may have their umami, patrons of Basil Thai Kitchen will savor the yum which is a mix of sweet, sour and spicy flavours. Very distinctly Thai, if you ask me.



basil thai kitchen sg
We started with a couple of starters and one thing that immediately stood out was the Tao Khua (S$9.90) which is a fresh salad consisting of an assortment of boiled veggies, prawn fritters, vermicelli noodles and their homemade dressing. It has a very refreshing salad where you get a good mix of texture and flavor notes all in one. So yummy not to mention, so pretty too.

basil thai kitchen sg
I love spring rolls and Basil's version truly didn't disappoint. They got two versions, the Poa Pia Boran (S$9.90) which is filled with minced chicken, black fungus, bamboo shoot and glass noodles as well as the Larb Chicken Spring Rolls (S$8.90) which has a slightly spicy kick but it's equally just as good. I noticed that larb is a very popular meat type in the Thai/Laos region and after doing a bit of research, it can actually be minced chicken/pork/beef/turkey and more. Spring rolls make a great starter to any meal or it can be eaten as a snack too. The best thing about it is the sweet chili dip which never fails to intensify the flavor.

basil thai kitchen sg
For the spicy-lovers out there, you got to try the Laab Gai (S$8.90). I thought my spicy tolerance has improved greatly since moving here a couple of years ago but boy, one spoonful of this Laab Gai and I found myself scrambling for a glass of water while trying hard not to start a coughing fit. It was indeed very hot hot hot but it was so delicious too making it so annoying! This is a North-Eastern specialty where you get a mix of stir-fried minced chicken tossed with chilli padi (and they have added tons of it), fresh lime juice, puffed rice and herbs, mint and basil. I guess you can request for a milder version which I believe they will probably say yes too if you ask nicely. :)

basil thai kitchen sg
We also tried the Signature Basil Chicken Wings (S$8.90) which is a simple starter that's good for sharing. Be sure to try the fried basil leaves which are equally yum.

basil thai kitchen sg
Moving on to the main dishes, we started with the Massaman Chicken Curry with Crispy Roti (S$13.90). First of all, I have to say that the chefs of Basil Thai Kitchen not only give so much effort in making the dishes taste good but they look beautiful too. As we all know, when it comes to food, the feast starts with our eyes. I must have surpassed my "wow" quota that evening as I've been saying that word repeatedly all night long. One taste and I love how rich the flavor was. You can imagine the amount of spices and herbs that probably went into this plus the fact that the chicken must have been simmered long enough to soak up all the flavor too.

The best way to enjoy this is to pick up a piece of the Thai-style crispy roti and to dip this into the sauce. You can either dip the roti and eat the chicken separately or wrap the chicken in the roti. Either way, you can't have one without the other.

basil thai kitchen sg
Another winning dish was the Keang Khua Poo (S$16.90) which is a thick yellow curry filled with chunks of crab meat and served with rice vermicelli and veggies. While taking photos of this, I told my dining companions that I feel that I'll love this dish and I was right! I love anything curry and the creamier it is the more I love it. I highly recommend this and you might want to order a cup of rice to go with this too.

basil thai kitchen sg
Lastly, we had the Fresh Prawn Omelette (S$8.90). While it may not look anything extra ordinary on photo, believe me when I say that this was pretty awesome. The egg was fried in such as way that you get a crunchy bite but the inside stayed so fluffy. Mixed together with the egg is a generous amount of prawns and basil. It's a very comforting dish, I must say and it complemented our flavorful main dishes too.

basil thai kitchen sg
Of course, we had to end our meal with desserts (yup plural!). I recommend the Homemade Lod Chong (S$5.90) which is the Thai-style chendol and very similar to the Pinoy Halo-Halo. Pandan noodles mixed with palm sugar, crushed ice and coconut cream. I had to skip the cold stuff that day but I tried a spoonful and I loved it! I can't wait to go back now and have more.

basil thai kitchen sg
Another option is the Red Ruby with Coconut Cream (S$5.90). I'm a fan of red rubies and I really enjoyed this simple dessert with a generous amount of red rubies which are water chestnuts soaked in rooiboos root thus giving it its red color. It was served cold but I wonder if it would also be just as good if it was served warm thus making the coconut cream even richer in texture. Hmm..

It was such a great dinner at Basil Thai Kitchen and I've been talking and thinking about it since. I think it's time to go back soon.

Check out Basil Thai Kitchen at 290 Orchard Road, #B1-45/46 Paragon Shopping Centre, S238859. Call them at 6836-8417. 

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