Wang Thai Kitchen 旺泰小橱
We were invited to review this establishment.
We’ve been on a total Thai food kick lately and we’re loving it! We’re big Thai food fans so any new places that can satisfy this craving of ours is always welcome. Wang Thai Kitchen isn’t actually brand new – Chef Ivan has been running his little outfit from a coffeeshop in Toa Payoh for a while, before deciding to open his own casual restaurant below an HDB flat at the urging of his loyal fans.
And running a restaurant sure isn’t an easy business – during a chat we had with him, he revealed that the labour crush in recent years caused him to lose some talented chefs. But passion and perseverance won out in the end and he decided to press on by himself. Kudos to his dedication!
Which is how we found ourselves seated at his down-to-earth, family-run restaurant, sampling his dishes at his kind invitation. So how did it fare?
Mango Salad ($5.00) Lightly dressed, the mango was fresh and crunchy, while my mum and grandma would have preferred it to be more saucy and sour, I personally thought it was fine like that.
Pineapple Rice (Small – $6.00 / Large – $12.00) This is one of the rare times where the pineapple rice actually tastes of pineapple – rather than fried rice that also happens to be yellow. You could actually taste the fragrance of the pineapple, which is helped by the fact that there were many pineapple cubes with plenty of eggs and raisins! We highly recommend this.
Olive rice (Small – $6.00 / Large – $12.00) Tasty, with the minced meat floss a perfect accompaniment to the dish. The texture of the rice was grainy and not sticky or clumpy. What’s unique here is the choice of olive used, instead of the cheaper salted black Chinese olives vegetable mix (mix of preserved vegetable and mashed olive), pure black Chinese olives were used instead; more expensive and time consuming but you can fully appreciate the fragrance of the olives. Once again, we loved it.
Eggplant with Basil Leaves and Minced Pork (Small – $8.00 / Large – $12.00) Eggplant was deep fried to a melt-in-the-mouth softness, and fried with basil leaves and minced meat. The dish is awesome with its well balanced flavors – the basil wasn’t too overpowering. It’s one of the trickier Thai dishes but there’s no doubt about it, Chef Ivan has mastered this dish.
Thai Style Kang Kong (Small – $6.00 / Medium – $8.00 / Large – $10.00)
Crunchy and tasty, simple and good.
Deep Fried Chicken with Garlic (Small – $6.00 / Large – $10.00) Fried to a crispy brownness, these little chicken bites might look innocuous but they truly pack a punch, taking you by surprise with its fragrant garlic flavour. It tastes fine by its own without the chilli sauce; we all agreed this is a sure hit with the little kids.
Seabass with Thai Lemon Grass Soup (Small – $28.00 / Large – $35.00) Due to the relentless flame that burned for a little too long, the fish was a tad overcooked resulting in it being tough; a pity given that the fish was fresh. The stock was sour and could be more balanced with sweet and/or spicy notes. My grandma, being more health conscious, loved it though – she wiped out every single drop of the stock.
Pad Thai (Small $6.00 / Large – $12.00) Served with tender big King prawns and slices of fried fish, the texture of the Pad Thai was QQ! It was of the right sweetness. Bean sprouts were served on the side, but we personally preferred for it to be cooked together with the noodles or to do without it entirely. When eaten raw, the freshness of the bean sprouts becomes very apparent … and in this case we were concerned that they just weren’t too fresh.
Tom Yum (Small – $6.00 / Large – $12.00) Tasty and interestingly like the Pad Thai, fried fish slices were present in the soup. Guess it’s to cater to our Singaporean taste buds? Whatever the reason, we’re not complaining! The ingredients in the soup were generous, featuring big and fresh prawns. A big thumbs up.
Handmade tofu ($12.00) Tofu was silky with a nice fried crust, the sauce was like a less spicy version of a MaPo Tofu, skewing more towards Chinese than Thai. We understood from the Chef that he used to cook this dish in a Thai sweet, sour and spicy flavour but decided to cater to more local tastes instead.
Pandan Chicken ($8.00) The pieces served here are larger than usual, and so were extremely meaty. The pandan fragrance was clearly present, although not fully permeated throughout, it’s still a very enticing rendition of this classic dish.
Stuffed Chicken Wing ($9.00) The stuffed chicken wing was stuffed with even more chicken and fish mixture inside. No problems with how it tasted, but it might be a little too meaty and overwhelming for me! (Of course, my little brother had no problems with that).
Fish Cake ($8.00) The fish cake is much more tender than the prawn cake is, and there are lots of herbs and spices used making it much more authentic than the prawn cake.
Prawn Cake ($9.00) Coated with bread crumbs, it was crispy on the outside. The prawn paste inside is chewy (or tough depending on personal preference) and the seasoning is average. Wasn’t really to our fancy, though.
Thai coconut ice cream This was the first time I’ve ever had Thai coconut ice cream and I was pleasantly surprised! Extremely fragrant, the ice cream flavour blended very well with the peanuts and the red Ruby. The ice cream was very fine too. (P.S this is imported from Thailand so it really is authentic!)
Thai mango ice cream The flavour of the mango may be a little too artificial for our liking.
Lemongrass jelly Not too sweet, the jelly’s very soft and it’s refreshing. It melts in your mouth too, so huge thumbs up to that.
The use of fresh and good quality ingredients in the capable hands of Chef Ivan, and the generous portions he serves up, make this place a true value-for-money gem.
On the whole, Wang Thai well deserves at least 3.75 stars, though admittedly some of the dishes were lacking in the ever-important, but hard to achieve charred wok flavour. Otherwise, most of the flavours were really good! Our top picks are the pineapple rice, olive rice, eggplant with Basil leaves and minced meat, Tom Yum soup, deep fried Chicken with Garlic and the Thai Coconut ice cream. Plus, Chef Ivan revealed that he will be heading to Thailand for a refresher of his Thai culinary skills, so we’re sure that it’ll get even better!
Wang Thai Kitchen
Address: Blk 92, Toa Payoh Lor 4, #01-274, Singapore 310092
Tel: 6358 2938
Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm, Closed on every Wednesday