This is the green papaya salad or som dtam ($8), and I was really excited when this arrived. It looked fabulous, with crunchy shreds of green papaya, carrot, pieces of long bean, tomatoes, all topped with peanuts and dried shrimp. It looked like the real thing. However, tasting it was a disappointment, because the salad was so mild. It was overly sweet, and normally with a good som dtam you'd get really pungent, strong, assertive lime, fish sauce, chili, and garlic flavours--like every bite would knock you out. This was so diluted, so pale, so lacking...it felt definitely like the dish was 'dumbed down'.
Next we shared the Fried Rice with Sausage ($12), which came generously piled on a large plate. I was excited and amazed at this dish. The Thai sausage (Naam) that is featured here is amazing, and so incredibly true to the what they have in Thailand. In Thailand, Naam is really popular, and it is basically a seasoned pork that is left to ferment until it acquires a pleasing sour flavour. This sausage is a little unusual in that it is very dense and dry in texture, so I imagine this might need some getting used to. But for me, it was so familiar and so good. It went with the fried rice really well, which was seasoned with a slightly sweet soy based sauce. Also served with the fried rice, as is the custom in Thailand, is the nahm jim dipping sauce, which is basically lime, fish sauce, garlic and fresh chili. The nahm jim is wonderful, sour, salty and strong, exactly like what you'd find in Thailand.
We also shared the Muslim Oxtail Soup ($14). This soup was pretty good, with a nice warm heat to it from the dried chili. The pieces of beef from the Oxtail were delicious and tender. It was good with a scoop or two of white rice. Athough it was a good dish, I would have prefered the flavours to be a little stronger. However, this was enjoyable and perfect on a rainy day.
The fried rice and the soup were both enormous, so we were both really full. But we couldn't resist sampling a dessert. We decided on rice donuts with Thai iced tea ice cream ($7), which sounded the most interesting. The donuts were soft and fluffy, but unfortunately, the thick coating of sugar obscured any flavour the rice flour would have given to the donut. It tasted like your usual donut, except a little softer in texture. However, the standout was the ice cream, which tasted exactly like the Thai iced tea you'd get back on the streets of Thailand. Even though it arrived either not frozen enough or partially melted, the taste was amazing. It had a spectacular Thai iced tea (Cha Yen) flavour. Yum, yum, yum!
So in the end it was an experience filled with really high highs and low lows. I'm looking forward to the future of this restaurant though, because if they can bring in more authentic Thai dishes instead of the usual fare (or at least do the usual stuff really, really well), this place would have a spectacular future to be at the forefront of the Thai restaurant scene.
We would definitely come back here, no question, to see what else they have on the menu.