December 16, 2016

Basil Thai Kitchen @ Paragon, Orchard ~ Affordable, Delicious Thai Food In Beautiful Garden Setting

Home-grown brand Basil Thai Kitchen has unveiled its flagship outlet in Paragon Shopping Centre in Orchard Road just last month in November. This is two years after the first branch was launched at Kallang Wave Mall in 2014.

To be honest, I was skeptical initially because, you know lah... how exciting can chain restaurants be? You may have heard of ThaiExpress, which is also operated under the same parent company.

But as Basil is located near my office and tummy need dinner anyway, I decided to make the visit. Must cast those prejudical thoughts aside.

Oh boy, it was a pleasant surprise to find the food more delectable than imagined. There are quite a few unique offerings on the menu too, created by a team of chefs with over 20years of experience and headed by Iron Chef Thailand, Chumpol Jangprai.

Basil's lush garden setting certainly deviates from the typical Thai restaurants.

The greenery does provide a café-like ambience which adds to a refreshing dining experience, but I imagine the casual joint to be even more alluring if there is natural daylight.

Too bad it's stuck in the basement (opposite Treasures Yi Dian Xin by Imperial Treasure) where the sun doesn't shine.

It's okay, we will have to just let our imagination take flight as we sipped on beverages like Virgin Basil Mojito ($3.90) and Honey Butterfly Pea with Lime ($3.90).

Being creatures of habit, we would have gone ahead to order familiar favorites like Seafood Phai Thai ($11.90), Green Curry Chicken ($11.90), Tom Yum Soup ($9.90) and Pineapple Fried Rice ($11.90), if we weren't told that the provincial delights are the really must-trys.

Poa Pia Boran ($9.90) made from a time-honored recipe? Laab Gai ($8.90), a North-Eastern specialty? Tao Khua ($9.90) from South Thailand? Keang Khua Poo ($16.90), a moreish Southern Thai yellow curry with chunks of crab meat?

These are but a few lesser-known dishes from various parts of Thailand.

My favorites have to be the well-marinated Basil Chicken Wings ($8.90), and Poa Pia Boran ($9.90), Thai-style spring rolls filled with minced chicken, black fungus, bamboo shoots and glass noodles.

All were deep-fried to golden brown loveliness, so utterly crispy and juicy when I took an almost immediate bite the moment our (repeated) serving came out piping hot. Aroy mak mak!

The Laab Gai ($8.90) of stir-fried minced chicken tossed with chili padi, fresh lime juice, puffed rice and herbs was another appetite-whetting starter.

Though portions are designed for communal dining, some items can also suffice as a light main for small individual eaters.

Take for instance the Tao Khua ($9.90). The salad comprised of battered prawns, slivers of chicken breast, assorted boiled vegetables and rice vermicelli paired with mildly sweet and spicy dressing was pleasant and refreshing. This is especially ideal on days when weather is warm and you want something light to line the tummy.

We were also recommended the Tom Yum Chicken Noodle Soup ($10.90) by a Thai for its authenticity, just like how they eat it in Thailand.. The broth's tasting notes are also spicy and sour, but it came across rather differently from the usual tom yum we're accustomed to. I must say it's no less delicious.

Massaman Chicken Curry with Crispy Roti ($13.90)? It was surprising to see a local curry and roti prata lookalike combination but this is in actual fact a Persian-inspired dish conjured by the consort of King Rama II in Thailand back in the 18th century.

Presented in a tagine earthenware, the hearty curry dish has 13 ingredients including star anise, thyme and galangal ground into a spice blend which is left to rest overnight to allow the flavor to improve. A whole chicken thigh is then simmered in it for 20 minutes before serving.

Robusting with aromatic flavors and tender meat, the curry is not only good with roti, but with white rice as well.

The Fresh Prawn Omelette ($8.90) also paired very well with rice. Though we liked the crispy exterior, I wish the egg is fluffy on the inside for a more delightful texture.

Our dinner rounded off with Lod Chong ($6.90), a Thai-style chendol which is similar to our local version, as well as Red Ruby with Coconut Cream ($5.90). The desserts are homemade with no artificial coloring.

Overall, Basil Thai Kitchen impressed as a casual joint for decent Thai food.

Looking for an affordable meal along the expensive Orchard Road belt? This is it!

Basil Thai Kitchen
Address: 290 Orchard Road, #B1-45/46, Paragon, Singapore 238859
Contact: +65 6836 8417
Opening Hours: Daily 11am-10pm

Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.

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