Upon hearing that one of Thailand’s famous local chain of restaurants – Nara Thai was arriving to our shores, I simply had to make the trip down to the motherland to find out how good was this restaurant. Recently opened Nara Thai Singapore at Ion Orchard pays true homage to its traditions. With a staff mostly of Thais, one can be ensured that there is some level of authenticity there. The 110-seater restaurant that has taken over Burger King makes Thai Express taste like baby food, and it wasn’t long before Bali Thai closed down for a revamp just weeks after Nara Thai’s grand opening.
The Tom Yum Kung ($19.90) is a true litmus test for any thai restaurant, and Nara Thai delivers a milky sour and spicy broth generously topped with oversized prawns. The sweetness of the river prawns balances well with the sweet and spicy kicks from the soup.
Other favourites include the Gai Hor Bai Toei (Pandan Chicken, $12.90) – tender juices chunks of chicken barbequed with pandan leaves. I also had the Yum Pak Boong Krob (Crispy Fried Morning Glory, $12.90) that was a great snack but nothing. The Hor Mok Pla Grai (Red Curry Fish Souffles $14.90), which was essentially Nara Thai’s western take on Otak Otak, sat well with me with its fragrant lemongrass flavours and chunk fish meat.
Curries are the highlight to many Thai dishes. I absolutely must recommend the Kung Phad Pong Karee (Fried Prawsn with Yellow Curry, $25.90). The dish is served with a river-full of prawns, all nicely halved to save your hands from dirt. But it is the yellow curry that hits the spot. Mildly spicy, but rich in coconut flavours and spices, it’s a match made in heaven when poured over your rice.
Not all curries faired well though. While the Kaeng Phed Ped Yang (Roasted Duck Red Curry, $15.90) was interesting in itself, I found the curry bordering on to the dessert section and an absent spice leve.
If time is of a luxury, you may want to try the Pla Kra Pong Nung Manao (Steamed whole sea bass with spicy chili lime sauce, $32.90). It was a good balance of spicy and tangy lime, which matched well with the fish. Lazy diners such as yours truly would find delight in having both sides of the fish thoughtfully fillet-ed out.
Looking around to end your meal, you’d realize everyone was ordering the Coconut Ice Cream with Thai Sweet Condiments ($8.80). The assortment of condiments in varying colours is sure to put a smile to any diner after a meal at Nara Thai. Be your own chef and concoct your dessert to your palate’s content.
While the menu here is not as extensive as its sister restaurant in Thailand, Nara Thai Singapore serves up some really great Thai food at reasonable prices.
Nara Thai Singapore Ion Orchard, #B3-21 2 Orchard Turn
Tel: +65 66345787
Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am – 10pm