Sunday, May 25, 2008
It seems to be a winning recipe- eateries amidst greenery. Singaporeans take to eateries surrounded by lush greenery and with locations that are away from it all. One Rochester, Dempsey Hill, Mount Sophia, Labrador Park, Old Seletar Airbase.... and now Hort Park off Alexandra Road.
I haven't had time to explore the park yet but on the surface, it seems like an interesting place to check out. On my visit, there were photography exhibition, displays, information boards and the features of an eco-friendly home. But time was tight and I could only insert dinner. In fact, it was dinner that brought me there.
A big glass door swings open leading to the wooden, contemporary Asian insides. It exuded class and comfort, yet being in a park, one would not feel out of place dining in berms and sandals. But while the atmosphere was cosy, I felt the place was a tad too dim for dinner...perfect for lounging though.
No visit to a Thai restaurant would be complete without Tom Yum Goong ($15). I was slightly taken a back to find that this was actually meant for one person. So unless you don't mind sharing, be prepared to order a bowl each. The broth was additively sourish at first and ended with a spicy, slightly bitter finish. This really got the appetite going. The King prawn's flesh was sufficiently fresh and meaty but not fantastic.
For a salad, Yam Moo Yang ($16) made an impact. It featured grilled pork with Thai herbs. I enjoyed the juicy, slightly sweetish slices of pork that could pass of as a Thai char siew. As for the 'foreign' leaves and herbs, it wasn't my kind of salad leaves. Too wild, too herby.
Fans of green curry should order the Gaeng Kiew Wan ($24 for chicken). They also offered a $30 version with soft shell crab instead of chicken. But that's for another time. The green curry gravy was aromatic and soothing with the natural sweetness of coconut at the forefront. Ladle some gravy on rice and enjoy! The chicken came in three oval-shaped pieces. It tasted like chicken breast but was unbelievably tender. I could imagine a chicken-tofu combination to like this. I was actually baffled by it. Was it minced chicken that was mixed with other ingredients and compressed together? Hmmm...
Pla Krapong Hoi Bai Tong Yang Prik Ta-Khrai ($30) is a mouthful to handle so I simply point. The English translation of that in the menu is (hold your breathe now) Spicy Thai Bbq Seabass Fillet Marinate with Red Curry Paste and Lemongrass Wrapped in Banana Leaf. Looking like sambal stingray, it didn't disappoint. The spice paste was fragrant with shallots, chilli and other aromatics. The seabass fillet was firm and the slightly charred banana leaf added another aromatic dimension. Unfortunately, the grilling made the bottom portion of the fillet too tough. A real pity.
A choice of Khao Hom-Ma-Li aka jasmine rice ($3 per person) or Khao Kong aka brown rice ($3 per person) perfectly goes with the food here. Hey, at times like these, this free-flow serving of rice would cost a bomb!
The Phad Thai ($18) here is also pretty good with a generous dash of fish sauce.
For dessert, we shared a Sung Kaya ($14) which was a coconut pudding with shavings of fresh coconut. Soft and slightly sticky, it was rich and sweet. But I couldn't handle more than three mouthfuls. Too rich for me.
In a nutshell, the food may be a little expensive for Thai food here but what they offer is generally good and the ambience is worth checking out.
#02-02 Hort Park
33 Hyderabad Road
Tel: 6476 9000
Chew On This: In the day, I suspect the natural sunlight filtering into the restaurant would make this a bright and cheery place. For dinners, I would recommend making a reservation for a place outside. There are nice seats and dinner would be by the pond/pool.