313 Dalhousie St., Ottawa – (613) 562-8818 – Website
Date of Visit: March 15, 2013
I had heard, or read somewhere, that the Royal Thai, which used to occupy other premises, is now in the same building as the Palais Imperial. When I checked it out, I assumed that the Palais Imperial (a Chinese restaurant) was on the lower floor, with Royal Thai upstairs, but, in fact, you can be seated on the lower floor and be given the menu for both establishments. This was a nice bonus, I thought since, in addition to allowing me to sample a couple of appetizers from the Royal Thai menu, I also able to enjoy an item or two of dim sum as well…
Ambience and Service
The main dining room downstairs seems much the same as I remember from my visit to the Palais Imperial back in August 2011, although I think the wall decorations may have changed. It is quite plush, and quite ornately formal, but still comfortable and spacious.
I am fairly sure that the person who greeted me and showed me to my seat on my last visit is the same as the current individual. In my review of the Palais Imperial, I wrote how rude and offhand this person seemed to be but, on this occasion, he was extremely friendly and jovial and, at one point, even laughed and slapped me on the back when I had a moments confusion over one of the menu items. The rest of the servers were generally polite and one young lady, who was pushing a dim sum cart was extremely friendly and answered some of my questions very helpfully.
As I mentioned, it is possible, on the lower floor, to order from both the Chinese and Thai menu. Dim Sum carts also ply the floor and there is a separate pictorial menu for these items as well. I did try a very interesting dim sum item, which I will be posting about in due course, but I was there to sample the Thai food offerings and ended up having a couple of decent dishes.
Goong Pun Ooy – This dish consists of crab meat wrapped around sticks of sugar cane and then breaded and deep-fried. I have had a similar preparation before in which the whole thing was steamed and, while that was very good, this version was even nicer
The amount of crab provided was very generous indeed and it was delicately seasoned and very succulent. There was dipping sauce provided, a very bland syrup concoction that was uninteresting, but, really, these crab treats needed nothing extra at all and I rated them at a 5 out of 5.
Pu-ja – This was crab meat mixed with ground pork, seasoned with coriander and garlic, and served (supposedly) in crab shells. In point of fact, I was just given a couple of patties and thought that maybe a mistake had been made but, when I asked one of the waiters, I was told that they were out of the crab shells they usually use.
As it happened, the lack of the shells detracted very little from my enjoyment of this dish. The crab was not quite as sweet as in the previous dish but the blend ratio with the pork was well done and the seasoning very deftly handled. The dipping sauce was the same bland syrup stuff as with the sugar cane offering but sriracha sauce is provided on the table and a little of that mixed in made for a much nicer accompaniment. Quite honestly, I was hoping to try another selection from the dim sum menu but these were so filling that I decide against it. I enjoyed this appetizer and rated them at a 3 out of 5.
I quite liked the Thai appetizers I was served and the ability to order from two quite different end extensive menus made this joint establishment an interesting place to dine. The service was very good on this occasion and I would rate the place at a 4 out of 5.