103 Murray Street, Ottawa – Website
Date of Visit: March, 2019
I was planning to visit this place on the first night of a recent trip to Ottawa, but I arrived late and, after a gruelling flight, had no enthusiasm for venturing out on the town. The following day, my lunch plans got changed when the restaurant I wanted to visit turned out to be closed and so I kept walking a little further and ended up at Khao Thai. Their lunch menu is not as extensive as the dinner version but I pretty ended up having what I would have ordered anyway and I very much enjoyed it. I was very glad that I didn’t miss out on this place as it turned out to be well worth the visit…
Khao Thai seats around 60 people. The larger, inner seating area features a pretty comprehensive bar and is nicely furnished and comfortable. The service throughout my entire visit was excellent and my only ‘complaint’ was that I found that the stringed instrument music playing in the background got a bit monotonous after a while.
There is a front are overlooking the street that was very brightly sunny on the day I arrived and, at first, the only other patrons having lunch were seated out there. It looked nice and warm but I preferred the more dimly lit main area.
After I ordered, I was brought a complimentary and unexpected bowl of soup. It was just a light chicken broth with a few vegetables but it was wonderfully delicate and a nice little appetite stimulator.
Satay Gai – For my first course, I ordered the stay, which consists of spiced chicken grilled on skewers with a peanut sauce on the side. I have never been a fan of peanut sauce thus far but I was really surprised by the version they served here as it was delicious. It was much fruitier than others I have had and was a bit like a cross between plum sauce and chunky peanut butter with just a hint of spiciness. The chicken itsel was also excellent. It was very nicely grilled and was extremely tender and succulent. I am not sure of the spice blend used but I thought I could detect turmeric and a little coriander. In any event, I thought this excellent and gave it a 5 out of 5.
Pad Thai – Now, Pad Thai is probably the most widely ordered dish in Thai restaurants but, until now, I have yet to try it. The menu described as being stir-fried rice noodles with chicken, egg, green onion, peanuts, bean sprouts and lime wedges, and also allows for optional shrimp at extra cost. What I received, though, was a little different from the description and I rather think that this particular menu item is a bit different everyday depending on what is available. I did get the shrimp, which were very nice, but the chicken was replaced with tofu. I am not a fan and would have preferred chicken but the switch was actually not that bad. I asked for my Pad Thai to be medium hot and it came with quite a bit of chili flakes mixed in with the crushed peanuts. The heat went nicely with the sweetish sauce base and I liked the blend of textures. I can’t really compare this to other Pad Thai renditions, being a novice, but I enjoyed this and gave it a 4 out of 5.
Finally, I thought the carved carrot ‘flower’ garnishing my Pad Thai deserved a close-up. I have had carved garnishes with other meals before but I was surprised to see such a nice piece of work decorating a lunch special. I thought it a very nice touch and a good illustration of my overall experience at Khao Thai…