Thai Orchid Restaurant Reviewed March / April 2010
Thai Orchid on Ventura Drive is open for lunch, dinner and carry-out
Dining out on Provo is never dull. A wide diversity of cultures has created an out–and–out melting pot that flaunts a profusion of cultural influences, including Thai. Born and raised in Bangkok, owner J.P. originally introduced his far–flung and authentic culinary skills to the island of Provo with Bangkok Express in 2005. To cater to his passionate and ever–growing resident and tourist population, J.P. relocated to the popular Regent Village in Grace Bay with the Thai Orchid Restaurant, where that same genuine and incomparable cuisine can be enjoyed. The new location can now accommodate dining in, with a delightfully decorated ‘orchid inspired’ dining room that is cool, comfortable and relaxed with a few tables outdoors. A steady stream of repeat take–out customers validates not only its popularity, but also its reputation for consistency.
Meee Krob (7) Crispy Noodles with Shrimp and Egg
Their extensive and appealing menu is that celebrated and succulent mix of the sweet and the piquant; the spicy and the subtle. (I counted 67 menu items and that doesn’t even include the variables of offerings in the way of pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and tofu.) No strangers to J.P.’s cuisine, we all count ourselves among the repeat take–out customers, having already mustered a significant list of our own favourite dishes between the four of us. To spice things up a bit, this evening we decided to go with the ‘house’ suggestions. Suffice to say our significant list of favourites has now considerably expanded.
Pad Thai (14) Pan Fried Noodles with Chicken or Shrimp
Beginning with Meee Krob (7) from the appetiser menu – although this dish had been chosen for us, we quietly acquiesced and did not admit that we were already huge fans of this marvelous dish; happy for another fix. If you get take–out Meee Krob, you may get home and think they forgot to put something in the box. This tasty and absolutely crispy noodle dish is light as air with egg, shrimp, cilantro, scallions and a sweet and sour sauce. A unique and singularly unusual dish, my entire family raves about it each and every time. A few additional recommended appetisers include the Siam Rolls (1) and Golden Bags (4), each of them deliciously crispy on the outside and succulent and tender inside.
Pad Woon Sen (54) hails from the noodle menu, with our choice of pork. We noted that with a few dishes, we not only got what was included on the menu, but also a few bonus ingredients. Tender pork stir–fried with glass noodles was combined with egg, shredded cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts and scallions – we delightfully discovered the addition of baby corn and broccoli. From ‘love it’ to ‘very tasty’ this combination reminded us of one of our favourites, Pad Thai – but with a new and exciting twist.
Sweet and Sour Shrimp (33) Pineapple and Bell Peppers
Committed curry aficionados, the Thai Orchid offers red, green, yellow, panang and masaman curry dishes; and this evening we were ecstatic with these two curry recommendations – both new taste experiences for all of us. Masaman Curry (55) is rumored to be a Thai favourite, and one taste will convince you too. Sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and roasted peanuts in coconut milk this curry had rich and voluptuous flavours while the perfectly tender shrimp burst in your mouth. Our second curry dish, Chicken Mango Curry (56) was a wonderful marriage of tastes featuring simple ingredients. Ripe and juicy chunks of mango, onions and pieces of tender, moist chicken were bathed in a decadent and salacious Karee curry sauce that did not overpower. We unanimously agreed that both were great curries – with the Masaman definitely packing a little more heat – but an agreeable and satisfying heat, with 56 still delivering a pleasant and palatable kick.
House Specialties included Cashew Nuts with Chicken (28), with an appreciable abundance of whole roasted cashew nuts. A fabulous ‘crunchy texture’ compliments of the cashews, this dish surprised each mouthful with the sweetness of pineapple and onions, the earthy flavours of mushrooms and plenty of savoury sautéed chicken. Beef with Peanut Sauce (34) was yet another savoury and scrumptious coupling of tastes and textures. Sliced thin and tender, the marinated sautéed beef continued to absorb all the curry spice flavours, along with a delightful mix of steamed vegetables including broccoli, baby corn, onions, bamboo shoots, carrots and green peppers. Voted ‘a favourite already’, with a definitive approval for the overall combination; followed by generous accolades for the smooth and rich flavours of the peanut sauce – adding that this dish was very ‘well balanced’. The uncommon amalgamation of curry and peanuts was a striking combination.
Chicken Mango Curry (56) Karee Curry Sauce and Coconut Milk
The comprehensive menu also includes soups, salads, and a variety of fried rice dishes, vegetable, seafood and duck dishes. All of the menu items are prepared on the mild side, which we collectively found quite agreeable. The more adventurous are welcome to request extra spice but are advised to exercise caution when asking for one, two or three chilies. Several of these dishes are also available in lunch portions to eat in, or take–out.
Steamed Jasmine rice was the perfect ‘bed’ for all of our dishes... delicate and fragrant grains with that unmistakable nutty flavour soaked up all the incredible sauces saturating them with flavour. While chopsticks were provided... we all momentarily glanced at these traditional eating utensils, considered their use, then quickly conceded to the ‘it takes too much time’ point of view, eagerly going for the gusto with knife and fork.
Roasted Cashew Nuts with Beef (28) Pineapple and Mushrooms
Authentic Thai beer was determined to be a great and refreshing accomplice to the Thai cuisine – opting to sample both brands and make comparisons. Singh, a lager from Bangkok had a ‘hoppy’ taste with great flavours; while Chang proffered a definitive ‘that’s barley honey’ character. Wine recommendations for spicy cuisine like Thai often include whites with a touch of sweetness like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer, or even a white Zin to tame the heat.
It was not all that long ago when ‘fast food’ on Provo was considered an oxy–moron. Thanks to J.P., if you want it fast – you can get it fast, without sacrificing quality or flavour. The Thai Orchid caters to every crowd – from small private parties to large buffets – in your private home, condo or villa. Take it from experience... order on the heavy side... you’ll thank me tomorrow as you take great pleasure in your Thai culinary déjà vu!
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