Talay Thai: a Drinking hole with Thai twists

A new urban watering hole backed by Thai influenced nosh has just opened up in Clarke Quay. An area more known for the seductive night life and late-night libations, Creative Eateries have yielded to conventions with their newest concept, Talay Thai. Upon traversing through the ostentatious interiors, you will notice the rustic red floors, large screaming neon sign " Love you long long time" and eclectic fish scale feature walls. These are details mandatory for any exotic drinking hole to stand out in the precinct.

In the day, soft light screens in thru the mutingly shaded windows, fostering a mysterious vibe to the dining area and building much expectations for the food yet to arrive. Swiftly, the table receives some food deliveries, evolving into a chaos of events with dishes ranging from appetisers to mains stacking up.

Peruse the menu via an IPAD placed at the table and order your poison of choice. The cocktails here are heavily Thai inspired, unique and each touting some kind of Thai relation or usage of a certain Thai ingredient. The heightened sensations derived from sugar laden alcohol libations fuelling our anticipation.

For starters, the Chicken Skin Crackling and the Crispy White Bait do not disappoint. The former, crackers that are thin enough to allow you to read a font through it, are glossy and seasoned with just enough salt and pepper to keep the palette entertained. A side of Thai sriracha sauce ramps up the equation and is perfect for the beer mug hugging variety. The latter was also highly addictive, battered white bait tossed in tom yum powder for an added hint of spice outshines the former. In reality, round up a group of 3 friends, get a load of these two dishes and a round of drinks and you're guaranteed an impossibly good time at Talay Thai.

But, for analysis sake, we graduate to bigger things. The Aroi Mak Platter ($28) can't technically be faulted. Resembling a party platter of sorts, the dish allows for 4 champs to nosh down on it comfortably. It features Rice Crackers with prawn ragout, kaffir lime Thai fish cake, golden prawn toast, grilled chicken brochette with roasted peanut sauce and crispy mee krob. Deliciously rich and salty, the Prawn toast has a properly crisp bread base that is a perfect foil for the prawn paste. A slight excessive tangle of chilli in the prawn ragout helps to enhance the juicy chunks headed straight for the puffed up rice crackers.

The other successful round up is the only other platter on the menu. Targeted at seafood lovers, the Talay Platter carries a bit more heft. Char-grilled squid, grilled prawns with spicy tamarind glaze, baked oysters with nam jim dressing and mussels and clams tom kha rounds up the merry mix. I loved every bit of the platter; taking mostly to the char grilled prawns which sported a pretty shade of red on its curled up tails from spices. Seeing the Tom Kha chock full of mussels did not prepare me for the intensity of what I was about to eat. The broth was creamy with an added suggestion of decadence from seafood stock. The heat gets to you in a bit and you're left cradling a Thai Milk Tea soon after slurping down the last drop.

One thing's for sure at Talay Thai, they don't dial back the spice levels just because Clarke Quay is known to be a tourist zone. Take for example the Tom Yum Lobster Bisque ($14) which assaults the palate with a buttery like consistency from boiling down lobster shells for hours on end. Lifted with lemongrass, the resulting tang is unmistakable and very much needed with the masculine flavors. This comes delivered with a stick of grilled lobster tail lemongrass brochette - which I got a kick out of. 

The least memorable thing(s) that I ate that day were the Pineapple Fried Rice and the Nam Pla Prawn Ceviche. The former lacking the usual breaths of fire you retain from the wok action whilst the latter not so well-conceived where consumption is concerned. 

Desserts aren't on the forefront of invention and you tide through your sweet cravings with their Thai Tea Lava Cake. Would have loved the walls of the sponge to be crustier (nothing that a good spot of butter can't fix) and the accompanying scoop of coconut ice cream to have been less icy. But that's just me... the sweet finale proved to be a hit after a somewhat spicy ordeal with the prawn ceviche and too much nam jim sauce.

Short of a characteristic Thai restaurant menu, Talay Thai does live up to its name of serving up futuristic Thai cuisine with a more stimulating contemporary twist, aimed at enhancing your drinking experience. However, whether or not its makes waves in the grossly competitive Clarke Quay Precinct would strongly depend on its beverage menu which I can claim needs a little more work to match up to its sophisticated menu. Till then...

Signing out. Love you long long time.

Talay Thai
Clarke Quay
Blk 3E River Valley Road
Traders' Market
t: 6337 1838

Operating Hours:
Sunday - Thurs: 12pm - 10 30pm
Fri and Sat: 12pm - 1 30am

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