[NEW] Soi Thai Soi Nice: Don't judge a book by its cover

I must admit my prejudices at the start of this excursion. The mention of Atmosphere Bistro sending shivers down my spine (read here for the full experience);  though slightly irrelevant in this circumstance, Soi Thai Soi Nice is the latest addition to the food and beverage group, SIMYEE Holdings that manages both Atmosphere Bisto and Shin Sapporo Ramen. The latter, enjoying a slightly more favourable response from yours truly.

What struck me at their most recent attempt, Soi Thai Soi Nice, was "the inverse relationship between Instagram friendliness and deliciousness." (What I ate wasn't unpretty, but it wasn't a mad-dash attempt to be an instagram whore and boy, was it highly delicious.) Headed by Chef Worawong Phairat from Bangkok with 19 years of experience under his belt, including rigourous training under a head-chef who cooked for Thai royalty - it was no wonder that the restaurant offers authentic Thai dishes, some of which you wouldn't recognise from your run-off-the-mill Thai restaurant menu.

For starters, get the Royal Thai Hotpot ($38.80 for 2, $68.80 for 4) that is prepared using in-house made Tom Yam Soup base. It's a souped up version of the thin, watery overly sour varietals you'll find outside, with an uncannily focused flavor of spices and milkiness. Chock full of crayfish, tiger prawns, green mussels, roast pork, cabbage, enoki mushrooms and chicken sausage, all succinctly taking on the flavor of the aromatic broth for a fiery finish on the palate. It may look all too regular on the surface, but a quick return of the ladle to the scene of the crime proves that something must have happened to make it so extraordinary, though the answer is not visible. (The roast pork has been given, among other treatments, a bath in indigenous herbs and perhaps a smoke out.)

How can a Fried Egg Salad ($6.80) hold any surprises? Well, there's the price, $6.80, which may be a record. But then there's the astonishingly fine flavor and texture of the piquant fish sauce and chili dressed salad above a puffed up bed of fried egg. It's frilly edges, glossy from bubbling in hot oil, and appealingly crisp. It's terrific, the overeasy structure hiding treasures of yolk pockets.

Egg lovers will also revel in the other omelette choices, prawn and mnced pork. However, for a true taste of South East Asian flavors, I would beckon you to try the Cha Om Omelette ($7.80) - beaten eggs encasing a ridiculous amount of native shrub. It will take you a minute to warm up to this dish (warning: some of you might never come to like it. Acquired taste.), the herbaceous stink of Cha Om is not something you naturally want to dig into. Here it arrives looking like your regular ominous disc of greens, albeit dressed in sheep's clothing. It's refined and almost comforting, perfect when swabbed in spicy tom yum broth.

As for something else, you can go ahead and sample the prawn and fish options which most probably thread the same line of authenticity one wouldn't expect.

Desserts may sound safe with red ruby, mango stick rice on the menu. But trust me, when I declare them daring. Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice cream flanked by a dull slab of sticky rice made me sit up straight. Steamed to perfection without a grain of rice yielding a different texture from the rest, this was perfect alongside the creamy outpost of luxe coconut ice cream drizzeld in gula melaka sauce. Cornflakes were an unnecessary addition but worked the purposes of locking the scoop in place. After the first bite, I loved it.

Barely three weeks old, Soi Thai Soi Nice's odd pairing of cumbersome purple arm chairs (left behind from the recent Atmosphere overhaul) and authentic Thai flavors beckons. Aside from the amicable family friendly atmosphere at dinner time, lunch is definitely worth a visit as they have some massive value-for-money lunch deals - $8.80 all in (including perennial favorites such as Prawn Pad Thai, Pineapple Fried Rice and Basil minced meat with rice) and they'll even throw in a free appetiser and dessert of red ruby. How good does that sound?

Soi Thai Soi Nice
321 Alexandra Road
Alexandra Central
(Next to IKEA)
t: 6250 4863

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11 30am - 10 pm

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