In Bangkok, Khao San Road is backpacker party central, making it a fitting name for the new Thai restaurant in Toronto’s own alcohol-soaked Entertainment district. But Chef Nuit Regular’s latest venture with her husband Jeff speaks more of wooden, mod urban temple than a 100-baht hostel bunk.
This Khao San Road evokes Thailand’s street food and teleports me back to my own Southeast Asia adventure, even with its contemporary white dish plating. Khao soi is a must: a traditional northern Chiang Mai noodle dish with tender beef cubes bathed in a tangy curry broth. More familiar fare is available too, including deep-fried garlic shrimp, chicken pad thai and daily Thai curries, all extraordinarily tasting of Regular’s land and love.
Halal devotees of the original hole-in-the-wall Sukhothai, beware: she’s playing with fried pork belly here—but to pig eaters’ delight. Opened for lunch and dinner; stand by for the Thai breakfast introduction, which is sure to spice up the city’s typical bacon-and-Benny scene. 326 Adelaide St. W., 647-352-5773 (www.khaosanroad.ca)
Khao Soi $10: Tender braised beef with egg noodles in a coconut milk-enriched curry and garnished with crisp fried noodles, green onion and a slice of lime
Garlic Shrimp $9: Shrimp breaded in a crispy garlic coating served with a sweet and tangy garlic sauce
Chicken Pad Thai $14: Special pad thai "three flavours-style" topped with homemade roasted peanuts, dried chili and a fresh slice of lime
Gaeng Phed a.k.a. Thai Red Curry, Chicken for $12: The red colour comes from a curry paste made of dried red chilies
Yum Ta Wai $8: A salad of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, julienned vegetables, coriander, shredded chicken and a sliced hard-boiled egg, tossed in a sweet curry peanut dressing
Pad Kee Mao, Shrimp $15: Stir-fried rice noodle with fresh green chili, fresh garlic, long green pepper, bamboo shoots and Thai basil leaves
Chai Yen a.k.a. Thai Iced Tea $4.50: An infusion of Thai spices and black tea mixed with condensed milk (!) and served over crushed ice