Perched between Jane Bond and the Waterloo Taxi headquarters, My-Thai Restaurant is a deceivingly small restaurant that actually packs quite a bit of space, with two sizable dining rooms to ensure that seating is almost never an issue. As you walk in, earthy tones, wicker furniture that must have spawned off a small forest, and Buddhas, elephants, and strategically placed bamboo greet you everywhere. If you were ever in any doubt that you were in a Thai restaurant, you couldn’t be now (although this sort of nostalgic decoration is something I personally enjoy).
Ordering the tom yum soup (the “National Soup of Thailand” as stated on their menu), pad thai, and banana spring rolls for dessert, I thought of all the times I’d eaten Thai food: numerous occasions while on co-op, venerating different Thai restaurants in downtown Toronto or the very first time I experienced the sensational tom yum soup. There’s something simultaneously exciting and bold yet comforting about Thai food, and I was hopeful that this restaurant would not disappoint.
The tom yum soup arrived in a small, unassuming bowl, which I found mildly surprising considering that it was five dollars. However, the soup actually turned out to be quite good, with a spicy, slightly sweet broth with rich undertones denoting tamarind, lemon grass, and lime. Simply sliced white cremini mushrooms broke up the soup’s intensity with a nice sponginess, and perfectly cooked tiger shrimp crowded the bowl.
In an awkward twist, barely five minutes after I’d received my soup, our entrees arrived; I had barely had time to get halfway through my starter. A little put out upon on this minor injustice, I started on the pad thai, my soup now unfortunately ignored. Coming with a free spring roll, the roll turned out to be quite tasty with a succulent chicken filling that wasn’t as oily as spring rolls usually tend to be, complemented by a slightly tangy, vinegary sweet-and-sour sauce.
Regrettably, my main turned out to be rather disappointing; experiencing the product of dozens of pad thais over the summer (what can I say, noodles are my addiction) had spoiled me, and I found My-Thai’s rendition rather disappointing. The flavours were very one-note, missing a tang and spice that is conventional with pad thai to be replaced with a heavy-handed use of nuts. I even found myself asking for a lime to break up the density of flavour. However, I appreciated the variety of chicken, shrimp, tofu, and egg liberally littered throughout the plate; even if the chicken and tofu turned out to be a touch overdone, the shrimp was cooked perfectly as it had been in all of the dishes present at the table. My companion had ordered seafood noodle soup (also stated as the “National Soup of Thailand” on their menu), which turned out to be a gloriously soupy, noodle-y affair, with earthy, citrusy flavours different from the tom yum, which could be attributed to the numerous mushrooms and bamboo shoots present. My-Thai did soups well.
Finally, the banana spring rolls for dessert. A delicately prepared dish that was perfect for sharing, the filling of banana, cashew, and brown sugar filling was an unexpected turn that was unorthodox from similar dishes I’d tried. Even though it was graced by the familiar taste of Chapman’s vanilla ice cream, I had little to criticize about the banana spring rolls that were reminiscent of baklava’s daintiness; my one wish was that they had been warmer to contrast with the ice cream’s coolness.
Reflecting on my meal, one of the few things separating me from genuinely liking My-Thai was the service that had a little bit too much attitude for my liking, especially considering how few occupants there were. Nonetheless, solid prices, a lack of competition, and a few specialty dishes render this place slightly more than adequate for the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
From the Author:
Along with being a designer/artist by day, I also love wondering what and where I'm going to eat next. I'll go out and eat with you - just don't call me a 'foodie.'