Tucked away past the hustle and bustle of Whyte Ave, Kaengthai Bistro is worth the walk east, just past the Strathcona tracks. The decor and menu is straightforward and simple, but the food more than makes up for it. It’s a bit of a mix between a take out and sit down restaurant. You order at the counter (menus plastered on the wall with pictures!) but the waitress/owner will bring out a pot of tea and your dishes so pick a table/booth to sit at while you wait.
The sign outside advertised a few of their dishes. Their prices are pretty reasonable, ranging from $5.95 to $12.95 for a dish. I was actually impressed by the presentation of their dishes – clean, minimalist look but with an attention to detail you don’t normally see in Thai eateries.
Tom kha with shrimp ($7.95)
Spicy and sour coconut soup with mushrooms, tomatoes, galangal, lemongrass, lime leaves, cilantro and dry chilies. Fresh, lacking spice but you really get the sour element in this tom kha. A nice alternative to the typical tom yum soup you always seem to see.
Pad kea mao with chicken ($10.95)
Rice noodles fried with fresh peppers, bamboo shoots, baby corn, onion, bell peppers, lime leaves, Kra Chai and basil leaves. This one is level 2 on the spice chart and it actually had a good kick to it. My friend was drinking, no more like guzzling water down. Tasty but there could have been more noodles.
Pad num prik pow with pork ($10.95)
Stir fried sweet chili paste with mushroom, bell peppers, baby corn, carrots and onion. Comes with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice. The chili paste sauce was sweet, everything tasted fresh and the rice was nice and fluffy.
Here’s a tip: make sure you tell them what spice level you want (from 1 (mild) to 5 (welcome to Thailand)). I will have to try level 5 next time, just for research purposes. Quaint, homey little Thai place. Why not check it out if you’re in the area? Even easier if you’re there to play some board games at The Hex Cafe. Just pop across the street to Kaenthai Bistro to get some good eats.