White Elephant Thai Cuisine is one of those restaurants that I’ve been wanting to try for ages. Seriously, for the past few months, I’ve been all gung ho and telling friends “let’s go check out White Elephant” and each time, I never manage to make it. So sad because it just screams my type of restaurant. When you call a restaurant a hole in the wall, this is the epitome of that description. Random location? Check. Sketchy hotel? Check. Hard to find and terrible hours (5:00pm to 8:30pm only)? Check, check, check.
Well, lo and behold, the stars were aligned and I was finally able to check it out with a friend on a busy Saturday evening. We arrived around 7pm or so and we were told the wait would be around 30 minutes. Not bad, we put our names down and went back outside to snack on some food we had in the car (we were starved – don’t judge). After 20 minutes, we walked back into the lobby and heard a waitress calling our name (hello perfect timing). Located in the Airport Travellers Inn (funny how so many consider it “seedy”), walk past the lobby and through a hallway to the magical black door. Of course it’s unmarked, adding to it’s charm or would that be considered its mystery?
Thai iced tea ($4.50) – probably the best Thai iced tea I’ve had in Canada. The colour was different from the norm. Just order one!
Tom yum goon ($7.00 small) – shrimp, mushroom, tomato, lemon leaves, lemon grass, galangal, chili, and lime juice. The small is the perfect size for two. We asked for level 3 (you can get level 1 to 4) and it had a nice bit of heat to it. I’ll try level 4 next time though. A very generous portion of shrimps (think there were about 5-6 big pieces). This is what you call heaven in a bowl.
Fish with garlic and black pepper ($21.00) – tilapia fish deep fried with garlic, black pepper, steamed vegetables and sauce on the side. Yes, we ordered a whole fish (you can get a smaller, fillet version for $17.50). We wanted to try their steamed fish but they were out of it for the evening. Oh well, this one was grilled with all the fish bones included. The fish was tasty but a bit difficult to maneuver with all the bones still inside. Make sure you dip each piece in the sauce – super addictive. My friend loooooved this dish more than I did so I let her go to town on it.
Crispy egg noodle ($16.00) – deep fried egg noodles, soup stock, broccoli, carrot, peas and your choice of meat. The noodles come on top – make sure you mix everything so that they get nicely coated. The noodles were tasty and the sauce was rich, almost creamy. It was good but next time I want to try another noodle dish.
Thai green curry with chicken ($16.00) – green chilli with coconut milk and lime leaves. Choice of mix veggies or thai eggplant. Obviously, we went with eggplant (my fav!). Again, portions are crazy generous with lots of eggplant, chicken and other vegetables. Their plating is hilarious with massive glass Tupperware. The green curry was fantastic and flavourful. I’d order it again in a heartbeat.
Coconut rice ($4.00 small) – I was considering getting a large order of coconut rice ($6.50) but my friend was smart and convinced me to get just the small. A wise choice as we ordered WAY too much stuff. Easily could have fed four people from all of the food we ordered.
Happy I finally was able to try out White Elephant while I was in town. Don’t forget, it’s cash only (don’t worry, there’s an ATM inside the hotel lobby if you forget). Tasty food and good portions, you can’t ask for much more. Well, better hours and being open Sunday’s would be nice but life just ain’t fair so deal with it.
White Elephant Thai Cuisine
1808 – 19 Street NE