Colombo is more than just kadeys and isso wadeys. Colombo is also all about that appe-thai-zing food. With restaurants serving Thai popping up, Nara Thai is the newest kid on the block.
They have apparently been voted as one of the best restaurants in Thailand, but are they good enough to impress the Colombo Thai-hungry mortals?
Cruising through their extensive menu that screams Thai with every flip of the page, we opted for a portion of Tom Yum (Rs 1490), a Crab Red Curry (Rs 1290), Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken (Rs 690) and Kao Phad Nam Prik Kung Seab (Rs 690).
The Tom Yum was a really large portion. Sufficient for at least three people, this soup was bursting with the authentic flavors of lime, spice, ginger and lemongrass. It had the right amount of the acidic, sour taste that makes a good Tom Yum a great Tom Yum. What I liked best about the soup was that clams had been added in, and very rarely will you come across restaurants in Colombo that would bother throwing them in for you. So, +1 for clams!
Pad Thai looks like one of those stir-fried dishes that can be wokked up by some lazy Uni student, but ironically, it's one of those dishes that get done really badly at a lot of places. Thankfully, Nara Thai knows how to balance out the flavors.
The noodles were neither chewy nor soul-tearingly sweet, and were served with the customary wedge of lime, palm sugar, chillie flakes and ground peanuts. Personally, as a Chicken Enthusiast, I felt Nara Thai could have been a little more generous with the chicken.
I like to plan my meals early. So, I walked in expecting to find a bowl of prawns in red curry, but alas, it wasn't on the menu.
Crabmeat decided to be my substitute. The Crab Red Curry was the classic Thai red curry with crab meat and thin peels of ginger/galangal (that you accidentally confuse for crab) swimming around and was topped with some cilantro. This tasted strongly of the gloriously thick coconut milk, but lacked that soft punch of spice – almost too mild.
Kao Phad Nam Prik Kung Seab is, as per the menu card's description, fried rice with chillie shrimp paste, caramelized chicken and vegetables.
While the chicken was tastily caramelized as promised in the description, I felt the chicken serving, once again, needed an increment. The rice was a little dry and had a very, very subtle shrimp flavour coming through, but when paired with the Crab Red Curry, it tasted great. We did notice however, that the egg and vegetables depicted in the menu weren't there.
For dessert I ordered a portion of Kao Niew Mamuang (Rs 590) AKA mango + sticky rice.
The rice was sweetened at optimum. A lot of places go overboard with their sugar content and Nara Thai is not one of them. Overall, this was a very good preparation.
Service and Ambience
Cute and quirky fans at Nara Thai
The service here is very cordial.
Everything is served with a smile and if you want to take a stroll around to snap some photos, they will happily accompany you. They might also confuse you for some Indian actress and make you blush like crazy when they are insistent on having seen you star in movies. *flips hair* #CelebriThaiLife
The waitstaff is well trained and on the whole, they are a nice bunch who will wait before serving if you wish you click some pictures to show your meal to the world.
The interior at Nara is classy with the colors of brown and white coming through. They have also got an indoor canopy attached seating which I found to be unique and cool.
The restaurant has enough seating to accommodate a large crowd as they have three seating areas – 2 indoor and 1 outdoor.
In short, it feels (because it is) quite like any high-end restaurant.
While their service and ambience are on point, Nara Thai can do with some improvements in the food arena (for eg: why so li'l chicken, brah?).
But for a restaurant that has been in operation for only a few weeks, they are doing great with crowds continually walking in on a Wednesday afternoon.
We hope Nara Thai works on the little mishaps so that we are left with nothing to complain about except the country's crazy taxes on our next visit!