Quick Thai serves up a range of affordable Thai dishes that are low on refinement, yet big on taste, from its modest, but elegant Pelawatta premises.
There are more highfalutin’ Thai restaurants in town, but this is more like rockstar Thai food – the kind that delivers the cuisine’s trademark big flavours, if with a disregard for subtlety and balance. Powerful notes of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and Asian basil come rolling out like guitar riffs, one after the other in their curries, but the steady beat of the dry spices like ground cumin and coriander give each mouthful a little depth and shape.
We had ordered the mango salad and chicken in pandan (rampe) leaf for starters, with a red chicken curry and a beef in basil stir-fry for the mains. No dish stood out, but none were a let-down either.
The mango salad was tart, fresh and spicy; the beef and chicken curry were hitting most spots on the palate. Everything works like it should, but don’t expect there to be much fine-tuning. Quick Thai dishes are like what a show from your favourite band might sound like, only the audio engineer is still hungover from the previous night.
If there has been some allowance for the local tastes, it has not been with an extra spoonful of palm sugar, which is the case with some other Thai joints in Colombo. Quick Thai dials up the spice instead. Both our mains were spiked with an army of green chillies, split in half, and the red curry loaded with clusters of green peppercorn that added another level of kick to the whirl of intense flavours.
Is it authentic? Who is to tell? The sophisticated touches are missing, but in spirit at least, Quick Thai captures the ethos of the Bangkok hawker stand: a familiar mix of fresh, good-quality ingredients are thrown haphazardly together, with the flavours expected to do the rest.
The restaurant itself is a little nicer than a roadside eatery – at least there are fewer visible rats. The layout is simple, and the service is as quick as you would expect from an establishment that seats only about 30 people. It might not be your go-to spot for a big celebration, but it’s a dependable midweek meal out, or a handy choice for a nice lunch, if you’re in the area.
Delivery, though, seems to be Quick Thai’s major business arm. As we ate, bagged parcels were flying at the door at a much greater rate than food was being delivered to tables.
Given the price, and the kind of food the place provides, it’s easy to see why Quick Thai is an attractive option for nights in. With the service charge, our meal for two came in at under 3500 rupees. If you’re with a larger group, it would probably be cheaper per person.