The Royal Thai has been consistently voted Colombo’s best restaurant for years
in a row for a delightful mix of great food and impeccable service. Much like the
previous reviewer, we’ve never had a complaint in years of dining there. Our last
experience there was the first time anything went wrong, but the overall experience
was still hugely positive.
We decided to vary from the classics – pineapple rice, papaya salad, and red/green
chicken curry. So we started with a tom klong pow thak – seafood and mushroom
clear soup at Rs. 620, followed by stir-fried pork at Rs.1330, khao phad chead chee –
traditional Thai vegetable fried rice at Rs.650, gai phad king – shallow fried
sliced chicken with black fungus, spring onion, ginger and oyster sauce at Rs.910,
and tache chuan – steamed long beans with tofu in Thai curry sauce at Rs. 520.
Unfortunately, the dishes didn’t come in that order (see the service section). All of
the dishes were lovely on their own, but the main problem was the sameness of all
of them. It seemed as though they were just different variations (pork, chicken, vegetables)
in the same gravy. I definitely put this down to bad ordering as each of them were perfectly
delicious, but the combination of all three just lacked variation and layering.
So the take away here is if you’re straying from your favourites on the
menu, ask the waiter and make sure you know what you’re experimenting with.
Their drinks menu is truly extensive, with a couple of pages for each beverage
sub-category. It is also very expensive, as the mark up is huge. I ordered a glass
of Prosecco La Cave des Rois which had a crisp dry finish and came to about Rs. 1300++.
It was perfectly chilled and offset my meal well, but I question whether it was really
worth it. A pint of Lion Lager was Rs. 400++, which is a good indication as to
the mark up you can anticipate. However, these prices are really to be expected
from any 5 star hotel/restaurant. Bottom line, don’t order lots of wine or liquor
unless you’re balling or it’s a special occasion.
The ambience is great. Soft, stringed Thai music wafts in the background,
and the golden lighting and soft upholstery make for a legit fine dining experience.
The wooden latticed screens and wallpaper are a nice touch, along with the gold
highlights along the pillars.
You’ll generally find a nice crowd – either Colombars celebrating something,
or uncles trying to impress their foreign business counterparts.
This was where the variables of the meal lay. We had made a reservation so
were seated promptly… at the wrong table. We were then politely ushered to
the right table, a lovely cosy booth. Our order was taken post-haste, with
warmth and a nice welcome. However, our waiter forgot our soup and whisked a little
trolley with our dinner on it within about 10-15 minutes. He then realised
his mistake and hopped it to the kitchen to rectify the order, bringing out
fresh bowls of soup in about 5 minutes as our dinner waited temptingly.
The manager, the restaurant’s crown jewel in my opinion, refused to let us pay
for the soup on principle, and apologized profusely.
As for the main course, we wished our waiter suggested a different
combination of dishes. The fact that this fairly petty gripe even surfaces
is because Royal Thai consistently delivers perfection, and we’ve come to
expect it. The bottom line is mistakes happen everywhere, but the way the
staff rectifies and deals with it here is brilliant.
Royal Thai is a great celebratory option. It’s classy, and food
is prompt, well presented, and delicious. However, you can expect to
pay a premium for the quality of food and service – at about Rs. 6000
for two, it’s pretty expensive for a frequent meal option. Definitely
one of Colombo’s reigning dining royalty.