618, Galle Rd Kollupitiya, Colombo 3
Open until 10:00 PM
Krua Thai is a brand new street food joint at Galle Road. Although they claim they're a street food type place, they've got a nice seating area and whatnot. We loved it!
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Dao Krua Thai turned out to be a pleasant surprise, as it was exactly what it claimed to be – a small eatery selling “authentic Thai street-food” cooked by a homely middle-aged Thai lady named Dao. The ambience is minus all the frills and finery you would expect to find in any other foreign cuisine restaurant in Sri Lanka, but is brightly lit up in vibrant colours and white lights with Spartan (yet functional) furniture. It also does not have air-conditioning, which means it is one place you could enjoy unpretentious Thai food and leave without smelling delicious. It really does remind you of the small bustling eateries you would find at a marketplace in Bangkok.
This was a refreshing change from the various small cafes and stalls at almost every (so called) “food festival”, that CLAIMS to serve “street food”. The experience at Dao Krua Thai is the real deal, and you get what you came for.
When one hears the words ‘Thai food’, what usually pops into one’s head are tom yum soup, phad thai, rich coconut-milk infused curry, intense flavours, followed by levels of heat that clears one’s sinuses.
Therefore, we started off with a tom yum soup. The portion size of the soup looks deceptively small when it arrives (within 10 minutes or so); but if ordered as an appetiser this one portion is more than enough for two people. As per the review, we were prepared for ‘a lemongrass-y bullet down the throat that cleansed nasal cavities of the flu and all other evils’.
The reality, however, was that the soup was packed with flavours, and in my opinion, had the right balance of umami in the broth, sweetness from the basil and coriander, tartness from the kfir lime and lemongrass followed by just the right amount of residual heat of the chilli and galangal (ginger) at the back of one’s throat, that didn’t leave you gasping and crying by the time the spoon hits the bottom of the bowl. Each spoonful was loaded with so many bright flavours that even those that dislike soup, would certainly appreciate, if not swoon over it.
Moving on to the mains, the chicken fried rice, from my point of view, was nothing exceptional and the portion size was rather disappointing. Even if the paying customers are not large eaters, this portion is definitely not enough for 02 people to share. For a portion such as what we got, the price tag of LKR 600/- is questionable. The issue here, is that the dish (albeit tasty) was unmemorable, and when the bill comes at the end, it leaves you with the feeling of “was that worth it!”
We also ordered the pork red curry, which was definitely flavoursome – but once again unremarkable when compared to the Thai red curries you would find in any other Thai restaurant in the country. The portion size was adequate for 02 people and I would not grudge its price tag of LKR 600/-, since it had enough slices of lean pork and wild eggplants swimming in rich coconut milk infused spicy red-curry.
To enjoy the red curry, however, I would recommend a portion of the steamed rice (LKR 200/-). The flavours of the fried rice and the red curry just do NOT blend and is an assault of clashing flavours on one’s palate.
I have mixed feelings about the steamed dumplings that is available in pork and prawn. For LKR 580/- I expected slightly more than 4 small steamed dumplings. The dumpling dough alone has the correct texture of your average Chinese dumpling. On the first bite, the filling tastes quite bland and boring. However, couple it with the dipping sauce given on the side, and you end up with a mini-gastronomic orgasm on your taste buds. I would strongly recommend this, but wish they would add at least 2 more dumplings, since LKR 145/- per bite sized dumpling is pretty steep.
What did catch my attention was the 02 (complimentary) condiments that came with the meal. The first was the standard chilli paste (homemade). The other was a thin dipping sauce that was a mix of fish sauce, kochchi chilli, garlic and lime juice. When one hears of the ingredients, it is difficult to paint a picture of what it would taste like. However, one teaspoon of it has so much flavour that it is not easy to immediately comprehend what it is.
The saltiness of the fish sauce, the pungent smell and heat of the kochchi chilli and garlic, with the hint of acidity from the lime juice, just brings it all together beautifully. It tempts one to take leave of one’s senses temporarily, and douse innocent plain rice with it. The result literally brought tears to my eyes…and left me gasping for something to cool my tongue.
Sadly, we were too full to try the sticky rice pudding and put it off for another time. However, we were offered a complimentary Thai dessert of sweet potato boiled in sugar and ginger, which was quite refreshing and light; and overall a pleasant palate cleanser.
The service is friendly with 3 young local men waiting on the tables (which I think is overkill for an eatery of this capacity). However, they were attentive, the food came out fairly quickly and they cleared the tables equally fast. Hence, the turnaround time for tables seems to be quite fast based on what was observed.
All in all, it was a pleasant meal and experience; and one that didn’t break the bank. I would certainly go back for more, if at all to try out the rest of their small but practical menu, and would recommend it for anyone to try as well.
The cherry on the top was the chef and owner – Dao - who comes up to your table to ask how the food was and even discusses how the dish was made if asked. She says all her produce is obtained fresh and locally rather than imported all the way from Thailand.
Ambience – 8/10 (as promised, its nothing fancy; just good food)
Value for money – 6.5/10 (portion sizes need to be adjusted for the current prices)
PPP – LKR 1,000 - 1,500 net per person (excluding beerages)
Food – 7.5 - 8/10
Hygiene – 7/10
Service – 6.5/10
Recommended – Yes
618, Galle Rd Kollupitiya, Colombo 3
It's right next to the Torana music shops.
Open until 10:00 PM
Between Rs. 500 - Rs. 1000
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