Nestled in a corner of Mercado Mall in Janabiya, Sara Waddah finds that Samui Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant, surprises with all its hidden secrets and gems.

Upon entering the restaurant, guests are transported into Koh Samui, the second-largest island of Thailand. Known for palm-fringed beaches and rainforests, the ambience and the colours of this eatery worked cohesively to make the experience as close as we could get to a realistic Thai beach experience.

Situated and comfortable on the wooden seating, we were greeted and briefed on the dishes that were going to come. I put my trust in the hands of the experts, they even suggested customers should go for things that would not be their regular choices, as they will, “without a doubt, be surprised by the outcome”.

Starting with soup and appetisers, I was immediately intrigued by their well-known Chicken Wonton Coconut Soup, which is made exclusively at Samui Thai. I found the combination of chicken and coconut interesting, and the rich creamy soup balanced the Thai flavours delightfully. It was served in a portion that would easily satisfy two people. Complemented by the Sesame Shrimp Toast to give the best of both worlds, the dishes really imparted that island feel, right from the start.

Dressed in the perfect amount of lime sauce, the Papaya Salad with green beans and roasted peanuts as well as the Crispy Beef Salad were both refreshing and appetising – and, with the more than generous portion sizes, I was already beyond satisfied before even getting to the main courses. Having catered to my vegetarian dining companion with their famous Stir-Fried Vegetables with Thai oyster sauce, my heart and soul were in love with the main courses they served us.

Not only were the aromas captivatingly rich in smell, but the flavours of each particular dish stood uniquely, blowing my taste buds with the different Thai tastes, all achieved such a long way from their origin.

I was particularly taken with the Thai-style wide and thick noodles and the Lad Na Shrimp, that was doused in delicious gravy sauce, was also a show-stopper, delighting my taste buds with flavours and various textures that came together in a perfect combination.

With every meal, I always want to end on a sweet note. And so, I made it a note to try something different than the typical Thai dessert that most people would tend to go for. I opted for Thai Tea Crepe Cake, a delicious confection of tea crepes stacked together with fresh whipped cream in between. This is the first time I’ve come across something like this and it was wonderful. Classical and authentic in their preparation, ideal if you’re looking for a meal to fulfil your Thai cravings; Samui Thai is the condensed version of being on the Koh Samui islands, but even better and with faster service! ✤


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