Thanying Restaurant (The Amara)

Every month, my firm gives us a budget for L.A. Lunch to stuff our faces and mingle with our colleagues, bid farewell to those leaving, and/or to welcome new blood. One of the perks of being the convener of the monthly LA Lunches is that I get to choose the places to eat at!

This month, we went for Thai cuisine at Thanying, one of the oldest fine dining Thai restaurants in Singapore and some say, one of the most expensive. Thanying has been around for many years and many would remember this from their childhood.

If you wish to book a private room, there is a minimum spending of $1,200.00 for more than 10 persons, and $800.00 for less than 10 persons.

However, the restaurant was quiet enough so there was no real need for a private room. Décor is fairly old and looks like it hasn’t been renovated for some time.

We opted for the Dessert buffet, which was a steal at $9.00 per person, and irresistible with its myriad of colours. I loved the sweet water chestnut with coconut custard, it’s my absolute favourite dessert. The downside was that the buffet was lacking in 2 popular Thai desserts, the red ruby in coconut milk and shaved ice, and the sliced mango with sticky rice. I suppose with the price tag of $9.00, one can’t ask for much. All my colleagues started with desserts as appetizers. Whoever said you can’t eat dessert before a meal?

A closeup of 2 of the prettiest desserts.

Soups come in individual portions. Most of us got the fish maw soup ($16.00 per portion). It was thick, gooey, and chock full of fish maw, shredded fresh crab meat and sliced black Chinese mushrooms. A nice touch was the boiled quail’s egg in the soup. This was standard fare. The picture came out very blurry so there's no post on this.

The Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab ($30.00) was gobbled up fairly quickly, it was fresh but the batter was a little too thick. A lighter hand with the battering would have been better, pun intended. This too was a little generic, good but not great.

The Deep Fried Stuffed Chicken Wings was easily the best dish of all at $4.00 per wing. It was stuffed with minced meat and herbs, and the best part was, there was no coriander! I loved it. This picture also came out extremely blurry so it's not posted.

The Thai Omelette with Minced Pork ($17.00) was also really good. It was fluffy, and thick. Apparently, according to a colleague well versed in Thai cuisine, it’s cooked floating in a pool of oil and the egg is added layer by layer. This creates the layers in the omelette.

The Baked Prawns with Vermicelli in Claypot was also another classic Thai dish. We ordered a prawn for each person ($7.50 per prawn) which is quite pricey. The dish was loaded with coriander, so I didn’t really get to enjoy it. Strips of bacon, which were an unusual touch, lent a slightly salty and smoky flavour. Sliced Chinese black mushrooms were also a nice touch.

The view after taking away the coriander (urgh).

We also got the Fried Pomfret topped with crispy garlic ($30.00). We initially enquired if we could switch the fish to a grouper instead, but the manager said that groupers were only cooked in Thai sweet chili sauce. That was a minus point for me, the inflexibility and inability to accommodate special requests. She was pleasant enough though I would have expected more from a fine dining establishment. Back to the fish, the pomfret was filleted for ease of serving. The garlic was fried to a crisp and amazing with the fish slices. This was good but at the price tag of $30.00 for a few pieces of fish, it wasn’t great value.

The Kang Kong cooked with Special Sauce was one of the recommended specialties, but it wasn’t extraordinary. It was standard kang kong sautéed with oyster sauce, chili and prawns, which came with an expensive price tag of $20.00. It was good, but pricey.

The Green Curry Chicken came served with deep fried fish skins ($16.50), which was an unusual touch. The crunchy fish skins was to be dipped into the green curry. This was finished in an instant. The green curry was spicy and had that lovely pandan scent.

The Minced Chicken with Basil Leaves ($18) is one of the better versions around. It was spicy, and the flavour of the basil came through in every mouthful.

The Rice Crackers ($16) came with a sauce that looked disgustingly like oatmeal, but it was goooood. Great as an appetiser or snack.

A couple of my colleagues ordered the Olive Rice ($17.00) as well, this was yummy. I loved it. There were bits of lime tossed into the rice which lent a refreshing twist. We tucked into this before realising that I hadn't had the opportunity to take photos of this.

We also got the Papaya Salad ($16). It was refreshing yet spicy, sweet and savoury at the same time.

The bill came up to $1,364.20 for 18 persons, which wasn’t too shocking, based on Thanying’s fine dining reputation. Apparently, there is usually some kind of credit card discount, but as it was the eve of Deepavali, credit card discounts were inapplicable.

Overall, Thanying is one of the better Thai offerings in Singapore, but it is overpriced. The food is fairly authentic, but I was expecting spectacular food for the prices we paid. That said, if you are craving Thai food, and have money to spare, Thanying would probably satisfy your Thai food craving.
Thanying Restaurant
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
The Amara #02-00
Tel: 6222 4688
Open lunch daily from 11am to 3pm; dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm.
Email: thanying@amaraholdings.com

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