Soht & Baay opened to much fanfare in Singapore as it was said that ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin ate here. The Thai restaurant is housed on the 4th and 5th floors of ION Orchard, with private dining rooms on the 4th and open dining area on the 5th. Please note that the restaurant is only accessible through the entrance located at the 4th level opposite ThreeSixty Market Place.
Walking in through the entrance on the 4th floor of the sprawling shopping mall, we were immediately greeted by the captain, who thoughtfully noted down our names and greeted us by our first names. That was a nice touch.
We were first served Complimentary Appetizers, a lovely presentation of a crisp lettuce bed with crushed peanuts, fried dried shrimp, fragrant garlic and onions, tossed in a sweet sauce, and a hint of lemongrass. This was refreshing and comforting at the same time.
We weren't very hungry so we got 3 portions of the Tom Yum Kung ($13.90) with jumbo prawns, lemongrass, coconut bud, oyster mushrooms and kaffir lime leaves. This was piquant and rich, though I was surprised with the spice level of the classic Thai mainstay. It was fairly spicy, but I expected it to be spicier, like the ones in Thailand.
Each bowl of soup is portioned for a small eater, so get more if you're a big eater like us. Still, there are 2 big Tiger prawns and about 5 oyster mushrooms in each little bowl of soup.
We also ordered the Pad Thai ($15.90) to share. This was fried very well. The rice noodles were still moist without being too wet and sticky.
Soht & Baay is a fairly romantic place to bring a date. The ambience was very peaceful and restaurant lowly lit for romance (everyone looks better in the dark anyway). The bright flashing lights of the ION Orchard facade were a little distracting though.
The bill came up to $67, which is, in my view, quite expensive for just 3 soups and one noodle dish. I guess it was a good thing we both weren't very hungry that night. The food at Soht & Baay is really authentic, the closest thing to the food in Thailand that I've ever had here in Singapore. However, the prices make the meal a lot less palatable. They could do much better if their prices were about 20% cheaper.
Service was fairly attentive and polite, but a little slow, for a restaurant charging such prices, and with only about 6 tables filled that night. There was a gap of about 10-15 minutes between the appetizers and the tom yum soup, which, in my view, was a tad too long. (you see, when a restaurant charges at such premium prices, the expectations of their customers are correspondingly higher)
Also, I didn't like the musical entertainment of some jazz singer who was accompanied by a pianist. I've always felt that music in fine dining restaurants should be subtle and unintrusive. Somehow, the singer was straining through jazzed up versions of classic favourites. It was very distracting. It was so much better whenever the pianist did piano solos.
Update Jan 2015: This restaurant is now defunct and has vacated the space.
Soht & Baay
2 Orchard Turn
Tel: 6509 6058
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and from 6.30pm to 10pm for dinner
Fridays to Sundays from 11.30am to 10pm