It constantly amazes me how Singaporeans will readily travel far and wide for food. E-Sarn Thai, a casual Thai eatery hidden deep within the dated Ridgewood condominium, is still doing a roaring business all these years despite the lack of foot traffic.
Where we're living now, apart from Thai Noodle House, E-Sarn at Ridgewood is probably the only other place that's nearby to hit up for relatively cheap Thai food. We were craving some Thai food late one night and since Thai Noodle House was closed, we headed for E-Sarn instead.
Having recently tried their branch at Upper Thomson, it was quite evident that the Northern outlet serves up better food than this one in Ridgewood. The food in the North is generally spicier and dishes are generally better executed, whereas the fare here at Ridgewood seems a bit too watered down and insipid. That's saying a lot, because I thought that the one at Upper Thomson wasn't spicy enough. The chilli-averse will probably love it here, you get a taste of Thai cuisine without the requisite heat.
Take the Peek Gai Yat Sai ($11.50) for example. The boneless chicken wings was supposed to be stuffed with diced water chestnuts and mushrooms for a juicy finish, but I couldn't quite make out the water chestnuts nor mushrooms in this. This was boring and monotonous, and needed a lot of the Thai sweet chilli dip, when previously at the Upper Thomson one, the wings were tasty enough on their own without the need for the dip.
The Gaeng Paed Gai ($13.50), green curry chicken with eggplant and coconut milk, was so thick and creamy that you can't quite make out any heat in this.
The Panang Gai ($13.50), chicken stir-fried with coconut curry, was a creamy yellow curry laced with chilli oil. Hardly spicy at all but the creamy gravy paired nicely with white rice.
The Kai Foo ($8.50), a classic Thai omelette, with soft wispy clouds of egg layers, was so airy you can hardly taste the egg in this. It's like eating fried froth seasoned with egg. That said, we liked this, even if it was dripping in oil.
The Pad Pak Ruom ($9.50), a medley of baby corn, kailan, carrots, mushrooms was simply sauteed in a delicate garlic oyster sauce, leaving the focus on the crunch and natural jus of the greens.We liked the golden fried onions topping on this.
A twist on the usual mango sticky rice, the Mango Sticky Delight ($7.50) with fresh mangoes, warm glutinous rice dunked in coconut milk and a scoop of icy coconut ice-cream was sweet, balanced and refreshing. Very nice.
E-Sarn Thai Kitchen
5 Ridgewood Close
Unit G2 Ridgewood Condominium
Tel: 6466 8078
Open daily from 11.30am to 10pm, Closed on Mondays