We drove out to the Esplanade for lunch one stormy afternoon. We were all wearing pretty shoes and didn't want to get them wet walking to any of our usual lunch destinations. Drizzle on suede and ponyhair is a total disaster man!
It could have been the heavy rain that deterred the masses, but the Esplanade was like a shanty-town in the day. Restaurants were either closed or barely occupied, shops were devoid of foot traffic, and the entire place was just so eerily quiet and sleepy. A little depressing, really. Apparently, the Esplanade comes alive only when the sun begins setting.
Ah well, all the better for a peaceful lunch with (probably more) attentive service. No need for reservations, joining in a queue or jostling with a crowd.
Thai Express was one of the few restaurants that was open for lunch, manned by a skeleton crew. I sat down to moderate expectations but I was very pleasantly surprised by the above-average quality of the food. Every dish was relatively well-executed and yummy. This would make a much better meal-time option than Barossa a few steps away. Cheaper too.
The Tom Yum Peek Gai ($8.30), chicken wings marinated in spicy tom yum seasoning, was lipsmackingly good. Balanced between the sweet and spicy and sour, this was juicy and thoroughly flavoursome.
The Massaman Chicken Curry ($13.60) was a creamy, rich, thick curry, loaded with bite-sized baby potatoes and 2 big pieces of chicken thigh. This is similar to our Nonya-styled curry, but with an additional nutty accent. Toasted Thai style pancakes which resembled flattened roti prata were on hand to mop up every last drop of that delicious gravy.
Beware the Tom Yum Talay ($8.30), tom yum seafood soup. Its deceptively clear appearance masks a spice level that'll leave your tummy churning for the rest of the day. Super shiok. We also liked the fresh seafood that was cooked to a tender perfection.
Another classic dish, the Phad Thai Talay ($11.30), flat rice noodles with seafood, was also well-executed. A little sweet, a little smoky, a little peppery, this was chunked up by plentiful fish slices, squid and prawns.
The Nam Neua Yang ($8.90) a grilled beef salad was tender, rolling in streaky fat and flavourful.Tart shallots and cut chillis lent a sharp tartness to the savoury beef.
8 Raffles Ave
Esplanade Mall #01-13D
Tel: 6533 6766
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 11pm;
Fridays and Saturdays from 11.30am to 12midnight