Weekdays will find this casual, low-frills eatery buzzing with office-types, while weekends are crammed with families flocking from the Pasir Panjang/west coast hinterland. Service is brisk, but sometimes inattentive, especially during peak hours. BUT, when the dining crowd begins to dwindle, service becomes more genuine, hospitable and warm.
The Yum Ma Muang ($10.50) a tangy salad with cherry tomatoes, peanuts, dried shrimps, onions centered around julienned green mangoes, made for a nice appetite whetter.
The Moo Dad Deaw ($12.50), deep-fried pork strips, were moist, intensely flavoured with basil and soy, and brightened by lemongrass.
The Tom Yum Seafood ($9.50) was bold and runny nose-inducingly hot. The seafood, while generous in supply, could be fresher, but in view of its price, reasonably decent.
The Gaeng Paed Gai ($13.50), green curry chicken with eggplant, was at the same time fiery and creamy.
Its reddish sister, the Gaeng Pad Gai ($13.50) was just as potent and luscious.
The Tao-Hu Tod ($8.50) was staid on its own, and the peanut-laced kecap manis sauce couldn't quite mask the sourish tinge of the beancurd.
The Cha Om ($10.50), a flat but airy fluffy omelette laced with acacia shoots, was served alongside a sambal belachan dip for extra kick.
A change-out from the rest of the spicy dishes, the Pad Pak Ruom ($9.50), a medley of cabbage, kailan, carrots, baby corn, cherry tomatoes, and onions was stir-fried simply with oyster sauce and garlic for flavour.
The Khao Pad Saparod ($14.50 for large) pineapple rice topped with pork floss was run-of-the-mill, but good fodder for the rich curries.
A standout, the Kao Pad Nam Liep ($10.50), dark with mashed olives and texturised with minced pork and egg, was robust and flavoursome.
The Khao Soi ($8.50) a classic Chiang Mai dish of crispy noodles in a red curry, was the Nothern Thai state's version of our Chinese sang mee. This was delicious, the crunchy noodles are set against the backdrop of the lusciously thick curry.
The Tom Yum Kway Tiao ($8.50) was probably catered for the tom yum soup-lovers, where flat rice noodles load up a tom yum chicken broth.
The Kway Teow Nuea Nam ($9.50) was disappointingly lacking in depth, despite its dark brown hue. The saving grace of the lackluster broth was the meltingly tender beef.
The Phad Thai ($8.50) the ubiquitous Thai flat rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, beansprouts, egg, tofu, chives in slightly sweet and savoury seasoning, was competently done. This had a nice wok hei, didn't clump together at odd places, and balanced the chewy and sticky and smooth.
The Pad See Eew ($8.50), the Thai version of our fried kway teow, was excellent, albeit a tad oily. Good wok hei, plentiful greens and laden with scrambled eggs and tender chicken chunks.
The Pad Si Mao ($8.50), the spicy version of the pad see eaw, was aromatic with peppery basil and heated with sliced chilli padi.
E-Sarn also offers wallet-friendly lunch sets, the Olive Rice Lunch Set ($8.50 set with a main and drink, a mound of plain rice capped off with a pork mince-diced olive mix, was just lovely. A duo of rather pedestrian fishcakes and a cucumber peanut dip sided this.
The Green Curry Chicken Lunch Set ($8.50 for set) was served with a slightly rubbery, over-fried egg and steamed rice, great for mopping up the sumptuous gravy.
For a decidedly limited dessert selection, E-Sarn does pretty commendable sweets. All chilled and light and great for dousing the flames in your tummy. The Thai Ruom Mit ($4) married red rubies, jack fruit, palm fruit, and agar-agar atop crushed ice and a shower of coconut milk.
The signature here, the Tim Ma Praow ($4) sees grass jellies and nata de coco with peanuts centered around coconut ice-cream and doused with evaporated milk. Thoroughly refreshing.
E-Sarn Thai Corner
130 Pasir Panjang Road
Tel: 6473 3716
Open Wednesdays to Mondays from 11.30am to 10pm