I'M BACK BABY!!!!! Wow, I've really gotten behind on my blogging, huh? I've been away for most of haze season, frolicking in wine country Down Under, hungover and drunk for the most part, hopping from one winery to the next. To be honest, I would have extended my already-extended sojourn, BUT being an adult without a trust fund meant there are responsibilities work-wise, and so, I was obliged to come back. Oh well...at least the haze is letting up.
For the holiday-starved, I'd suggest heading to Tamarind Hill. Nestled within the lush Labrador Park, where the air is just a smidge clearer, the colonial black-and-white manor is one of those places that reminds me of a seaside holiday, replete with the faint scent of lemongrass wafting through the picturesque bungalow, and a distant view of the Keppel waterfront. It's unsurprising then, that many couples opt to hold their wedding reception here.
With such gorgeous digs, I thought the Thai fare served here would be a little suspect. Afterall, how good can their Thai food be when I've never heard of them until I attended a friend's wedding dinner here recently, even though the restaurant had been in business since 2012! It was a pleasant surprise to find that Tamarind Hill served up seriously good Thai cuisine. A little more pricey than the regular Thai eatery, yes, but the food was exquisite. And service was just lovely...warm and welcoming like old friends, even if it occasionally got scattered and sluggish due to the labour crunch.
A tip: call ahead always - the space is regularly booked out by private receptions of all sorts.
A must-try, the Pork Neck Phanaeng Curry ($34) was mindblowingly awesome. Hands-down, most luscious pork slices ever. Despite the proportion of Caucasians here, the curries aren't watered down, and they pack quite the punch.
The Set Lunch version ($17), a more manageable 1-person portion with steamed rice, was substantial without putting you in a food coma. If you work in the area, I suggest coming for lunch, it's such a wonderful escape from the hustle of work.
There's also the chicken version, Paneang Curry Chicken ($13) that's just as fantastic.
The Deep Fried Pork in Garlic & Pepper ($30) was robust, fragranced with copious lashings of black pepper and golden nubbins of fried garlic.This would make a perfect TV snack, now that fall TV-season has started.
The Massaman Beef Curry ($34), rich and redolent of nutty elements, was loaded with roasted potatoes and fork-tender beef hunks.
The Green Curry Chicken ($32), choc-a-bloc with succulent chicken thigh, was sumptuous, creamy and rich.
The Fried Corn Cakes ($9) sounded a lot better on paper than it tasted in real life. I was expecting a crispy fritter choc-a-bloc with corn kernels, and this turned out a chewy pancake that was more flour than corn.
Deceptively clear, the Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup ($22) was fiery, chunked up with an assortment of enoki, oyster, shimeiji, and straw mushrooms.
The Tom Yum Goong Lunch Set ($13), the red version choc-a-bloc with juicy prawns, was just as spicy and heady with umami flavour.
If you prefer a more milky version, the Tom Kha Gai ($12) would be a good bet, redolent of galangal and coconut milk, and with plenty of juicy chicken chunks and wild mushrooms.
The Khow Soy Kai Lunch Set ($17), the Chiang Mai Curry Noodles was half-and-half. Half was fried to a crisp, and the other half of the egg noodles was boiled, for a contrast in textures. I've had better, namely at E-Sarn, but this was commendable, considering the plentiful chicken pieces.
The stir-fried Phad Chee Aiw ($16) of thick flat rice noodles with dark soy, interspersed with pork, eggs, kailan, and carrots, was superb.
Our obligatory greens, Sauteed Assorted Vegetables ($18) was a medley of broccoli, cauliflower, kailan, carrots, shitake, and oyster mushrooms delicately stir-fried in a garlicky oyster sauce.
My favourite Thai dessert, Tah Koh ($7), a pandan coconut layered pudding of sorts, was very nicely done here. Sweet but nuanced, and refreshing with bits of water chestnut and corn dotting the pudding.
The Load Shoung ($7), a Thai-styled chendol with jackfruit, sago, coconut milk, and coconut ice-cream, was refreshingly cool.
A must-try, the Pandan Creme Brulee ($14), with a mint and jackfruit salsa, was fusion of the east and west at its best, incredibly fragrant and luscious.
Tamarind Hill Restaurant
30 Labrador Villa Road
Open daily from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Tel: 6278 6364