To some, Orchard Towers may be a seedy incarnation of Gomorrah, what with all the dodgy massage parlors and kinky nightclubs. To us, it's a treasure trove of affordably authentic Thai cuisine, tucked away in little crannies of the aged mall. Sure, the touts have gotten more brazen over the years, but if you're there to sample the food (I mean this literally, and not metaphorically), a tip is to hold on tight to your significant other and avoid eye contact with the "nightlife".
A recent discovery, Cafe Sapunsa, has overtaken our previous love for Jane Thai Food (the Crazy Horse neighbour was our default go-to whenever a craving for Thai curries hit, until they sold out and its food went to the pits). Conveniently situated just past the bridge crossing linking the two wings of Orchard Towers, and right where the carpark is at, the spartan eatery benefits from a fair bit of foot traffic. Service is speedy and efficient; always a bonus when space is limited and a high turnover is needed. Another bonus: they open till the wee hours of dawn, probably to cater to the nocturnal hinterland, and they accept advance call-ahead orders, which is why we've taken away supper on a weekly basis.
The Tom Yum Goong ($12) was as fiery as it looked, always a good thing, dosed with a sour zing, and generously laden with straw mushrooms, tomatoes, and bouncy shrimps. A teensy weensy gripe: the alkali-treated shrimps were lacking in sweetness.
A must-try, the Panang Gai ($12) was creamy, potent, gloriously nutty, and totally sumptuous. Scrumptious over white rice.
The Phad Kra Pow ($12), minced pork stir-fried with long beans, green peppers, chilli and basil, can be a little inconsistent. Still, the savoury heat, robust flavours, and the lovely crunch of the greens, makes a wonderful pairing with white rice.
The Seafood Phad Thai ($10) was commendably done as well, with a faint aroma of a smoky wok wafting through every strand.
400 Orchard Tower
#02-36 Orchard Road
Tel: 6737 0223
Open daily from 12noon to 6am