If a packed restaurant is a signal that the food is good, then the food must be great at Baan Thai on Merrion Road in Dublin. I’m in a snowy Dublin for the day, arriving late yesterday evening in search of food – any food – after a long day in the office. Having checked into Bewley’s in Ballsbridge, it was a short walk to left to find a few restaurants and bars just down from the RDS, one of those being Baan Thai.
Walking past the door you would have no idea that it would be as busy as it was. Small doorway, stairs up off the street, worn carpet on the way up to the Thai flag hanging on the middle landing. Walking in the door though was another story. On appearance it’s a small restaurant but for half eight on a Friday night the place was jammed, conversation buzzing in the room, plenty of chat in the air about food, wine, desserts and every other current hot topic hitting the news.
As seating goes, I’m not keen on places that cram in the tables to the point that a waiter has to turn sideways to get between your table and the next but even in a crowded environment there was enough to make your meal private.
At the end of the day though, it’s all about the food. It’s been ages since I’ve eaten in a Thai restaurant (or one where the cuisine is predominately Thai) so browsing a menu with sixty or seventy dishes (maybe more) to choose from, I was really spoiled for choice. Spoiled and all as I was, there was only one dish on the menu I’d wanted. The Lamb Masaman Curry.
Lemongrass (then Lemonsol, then Lemon Soul, then something else) was a great Asian style restaurant that opened in Kilkenny years ago and they used to have a lamb masaman curry on the menu. It didn’t last all that long on it but for the one or two nights that I had tried it there, it was one of the nicest lamb dishes I’d ever had.
Equally, the masaman in Baan Thai last night was really, really good – all the more frustrating as the thai prawn crackers, wanton bags (much nicer than the Chinese style crispy wantons) and white wine started to take it’s toll on me and I struggled to carry on eating. Struggle and all as I did, the food was great, tasty, very satisfying and very moreish. The lamb was cubed with the potato but really soft, the melt-in-your-mouth style. As spice goes, I’d call it a medium, no sign of a Christy Moore act on it, thankfully.
In terms of pricing, with two of us for dinner comprising two starters, two mains, four sides (two portions of rice, one portion crackers, one portion fries for the lady) and an €18 bottle of wine, the whole bill came to €71, expected considering we weren’t eating in Kilkenny but not to the point that it would put me off going back (we’re very used to dinner out in Kilkenny, with wine, for two people for €50 or under).
Next time I eat there I’ll remember to bring an actual camera, apologies for the quality of the photos above!