Thai has to be one of everyone’s favourite International cusines. Indeed, a recent poll by Taste of Dublin found that it was the favourite foreign food of 35% of the Irish population, nipping on the heels of the nation’s favourite, Italian which came in at 37%. Its popularity is evident by the growth of the Camile and Diep takeway chains, as well as the ever growing number of Thai restaurants popping all over the place, albeit varying wildly in their authenticity.
I was recently invited to the new kid on the block, Narra Thai Restaurant, to try out their menu in their newly opened restaurant in Stillorgan, South County Dublin. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by our host and restaurant co-owner Maggie, who took us to our seats. Since it was on the extremely nippy side outdoors, himself ordered a tea to aid brain-function during the menu decision making process. He was speedily given what the owner referred to as a Tea Bomb, a sea urchin looking flower which opens out when hot water is poured over it. Apparently, it’s not easy to get here in Ireland, and he absolutely loved it, being the fussy little tea fecker that he is. To begin with, we both had soups for starters (remember the whole nippy/Baltic weather previously referred to). Himself, had the Pho Thak Seafood Soup and I went for the Chicken Tom Yum Goong. Mine was deliciously spicy with the chicken pieces perfectly tender, not the chewy lumps, that you can sometimes get. My other half declared himself the winner of the starters round (we are sooo competitive) with his fragrant soup with its plentiful portions of prawns, mussels and squid. He was particularly impressed by the knife skills displayed on the calamari (aren’t men funny ‘aul creatures?).
And so to the mains, himself went for the Ped Ma-Kham ( that’s Duck With Tamarind Sauce to you, matey) upon recommendation from the lovely owner, Maggie. The generous portion of locally-sourced crispy duck was served on top of crispy noodles and dressed with tamarind sauce and coriander and a portion of steamed jasmine rice. Those very impressive knife skills were on show again with the beautifully carved potato and carrots which decorated the plate. I went for the Prawn Massaman curry which was the perfect follow up to the zingy soup starter and was beautifully mild with its creamy coconut base with potatoes and peanuts and generous amount of juicy prawns. (Is there anything worse than having to play find-the-prawn? Not here, there were loads of ’em). Should we have wished to take up the hotness level, Maggie brought us a bowl of sliced chillies in fish sauce and lime juice. Being absolutely full, but still with an ever-open dessert pocket, we shared the home baked warm coconut tart served with vanilla ice cream which was wonderfully chewy (that’s a very good thing in this case).
End verdict: This was perhaps the best Thai Food I’ve had in Dublin. The food was lovingly prepared by the Thai-born chef and the attention to detail was excellent, coupled with friendly and attentive service. While I was invited on this occasion (yay!), my review was in no way influenced by that, and I wouldn’t (and won’t) hesitate to pay the next time. Give it a go, methinks you’ll likey (a lot!)
Narra Thai and Asian Restaurant, 2 Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2108440