The Place and Vibe
Walking into Michael Wendling’s T for Thai heightens your sense of anticipation, as it is located just on top of Cuivre, a renowned bistro also by the same French chef. Digital panels of verdant greenery light your climb up the stairs to the restaurant. Upon entering, you are greeted by a halved tuk-tuk, which is set against a digitized backdrop of a busy Bangkok street and the other charmingly against two amorous elephants. There is no doubt you are now in Thailand, and our delighted 6-year-old immediately propped herself on the tuk-tuks.
The overall fresh, modern feel of the restaurant is enhanced by plants at every table and juxtaposed with rustic Asian elements such as bamboo back rests on chairs, colonial ‘parasol’ ceiling fixtures and rattan swing-chairs suspended from the ceiling – another child-engaging prop. Overall, one has the feeling of dining in the jungle, but amongst neon lights. A definite trendy vibe!
Menus on iPads make it easy to order, and photos of each dish help alleviate fussy eater fears. There is a children’s menu (RMB88) offering a Thai option of satay with rice, or a French option of steak and fries (from Cuivre downstairs). A dessert is included with a choice between chocolate mousse or vanilla yoghurt. Given our daughter’s peanut allergy, we erred on the side of French and she was thrilled. However, she could only eat half of her mousse as it was quite rich.
We could not ignore the bar, so we began our dinner with cocktails (RMB68 each). The signature lemongrass mojito is as refreshing as it sounds and the “Ginger not Marie Ann” doesn’t disappoint with the right amount of spice unspoiled by sweetness.
For appetizers (RMB88 each), we had the Yum Sum-O (roasted wild prawn and pomelo salad with toasted coconut) and the larb paed (spicy minced duck with herbs wrapped in betel leaf), which was presented with leaves hanging off a metal rack and were quite fun to tear off and wrap.
For mains, we ordered the satay plate (RMB98), a mixture of beef, pork and chicken served with two sauces: sweet peanut and chili. We also enjoyed the exceptionally delicious Tom Kha Gai (spicy chicken coconut soup, RMB68).
On recommendation, we also had the Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai (green curry chicken with basil and eggplant, RMB88). This proved spicier than anticipated but was nonetheless tasty.
For dessert, I couldn’t leave without sampling the mango with sticky rice (RMB48). Though the rice was thicker and stickier than others we’ve had, it was nicely offset by the succulence of the Thai mangoes.
All in all, the food was exceptional but slightly pricey for what it was. Considering the unique ambience and setting, however, it was worth it.
The facilities of the restaurant are conducive and entertaining to families. Kids will enjoy the tuk-tuks, the swings and the children’s play area (only set up for weekend brunches). The toilets are very clean, and the ladies’ room is equipped with a changing table, wipes and individual change-pads – convenient for any families with young ones. Food-wise, choices are limited if someone has a nut allergy or an aversion to spice. If kids are happy to nibble off parent’s plates, the satay skewers (without the sauces), spring rolls and plain rice could be a good choice. Overall, there is plenty to love about this restaurant from a child’s perspective.
Price per person: RMB88 for children, RMB400 for adults
Recommended ages: 3 and above depending on their spice tolerance.
Good for: Brunch on the weekends, Dinner.
See listing for T for Thai.