Wednesday, September 29, 2010

munch moment: siam square

On Windy Hill Road, in an innocuous little strip on the way to nothingness, is a little restaurant called Siam Square. The place is open for lunch only from Monday to Friday and all you get on the weekend is dinner (which might comply with a strong tradition of offering the same or slightly more of it for a higher price). Your best bet is lunch. You have to steal your attention from the interesting decor (black and white location photographs against a red wall; ornate mountings on another wall; the hanging wine glasses at the counter) to run through a lunch menu that fills a single side of a laminated sheet with a delicious colour scheme and is arranged in blocks. All main courses have the same price (minus extras), so it's easy to pick. If you, like I am, love having your tongue's resilience challenged, make sure you tell them that you want your dish cooked "Thai Hot" (this is usually the highest level of "hot" in most Thai restaurants and Siam Square is also one of the few to actually live up to it). If you're used to the curries from Kerala, try the Siam Square Special (also known as Mom's Special). It comes with a side of cucumber salad (diced cucumber and onion in white vinegar with a dash of sugar -- sample it at the end of your meal to heal your taste buds). If you want to try one of the standard offerings and indulge in a comparison with the wares from another restaurant, try the Green Curry. Don't forget to say "Thai Hot." If you're aiming for the sun, ask for hot sauce as well. You'll get a holder with four containers of dried peppercorns (recommended), peppercorn paste, soy sauce and a lighter clearer sauce with fragments and peppercorns.

At Thai restaurants, there's always the possibility that you'll ask for some more rice. You can often decide whether to keep a Thai restaurant on your list just based on how the serving staff treats your requests for extra rice (unlike Indian restaurants, rice in Thai and non-buffet Chinese restaurants is expected to be on the house). Siam Square tackles this problem in an interesting way: the bowl of rice is inverted atop your bowl. You can then mix the rice and the curry and never really ask for more rice. Smart and apt.

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