|VOLUME XI No. 117||W E D N E S D A Y||June 24, 2009|
RESTAURANTS OF HONGKONG ...
AND THE WORST !
|Name of Restaurant||Thai Basil|
|Address of Restaurant||Shop LG001, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hongkong|
|Date of Visit||Tuesday, June 16 2009|
|Attentiveness to Customers’ Needs||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Product Expertise of Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Speed of Service||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Cleanliness of Uniform and Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Music -- None||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Storage of Wine||Good||Poor||Unknown|
|Expertise of Sommelier -- None||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Total Cost of Meal|
|Moderately Expensive||Very Reasonably Priced|
|General Manager||Mr Rudy Lau|
|Name of Executive Chef||Mr Chu Kwok Wah (朱國華)|
Thai Basil is one of the relatively new restaurants to have opened on the Ground Floor of Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hongkong Island.
It is not a fine-dining establishment by any stretch of the imagination and it makes no pretentions of being such.
However, there is value for money in this stand-alone eatery that claims to specialise in Thai cuisine.
TARGET (泰達財經) visited That Basil on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, at about 7:15 p.m., and, although, initially, this medium was not exactly enthralled by the first impression of the 110-seater restaurant, things warmed up as quickly as the first course was presented on the bare black, wooden table.
This was that which was ordered on that evening:
All of the dishes were spicy in varying degrees, but it was the Grilled Salmon Salad that was the spiciest of them all, so spicy, in fact, that this reviewer, after the first few mouthfuls, found it impossible to continue to sample the dish.
That is not to suggest that there was anything wrong with the salad, but TARGET just is not accustomed to tasting such very ‘hot’ food.
It comprised bean sprouts, pieces of salmon, onion, peanuts and basil.
The combination of foods was good, but the copious quantities of chili, mixed in with them, made it impossible for TARGET to tolerate.
That is, however, no fault of the restaurant.
The Pumpkin and Ginger Soup was the least spicy of all of the dishes ordered.
It was a pleasure to taste it since, actually, it was an old-fashioned, vegetable soup, boiled for an extraordinary long period of time, to which some ginger had been added to a pumpkin base.
It lacked any oil, at all – which was very good news.
At this point, it should be mentioned that this restaurant prides itself on not using any monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Turning to the Grilled Pork Neck, well, this, strictly speaking, is not Thai cuisine, at all, but Cantonese food with a Thai-matching, spicy sauce, dressing it up to look like a Thai dish.
Be that as it may, it was delicious.
Again, there was no fat in this dish and the pork was, clearly, quite fresh.
As for the Seafood Laksa, it is doubtful that this was a Thai dish, also, but it was quite good.
It comprised noodles in chicken-based soup, to which had been added a generous assortment of seafood – squid, shrimps, scallops, clams, etc.
It was mildly spicy, but quite edible, even for TARGET’s palate.
Up to this point, it had been noted that the presentation of the dishes had little to commend them, but this was to change when the desserts appeared on the table.
If the Pumpkin Custard and/or the Purple Sticky Rice had been served in any 5-star restaurant, it would have been a delight to the eyes.
At Thai Basil, not only was the presentation exciting, but the flavours of the desserts were on a par with the presentation.
The tables in Thai Basil are placed quite close together, the management, obviously, wanting to make use of every square inch of space.
There are no soft furnishings so that, when the restaurant is full, as it was last Tuesday night, it is difficult to hold a meaningful conversation.
Clearly, this is not the place to bring one’s girlfriend with the idea of enjoying a romantic interlude, however, if one wants a reasonable meal at a reasonable price – for this part of town, of course – Thai Basil is not a poor choice.
TARGET scanned the wine list, but there was nothing of any note that was worth ordering.
Then, again, this is not the place to order high-class wine.
As for the service, well, it was not, exactly, the best, but the young boys and girls did their best, of that this medium was certain.
The tables are not cleaned very well and the chairs hold the residue of past meals, not having been wiped away.
The restaurant could well be described as an up-market dai pai dong – side-street, open kiosk eateries.
This restaurant is owned by the Maxim’s Group of Restaurants and it looks as though it is a winner.
It is not pretentious and it makes no overtures of being such.
In the evenings, it is pretty packed.There must be a reason for this.
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TARGET cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions.