New Thai Restaurant
Okay, I realize that I am treading into treacherous territory here - which I guess is why I've waited a week before sharing this information. Please read this with the understanding that I am in no way qualified to comment on the authenticity of Thai food. This post is strictly related to my experience of a meal that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Last Saturday, I was invited to a pre-opening dinner at the restaurant that has opened (or is about to open) on the southeast corner of Church and Lombard, the former location of a Young Thailand. I think it's called Ivory Thailand, but I went in the back door, so don't quote me on that. The space has been under renovation for what seems like forever, because apparently after it was purchased they discovered that the kitchen and ventilation systems required not just cleaning, but complete replacement. According to residents in the building, they have spent over $750,000 renovating, redecorating, etc., including shipping all of the furniture and decor from Thailand. The owner came by our table to chat, and said that she had also brought the kitchen staff with her from Thailand, but she may have been kidding, I have no idea.
So, the food...in case I haven't stressed it enough, I am no expert...but it was the best Thai meal that I have had in my limited experience. What was remarkable about it to me was that every mouthful was an explosion of flavour, of many flavours, but delicate at the same time. None of that overwhelming heat that I have experienced at other places. Even when I ate a whole chili that was floating in my curry, it had complex, kind of smokey flavours.
While we waited for our meal (it was the first night for everyone, and we were all eating for free, so we gave them a totally free pass on the service that night - I'm sure they'll work out the kinks soon) we ordered some spring rolls. Nothing outrageous about them, but they were tightly rolled, crispy, not greasy, stuffed with shrimpt, nicely presented and very hot. Then we had Spicy Red Curry Shrimp, Tamarind Duck and an order of sauteed mixed vegetables. The curry was lovely, and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. The flavours melded together so nicely, yet I felt that I could taste individual ingredients at the same time, if that makes any sense. I can say without hesitation that the duck was the most tender and moist that I have ever eaten in a restaurant, and the sauce was delicious. The vegetables were colourful, perfectly crisp-tender and very fresh. We ended the meal with beautifully creamy, flavourful mango ice cream.
Two of us could not finish all of the food, and although we weren't paying, my recollection from the menu is that the prices were extremely reasonable. The new furniture is very comfortable - I don't think that I ever went in when it was Young Thailand, but when I would would walk by, people looked like they were really jammed in - tables are generously spaced now. Staff were friendly and helpful.
I don't know diddly about Thai, but I will definitely go back.
Yes, it's called Ivory Thailand...
Has anyone else eaten there? I walked by last thursday night and there were only about 15 diners in the whole (big) place. Furniture and decor looks nice...
I dropped in with the family for lunch. Good food - above average for a buffet - $12.95 ! Chatted with the owner. I felt welcomed. We did visit the Young Thailand 10 years ago - same location.
I will return.
My wife and I finally had a chance to check out the lunch buffet, and it was very good. Everything had great flavour and freshness. The place was quite busy when we arrived, and they were replenishing the food frequently even as it got close to 2pm and started to empty. I noticed the buffet trays seemed a bit smaller than some places, which was good because the food didn't sit out as long. Standout dishes were a couple types of fish, tofu veggie pad thai, fresh cold springrolls (I forget the correct name) and an excellent beef dish garnished with chunks of oranges. They also had some surprisingly good chicken wings.
Service was efficient. At around $20 per person with a drink and tip it's not the cheapest lunch buffet going, but for the quality it's a great deal.
81 Church, Toronto, ON M5C1K9, CA
Like Tracey, I'm no connoiseur when it comes to Thai. The BF and I went to Ivory Thailand last night and were very impressed. We started the meal with veggie spring rolls and chicken satay. Both excellent and it was obvious there were real peanuts in the satay sauce (rare these days). The BF also had the coconut chicken soup which was divine, the individual flavours of the coconut and lemongrass really came through. For mains, I had the traditional standby pad thai. When the dish came to the table, I was initially concerned that it would be somewhat flavourless as the noddles had very little colour. I've become so accustomed to ketchup-y pad thai, I was expecting reddish noddles. I need not have been concerned as the pad thai was amazing with generous amounts of well cooked chicken, shrimp and tofu. The BF had green curry for his main. The only hiccup in the meal was that he had to request rice for his curry. No biggie, maybe an oversight in the kitchen or service, or we missed when ordering that the side needed to be ordered as well. The curry, like everything else in the meal, was wonderful. Service was lovely as well. Very friendly staff. We will not hesitate to go back next time a Thai craving hits!
I agree, this place is great! We decided to try take-out last week and were very impressed. We had spring rolls to start...nice and crispy, and not a hint of grease. We also had some tom yum soup which was lovely, studded with nice chunks of chicken, mushroom and fresh tomato, which I'd never had before in tom yum but it worked.
For mains we had the red curry with a side of jasmine rice, ginger chicken, beef with noodles, and mixed vegetables. The red curry was really nice and comforting, again generously studded with chunks of chicken. The ginger chicken was nicely done, and came with some small very tasty noodles underneath which was a nice bonus. The beef with noodles was okay, nothing great, but still enjoyable. The mixed vegetables were impeccably fresh and came in a nice light sauce - standard mix of brocolli, cauliflower, red and green peppers and sliced carrots but as I said it was very fresh.
We'd definitely order from them again.