Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >
May 7, 2012 06:08 PM

Thai Aroma - Blue Bell

Driving on Skippack near Butler and saw a sign for Thai Aroma in the place where the Everest Grill used to be. Anyone have any information on it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oo could always use another thai place. Thai Orchid is tough to beat though. I'll ask around.

    1. I was just going to post about Thai Aroma this morning, saw the grand opening sign last night. haven't gotten a menu in the mail yet or seen anything about the restaurant.

      10 Replies
      1. re: jujuthomas

        JuJuT, Is just the sign announcing the opening up or are they actually open? A friend and I would like to explore lunch on Friday if they are in fact operational.

        1. re: Chefpaulo

          I am currently at Thai Aroma and am waiting for them to bring out my order and will report back with a review. They've already been very hospitable to this solo diner bringing me water almost immediately, answering my questions, and serving my drink order of green bean milk along with some freshly fried wonton skins that have a touch of spice.

          1. re: mookleknuck

            Mookle we are eagerly awaiting your review. I'm probably headed in that direction tonite.

            1. re: givemecarbs

              Sorry for the delay! TL;DR version: nonspicy authentic food with warm service

              Not having been to the Everest Grill before, I can't comment on how/if the space has been transformed, but it was a lovely spacious room with at least fifteen four-tops, dark wood furniture, and subdued decor. Dinner two nights ago was VERY underpopulated with two tables occupied by a couple each and myself. I saw three staff, all males under the age of 40, who were very helpful and polite.

              My first waiter told me that he was Cambodian and recommended the dishes that were most like something he would normally eat: BBQ beef skewers and traditional amok (he warned me that it was NOT spicy). The former, 4 bamboo skewers of thinly sliced beef for eight dollars, had been marinated in a soy-lime-chili pepper mixture and still had some very fine pieces of lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves. It was served well-done (I had not asked for other options) with visible dark marks on the skewers on a square of banana leaf. The traditional amok, about a quart-sized takeout container's worth, was served in a large bowl priced at twenty-six dollars, described on the menu as cod with eggplant and spinach in a sundried chili-lemongrass sauce served with rice, and had that acquired taste of pla ra (it didn't taste like belacan) and seemed pretty authentic. The cod filets were served with Japanese eggplant that had developed that beautiful melting quality I so prize in good eggplant dishes and the baby spinach was not overcooked. The sauce also seemed to have coconut and was a thick orange. Neither the skewers nor the fish were spicy, in the sense that they had capsaicin, but rather they were well-spiced in that there were a number of flavors. The one cup of rice served was not very good, being neither fragrant nor properly cooked (it had too much water).

              My second waiter informed me that he was new to waiting tables, but he was polite and affable, while the third waiter, brought over from another restaurant that the owner has a share of, informed me of their housemade soy milk and mung bean milk. I haven't had fresh mung bean milk since being overseas so was quite happy to order that. That, and the freshly fried wonton skins were a very nice way to start my meal. I also learned that the head chef is Indonesian and she is training the other two chefs, one Burmese and one Indonesian, on their dishes. They are clearly still transitioning and have ordered takeout menus and dinner menu covers, but I would revisit them soon to try a number of their dishes such as the crispy seitan rice pancake, laab kai, fish cakes, and nem nuong (grilled pork). I also want to check out their spicing. Although their prices were high, I had enough left over for two more meals stretched with some rice.

              I worry that this restaurant will not be able to survive given its locale (I overheard one person ask, "What is green curry?"), but hope it does well for the sake of its authentic flavor. They seemed surprised when I requested authenticity and non-thai/viet food, so perhaps they will do fine. Givemecarbs and/or Chefpaulo, I look forward to your review!

              1. re: mookleknuck

                My friend, Ken, and I met there for lunch on Friday (and ironically seated at the same table we had during our sole visit to Everest Grill) and we both found it to be a welcome and innovative approach to Asian fusion based on traditional Thai/Vietnamese fare. Of note is the large number of vegan offerings or dishes that can be made vegan upon request..
                Except for the wall hangings, I don't recall the interior having changed much since the Everest days. Staff members were accommodating and attentive while not hovering. We were presented with the menu of luncheon specials which include soup, appetizer and entree or pho, most between $11 and $13 with the seafood pho lunch combo topping the list at $15. Soup and appetizer arrived on the same plate (sufficient in portion to be a lunch alone) with two nods of approval for the traditional Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups. Ken had the traditional Spring Rolls while I had the Seitan (wheat gluten) rolls (actually deep fried panko crusted vegetable triangles) served with a basil-avocado dipping sauce which were very good. Generous entrees then arrived with Ken's Green Curry in coconut milk proving a bit frustrating with the small plate although he fully approved. My Thai Basil Chicken was also perfectly spiced and the vegetables done to perfection. Perhaps Mookleknuck was there on an off night but I found the rice to be OK.
                We passed on desserts as I was unable to finish the entree and had it packed up for the road. Rarely do I do this for lunch anywhere so come hungry.
                We'll definitely be back as the dinner and weekend brunch (Sat. - Sun. 10 - 2) menus offer some intriguing and creative fare that begs a return visit. The brunch offerings include such eclectic fusions as Sausage, Avocado Oven Biscuits with Coconut Shrimp and home fries; Coconut-Corn Pancakes with Caramelized Palm Sugar; Fresh Mushrooms baked in Phyllo with a Cashew Cream Sauce and a Thai Omelet of bitter melon, mushrooms, tomatoes and minced pork served with home fries. Dinner fare appears to be more traditional.
                Prices may seem on the high side but, like me and Mookleknuck, you'll be able to bring home one or more additional meals from what you can't finish there. There's a real talent in the kitchen and I wish her all due success.

                1. re: Chefpaulo

                  The other restaurant that I mentioned in my above review is a vegan place, so no big surprise and a very pleasant change of pace. I will see how the rice is the next time and probably also try the seitan rolls. Good catch on the brunch menu; it sounds pretty delicious! Bacchus, thanks for your kind words.

                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                    Wow, great and extensive reviews! Sounds very different from Thai Orchid, a favorite of mine. I will have to get over there. Thanks all!

            2. re: Chefpaulo

              mooklenuck answered your question! when I drove by last night a large sign said OPEN. :) can't wait to hear how the food was.

          2. With the detailed and seemly knowledgeable reviews by Mook and Paulo I can only add more pedestrian notes.

            We found the venue, food and the employees to be delightful. There were some taste surprises for me, specifically the Thai Tea. Strong tea, orange colored , with sugar and condensed milk very tasty smooth and refreshing. The edamame stuffed dumplings were perfectly cook and flavored with a sweet sauce. Thai pasta was quite good but to my surprise I needed to request additional spice heat. The deep fried spring roll appetizers served with a sweet hot sauce were plentiful and an item I would order again. With many items in the low teens I did not find the prices to be high. But my experience with Thai is limited thus a comparison of prices and quality will be left to those more knowledgeable. I will definitely be sampling their menu over the next weeks and I would suggest that you may find Thai Aroma as delightful as we did.

            1. This review is for a late afternoon dinner for two. Service was prompt and warm. Again, very little spicing in the food even after requesting it. There were more patrons than before; at least ten tables of two-tops and four-tops. We ordered the mango salad, the seitan triangles, the nem nuong skewers, dumplings, and drunken noodles. I ordered a freshly made soy milk which was perfect. I would order the mango salad again; it was tart and refreshing in the humidity. While the seitan triangles were well-executed in that they were very crispy, they were very large (isosceles triangles measuring 5-6" at the base and 3-4" in height) and were very heavy and starchy. The skewers and dumplings tasted good, but were very tame and reminded me of something I can make at home. The drunken noodles were fine, but again, nothing I'd write home about.

              Any recent updates?

              19 Replies
              1. re: mookleknuck

                we just had dinner at Thai Aroma (finally) tonight. Very delicious! I had the butternut squash soup, which was thick, smoky and very comforting on this cool, rainy evening. DH had the Tom Nok (?) soup which was also very good. We shared the chicken dumplings, which I loved but DH said didn't go with his soup. He had the pad thai, I had the lemongrass chicken. we both finished our entrees and look forward to trying other menu offerings.

                Has anyone had their pho yet?

                I did not see fresh soy milk on the menu - is that something you have to ask for? I'd love to try it, as all I've ever had is commercial soy milk.

                1. re: jujuthomas

                  It <was> on the menu the first time I went, but I don't remember if it was on the menu the second time I went. I just asked for it the second time. Alternatively, Heung Fa Chun Sweet House in Philly's Chinatown has freshly made soy milk every day although their quality is inconsistent (burned soy milk, etc.).

                  1. re: mookleknuck

                    I don't remember any beverages on the menu, now that I think of it... I"ll have to ask next time we go.

                    1. re: jujuthomas

                      Six of us had dinner there a few weeks ago. We all loved our entrees. We took wine along, and at the suggestion of the restaurant, also brought vodka which we added to the fruit juice concoctions they sell by the pitcher. They have a Mango one and a Ginger/Mojito type mix which are $9 per pitcher. We purchased two pitchers for six of us and that was plenty to mix with the vodka we brought. Service and food was excellent.

                      1. re: curly girl

                        I saw that sign as we left the restaurant! I so need to get together with a group of people to try one of these pitchers out! sounds terrific.

                            1. re: jujuthomas

                              I'm all in favor. We had a small but very enjoyable one at the Assi Plaza food court in February of 2009. Do we want to work on sooner or maybe after Labor Day? Almost everyone goes away in August and a bigger turn-out will be possible afterward.

                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                I'm so bringing my Uncle Joe if this happens! He loves thai food and was a restaurant manager for so many years! His stories are amazing. Should have seen him on wednesday at Saigon on Main loading his pho with jalapenos and hot sauce. Did I mention he is 86?

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    i have lots of availability in August, and most of September. how do we usually organize these meet ups... I know the mods prefer we don't do it via the msg board. :)

                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                      You can find our Etiquette for Chowdowns and other Gatherings here:

                                      Usually one person posts an email address (often one they've set up using gmail or the like just for this purpose so they don't expose their regular address to the spam) and asks people to email them.

                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                        ok. let's do this folks! Anyone interested in a meet up at Thai Aroma sometime in the next few weeks, email me at :)

                                      2. re: jujuthomas

                                        Props to the mods for mentioning gmail! I know we had some sort of group email thing going for awhile for the last meet up. I remember because we all got CP's legendary chicken salad recipe.
                                        Might actually get my friend John to come. He loves him some thai food. Getting hungry already.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          yah, I already emailed to be put on the list.

                              2. re: curly girl

                                Curly, can you remember what you all ordered? Any in particular that you would order again? Also, why vodka and not rum or cachaca?

                                1. re: mookleknuck

                                  Hi Mookleknuck - it's been a few weeks, but luckily I have the menu still - my sister-in-law ordered the Jungle King; brother-in-law the Red Curry with Shrimp (also available with chicken) ; two people ordered the Traditional Amok. My husband had the Pineapple Fried Rice with chicken - all loved their entrees. I had the Fresh Baked Mushrooms Phyllo and would not order this again - phyllo was overcooked and the mushrooms were stringy. I also ordered a side of the Chicken Satay and it was really good. Two ordered the Tom Yum Soup; three the Tom Kha and I had the Butternut Squash. Mine was good, but a bit too smoky flavored for my personal taste. Next time I would go with the Tom Kha, which I tasted and it was delicious. Rum would work well with the pitchers of juice. They suggested vodka, so I took a bottle of plain vodka and also a bottle of X-Rated French Vodka which has flavors of mango and blood orange. Both tasted very good with the juice concoctions.

                                  1. re: curly girl

                                    Curly, thanks for listing the dishes! It sounds like a sugarcane liquor would work very well in those drinks and that a MeetUp might work. Would anyone like to organize this?