Thai restaurant with a twist

The central dining area of BBQ Thai is a bright and relaxing space. – Photos by SS KANESAN/The Star

Street food served in comfy eatery where repurposed items exude vintage charm

A LITTLE tuk-tuk at the entrance gives a hint to what awaits on the inside at this dining destination in Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.

It would seem like restaurant owner Mandy Chin was out to encourage customers to check out the imaginative decorations, including some antiquated items.

BBQ Thai has plants that gently twirl around fairy lights and lanterns hanging from the ceiling, lending a cosy ambience to the casual setting.

The restaurant, which has been in operations for nine years, is managed by Chin, who has a background in restaurant and interior design.

Thai Combo Set is a platter of four different dishes.Thai Combo Set is a platter of four different dishes.

While customers can opt for tables at the centre of the restaurant, there are also individually themed fully air-conditioned “houses” that can accommodate between six and 30 diners.

Each house has a colour theme. The Green room and Guitar room, decorated by Chin and her team, use recycled items from a nearby music school that was closing down.

The same use of recycled things is applied throughout the restaurant, as Chin cheerfully shared that she enjoyed giving “old stuff” new life. For instance, the restroom sinks were salvaged from a nearby school science lab.

As for the food, Chin said all the ingredients were imported from Thailand, adding that her chefs go the extra mile to ensure the taste of the food was authentic.

Thai-Style Fried Vermicelli is an option for seafood lovers.Thai-Style Fried Vermicelli is an option for seafood lovers.

The first dish we had was Lemon Steam Squid. The taste of the soup-like gravy offers an instant citrus kick and enhances the freshness of the squid.

Chin said there were two ways to enjoy the dish. Diners can have it sashimi-style, while those who prefer their seafood fully cooked may leave it over the hot coals for longer.

The Thai Fried Rice paired with Thai-Style Omelette with Cha Om went extremely well with the crunchy and fresh Mango Kerabu.

Another dish we enjoyed was the Thai Combo Set that contained four dishes – a refreshing Mango Kerabu, fried fish cakes, Pandan-wrapped Chicken and fried tofu with Thai dipping sauce.

Those with a sweet tooth can look forward to the Water Chestnut (top) and Tako desserts.Those with a sweet tooth can look forward to the Water Chestnut (top) and Tako desserts.

Those who prefer seafood can opt for the Salt and Chilli Stir-fried Prawns or the Claypot Prawn with Glass Vermicelli.

The highlight of the dinner, however, was an entire deep-fried pork knuckle served with Thai dipping sauce, as the crackling of the pork complemented the seasoned lean meat.

“This is a fan favourite, people love it because of the crispy skin,” said Chin.

Those with a sweet tooth will like Thai desserts such as the classics Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk, Water Chestnut, Tako and the Cassava with Coconut Milk.

Salt and Chilli Stir-fried Prawns will entice seafood lovers.Salt and Chilli Stir-fried Prawns will entice seafood lovers.

“We extract the coconut milk ourselves and do not rely on the packaged version because the taste is very different,” said Chin.

“We do not compromise on the quality of ingredients despite facing challenges with importing ingredients.”

She said this way, diners were ensured of the taste and authenticity of dishes served here.

BBQ THAI, 17 Jugra Hal, 3¼ mile, off Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-7981 9888 or 018-284 0431). Business hours: Noon to midnight daily. Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by the StarMetro.

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