Restaurants & Bars

Thanying at the Amara Hotel, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

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Thanying at the Amara Hotel, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

Limster | Aug 23, 2003 10:37 AM

I think the Thai food at Thanying at the Amara Hotel (there's another branch at Clark Quay I think, that I've heard is not as good) has gone downhill slightly. It's still a few notches better than any Thai food I've had in the last 3 years in the US, but it wasn't up to its own standards that I've grown accustomed to over the last decade or so. (But don't come all the way to Singapore specifically for this Thai food, Thailand's super close, the distance is negligible if you're travelling in from the US.)

Bean thread in a claypot with prawns was extremely disappointing. The threads were broken up with excessive stir frying, the prawns were slighthly overcooked. Flavours weren't bad, nice hint of spice from whole black pepper seeds, but overall a poor dish.

Crabmeat stuffed in it's own shell with salted egg yolk came across as slightly dry, but easily remedied by the array of sauces available; a sweet and light chilli sauce was my pick. Not bad, just not out of this world.

Now the amazing out of this world stuff:

Fried grouper showcases brilliant knifework. The spine is removed, the fish filleted in such a way that it remains a whole fish, all the pieces joined and of the same thickness, ensuring even cooking. The fish is so crispy from excellent deep frying (must have had really hot oil) that it's nearly ready to shatter even after soaking under the sauce for a substantial bit of time; fins etc... are so crispy they're completely edible, bones and all. Above all, a complex sweet chilli sauce, sweetness and heat with a lovely current of sour plum.

Pickled chicken feet salad is a delicious combination of crunchy textures under a pleasantly sharp and spicy dressing, with substantial pieces of nearly whole deboned chicken feet. Beautiful whiff of celery fragrance from celery leaves pairs well with the chicken feet.

The depth of spicing is seen again in the innocuously simple but extraordinary string beans. Along with a dried spices paste, dried shrimp bits add savoury flavours and odours, and whole (lime?) leaves gave a light tangy flavour, gently intoxicating. The string beans were fried very precisely, still full of sharp crunchy texture, very lightly cooked, and retaining a fresh vegetal flavour.

A suave and subtle olive rice to accompany the food.

They offer a dessert buffet with probably around 2 dozen or so items, between fresh tropical fruit and all sorts of jellies and little cakes and puddings. That's probably the best choice for dessert. Standouts that afternoon include a rich, pungent and creamy durian cake, remarkable yellow pomegranates served with sugar, a tiny bit of salt and spices, a tapioca pudding with coconut, and a jelly layered with kiwi seeds.

Heard that there are other Thai places that are almost as good, but haven't tried them. One name that came up often was Patara, figured I'd pass the tip along.

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