The clouds are out when I visit Thai Thai, with some fat splots of rain threatening a downpour any second now. I don’t like entering restaurants in this kind of weather, there’s a superstitious side to me that interprets such as a menacing omen for what lies ahead. Compounding my sense of doom is the educated guess (the name gives nothing away, does it?) that I’m about to go Thai, a cuisine that more often than not has left Warsaw flummoxed. It’s not that the capital can’t get the chefs, more that it can’t get the ingredients to replicate the nuances of this extraordinary cuisine. But that’s the first lesson of Thai Thai: don’t apply the deficiencies of others to this outstanding venture.
As usual, I’ve arrived late, which means the two lads I’m meeting have already assumed the controls. Enquiring as to what they’ve ordered, the reply is ‘everything’. They’re not kidding. I’ve barely taken my jacket off before the starters begin landing. There’s about eight in all, and we make short work of the challenge in front. In between clattering chopsticks and competing elbows are uttered observations like ‘the best I’ve had ever’.
Among the highlights are dainty prawn dumplings and a grilled beef salad accessorized with a perky chili sauce. It’s the real deal, full of citrusy twists, lively flavors and vibrant colors. Equally pleasurable: sundried pork neck with a manly crunch and nose-clearing sauce. Nothing though can outshine the tuna tartar, a dish zinging with fresh hits of coriander, mint, lime juice and chili – so good I actually call over the manager and tell him what I think. It’s no surprise to learn that he’s heard it all before.
Soups are up next, and for me that’s Tom Yang Kung, a deeply nourishing fish broth that awakens the senses with a sharp, spicy jolt. Such are its restorative powers I make a mental note to return with a hangover – the kind when a gunshot to the head seems the only way out. Mains see more splurging: strips of beef fillet in a sticky black pepper sauce, lamb skewers on a subtle green curry, a beautifully balanced Pad Thai Kung, and a glorious red curry duck served with pineapple, lychee and eggplant. It’s food to savor: clean but complex and fragrantly aromatic. Frankly, it’s exquisite.
With plates cleared comes the realization that dessert is physically impossible – we have gorged beyond all recorded human limits. Any regrets, however, are not forthcoming. A world removed from the glow-in-the-dark gloop found in so many of its competitors, Thai Thai has been a sensation. By giving chef Surachart Urajaroen center stage, this restaurant ensures that a dazzlingly luxurious interior isn’t failed by a bog standard kitchen.
Pl. Teatralny 3, tel. 601 818 283, open 12:00-23:00, www.thaithai.pl