75 King St. South
Waterloo, Ontario N2J 1P2
After what seemed like an interminable 6+ month wait, Thai Sun is finally open, capping off a small row of shops and restaurants on the newly built Willis Way. I visited the place for lunch a few days after shortly after the opening. The decor was very contemporary, with flowing curves, designer oriented highlights and changes in elevation for added architectural interest. The difference between renovating an existing space versus starting from a blank canvas is evident here as a lot of effort was put into the design, and pays off well with a good first impression.
The menu was better than I expected. Thai Sun looks to be targeting a more upscale market than the typical 500+ menu item selection found at most common Viet-Thai restaurants. For lunch, they offer a few specials on a rotating menu, plus about half a dozen each of appetizers, entrees, soups and salads. The specials included spinning noodles (more commonly known as pad thai), green chicken curry, and wonton soup with beef jerky. Most specials include a side such as a shrimp roll, spring roll, mango salad and/or sticky rice. I was intrigued yet hesitant to order the beef jerky, as I was afraid I'd end up with a hot rod or something similar. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few tasty sweet and salty pieces of cured beef sprinkled with sesame. The wonton soup was about average, a nicely flavoured broth with a small number of forgettable wontons. The mango salad was a tasteful combination of sliced mango, onions, peppers and cilantro. However, it didn't have as much mango as I would have liked. Sticky rice was served on the side in a small woven container and helped provide a solid base for the meal. My colleagues were all generally pleased with the food although portions were somewhat small and not filling enough for a bunch of strapping young men.
As expected with any brand new restaurant, there were quite a few service related missteps. We had to ask for napkins and cutlery, food took quite awhile to come out, and entrees didn't arrive at the same time forcing two of us to wait awhile before giving up and starting without meals in front of everyone. Also, the side dishes were completely mixed up and we missed one of them without knowing it. I wouldn't hold this against them though unless the problems continue after a few weeks.
The lunch specials were all $11.99 or $12.99, soups and appetizers all less than $10, and main dinner items around $15. I found this pretty reasonable for the quality of the food they offer. I applaud them for their take on Thai food, with high quality, fresher ingredients and less reliance on excessive sauces and cooking. They've put together something more interesting than the ubiquitous copycat Viet-Thai places around town.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007