I’ve been wanting to visit Thaipan ever since I’ve seen the yummy-looking food pictures our Christian cellgroup leader posted when he celebrated his anniversary dinner there. Good thing, my post-birthday celebration provided an excuse!
The place was relatively easy to find. From E. Rodriguez Avenue, just turn right to Tomas Morato, and then right again on the corner of Starbucks and California Berry in front of BPI Bank. The restaurant is right beside Bagoong Club with parking just by the street side.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE AMBIANCE?
We love the ambiance!
The place looked a lot more spacious through the smart use of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and the interior was clean, elegant and classy. It didn’t look very Thai, but it was still welcoming and is a great place to hold casual dinners, romantic dates, or corporate events. There are a few private rooms available for a small consumable fee, well worth the extra privacy.
There are two floors available, and we ate at the second level. As you can see, the decor was light and breezy, and we felt at home immediately.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE FOOD?
For appetizers, we ordered the Mieng Kham (Php 170.00 for 6 pcs.), a traditional Thai appetizer of fresh spices and roasted grated coconut served on betel leaves with palm sugar sauce. It was kinda cool.
The taste was refreshing as if the betel leaves were just plucked out before serving. The palm sugar sauce tasted more like sweet tamarind which was nice, and there was enough coarse textures thanks to the grated coconut and maybe even nuts to give it that special crunch. The leaves rolled up were perfect. They weren’t soggy, and they were more than enough for the two of us. It’s an appetizer that’s something different from the norm, and it’s a great way to start your meal.
Meanwhile, for our mains, we ordered the Item Poo Nim Phad Prig Thai Dam (Php 395.00) or soft shell crab with black pepper sauce and the Phanaeng Neur Yang (Php 375.00), or U.S. Beef tenderloin in fragrant phanaeng curry.
Now, the soft shell crab entree was a WINNER. You should definitely order this if you’re in Thaipan! 🙂
The crab meat was both tender and tasty at the same time. There was a bit of chili (we asked for a mild spicy dish), but there was also an extra level of sweetness that gives you that extra kick. It’s not one of those blah black pepper sauces you’ll eat at most Asian restaurants. We especially loved it that they added in a bit of red pepper and onion (we love onion!) as a complement. It’s eaten best with fragrant white rice (Php 50.00/cup), and boyfriend and I had more than our usual share.
Meanwhile, the beef curry dish was great, but not really that remarkable. After an amazing Mieng Kham and Soft Shell Crab servings, the beef curry was a bit of a letdown.
The meat was medium thick and a bit tough. US beef tenderloin is supposed to be a lot more tender. The eggplant was nice but a bit soggy. They were also sliced too thinly. And the curry sauce, it was of a nice consistency — definitely way better than Basil’s version, but it’s still nothing to crow loudly about.
In the end, I wish the sauce was a little bit creamier and richer. It already was, but it’s still nothing compared to other good casual Thai restaurants out there.
Thaipan is a terrific venue for lunch/dinner, to meet up with friends or with colleagues and clients. The interior impresses, and the food is consistently delicious. I guess, given my more scathing review of the curry, it’s just that everything else works so my expectation for all dishes were higher too, and the beef curry just didn’t match up with the other dishes.
The only let down was perhaps the service.
Though the waiters were nicely dressed in white shirts and black pants, most of them could not be seen. The restaurant doesn’t have a button to call on service, and we had to resort to constantly waving our hands to try to get our waiters’ attention when it was time to order, to refill our water glasses, and to ask for more rice. It was so unbecoming of us given the restaurant’s ambiance but that’s how bad the service was. It was either we wait to be served and go hungry, or be uncouth and be fed. We chose the latter.
Despite the service, we will definitely come back to Thai Pan over and over. It’s just that type of restaurant. Anyway, service can be improved, and the food’s yummy-ness outweighed all other negative impressions. We’d also love to try the other dishes. Overall, a great place for a great date.
120, Scout Dr. Lazcano Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City
Tel: (02) 352-4926