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I’ve been meaning to go to Khao San Road for a few months now since it first opened. So, at last, Mike and I finally made our way here on a Friday evening with two of our friends. The restaurant is located in the clubbing district at Adeleide and Peter, and I was surprised to see what this area looked like in the daylight! It’s just not quite the same when you’re wandering around here in the dark after several drinks.

Anyway, the outside of the restaurant is pretty unassuming. We actually almost walked right past it due to the lack of signage. When we arrived just before 8 o’clock, the restaurant wasn’t too busy, but soon after we sat down, it really started to fill up. It’s recommended that you make a reservation since I hear that without one, the waits can be pretty long. Last week, we tried to make a reservation on a Thursday for the next day, only to find that they were completely booked. With this in mind, we called in on a Wednesday night to make a reservation for Friday. Apparently we had taken the last spot! The person on the phone explained to us that their reservation policy was that a) we wouldn’t be seated until our entire party had arrived and b) that we’d lose the reservation if we weren’t all here 15 minutes after the reserved time. This is understandable, given how popular the restaurant is.

Po Pia Pak Sod Gai

I really liked the atmosphere, as it felt like a nice blend of rustic and modern décor. The restaurant also had several communal tables for seating along the bar. Since we had made a reservation, they seated us at a table for four. For those of you who don’t know, Khao San Road was opened by the owners of Sukho Thai. I’ve never actually been to Sukho Thai, but I have had delivery from there before, which I enjoyed.

Since we were all starving, we decided to order two starters and four entrees to share amongst the four of us. The first starter we had was the Po Pia Pak Sod Gai Fresh rolls filled with home-made chicken sausage, lettuce, carrots, mint leaves and Thai basil, served with our tamarind, garlic sauce topped with peanuts and Thai coriander ($6). There were three small rolls cut into size bite-size pieces. These rolls were really carefully wrapped, and they were a nice refreshing starter. The garlic dipping sauce they were served with really complimented the flavors. This was a great way to start off the meal.

Goong Taud Samoon Prai

The other starter we ordered was the Goong Taud Samoon Prai – Garlic Shrimp breaded in a crispy garlic and fresh kaffir lime leaf coating served with a sweet and tangy garlic sauce ($9). These were extremely hot when we received them, as they were fresh out of the fryer. The breading was really crispy and not at all greasy. There was also a bit of a kick to the shrimp, which was probably from the dipping sauce. As there were four of us and the serving size was only six shrimp, we were all craving more of these. This was another perfect appetizer. So far, so good!

For our entrees, we decided to go with two noodle dishes and two curry dishes. For our first noodle dish, we decided on the Pad Thai (Sam Roas)Special Pad Thai “three flavours style” topped with home-made roasted peanuts, dried chili and a fresh slice of lime. This comes with a choice of veggies & tofu, chicken, or beef for $14, or shrimp for $15. We went with the chicken for this dish. In addition to this, for all the dishes you get to choose a spice level – mild, medium and hot. We went with medium for all our dishes. I normally can’t eat super spicy foods, but I didn’t find the medium too spicy.

Pad Thai (Sam Roas) – Special pad thai

The menu offered this special Pad Thai as well as a “street style” version, described as “an experience of Pad Thai your own style.” We were a little confused as to what this meant, so we inquired about the difference between the two. The server informed us that the street style didn’t come with the same toppings (such as the peanuts) that the special one comes with. So we decided to just stick with the special pad thai. We all really enjoyed this dish. It was certainly more authentic than the ketchup-y versions served at many other restaurants.

Pad Kee Ma

The other noodle dish we ordered was the Pad Kee MaStir fried rice noodle with fresh green chili and fresh garlic, long green pepper, bamboo shoot and Thai basil leaves. As with most other dishes, you have a choice of veggies & tofu, chicken, or beef ($13), or shrimp ($15). We chose shrimp to go with these noodles. When the two noodle dishes were brought to table, I didn’t think the Pad Kee Ma would be as good as the Pad Thai, based on looks alone; however, the Pad Kee Ma was delicious! The flavours in this dish were amazing. The basil was very strong in this dish, so if you’re not a fan of it, I wouldn’t recommend this. Although the Pad Thai was also really good, I think I preferred this noodle dish a bit more.

Gaeng Kaew Wan (green curry with chicken)

Now, onto the curries… we decided on the Gaeng Kaew Wan A unique Thai curry dish known as “GREEN CURRY” that uses fresh green chilies to make a curry paste which gives its greenish colour ($12). We decided to go with chicken for this and beef for the other one we ordered. This green curry was a lot less green than a lot of the other green curries I’ve had at other restaurants (or the ones I’ve made myself from those little packets you can get at Loblaws!), but this dish was another big hit for me. The chicken was tender and the slices of bamboo added a different texture to the dish.

The other curry dish we ordered was the Gaeng MassamamThe only Thai curry with a twist of tamarind sauce and cooked with onions, peanuts, potatoes and bay leaves; topped with crispy deep fried shallots (with beef for $13). This curry was very flavourful and contained large chunks of potato, along with a generous portion of roasted peanuts.  My dining companions liked this curry better, but I preferred the green curry. But don’t get me wrong, they were both fantastic! The curry dishes each came with a side of rice. After eating about half of both curries we ran out of rice, so we ordered an extra serving of rice to soak up the rest of the curry.

Gaeng Massamam (thai curry with tamarind sauce and beef)

When the entrees first arrived, we all thought it wouldn’t be enough, however, after slowly working our way through, it was more than enough. We were all stuffed by the end of it… But there’s always room for dessert! There is only one dessert on the menu, the Sa Koo Ma Praoa personal cup of small tapioca pearls in sweet coconut milk with strips of tender young coconut ($3). Given that we were all pretty full, we only ordered one serving to share, which was enough for each of us to have about 2 bites. When it first arrived, I was also surprised to discover that this dish was served hot. I think I would’ve preferred this served chilled instead, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless.

Sa Koo Ma Prao (tapioca)

hroughout the meal, I had noticed a lot of people ordering an orange drink, which I thought was some sort of fruit drink. At the end of the meal, I inquired with the server and was told it was the Chai Nom Yen (Thai iced tea). It seemed like a really popular drink amongst the customers, so I’ll have to try that next time.

The problem with going to such a hyped up restaurant is that the expectations are so high, that some of them can be a bit of a let down. Khao San Road was certainly an exception. We all loved it! Everything was delicious, from start to finish. I will definitely be back for more!

At a glance:

  • They take reservations, so take advantage of this since it can get pretty busy
  • Appetizers range from around $5-$10; mains range from $12 to $16
  • For most entrees you have a choice of chicken, beef or shrimp
  • You can also choose the spice level of your dishes
  • Amazing food – everything we ordered was a hit, no complaints!

  1. Sherry (Reply) on Sunday 22, 2011

    Going here tonight, so read your review first! 😉

    • Jess (Reply) on Sunday 22, 2011

      I really hope you enjoy it! My favourite Thai restaurant in the city.