A Send-off Dinner at Soi Thai Restaurant

Before my best friend Joan flew to London for work, I met up with her Mom, boyfriend, and some other friends in what I would like to refer to as The Last Supper. No, there was no foot washing involved -- just two friends spending time with important people before bidding a temporary goodbye. This girl who hangs out in smoking lounges and hands cigarettes to nurses giving unsolicited advice on lung health would be working in London for three years; I would terribly miss her, so I had to see her one last time, a few hours before her flight.

What better way to take advantage of being in a group than choosing an Asian setting, so we chose to dine at Soi Thai in Robinson’s Place Manila. I don’t hang out frequently in Ermita, so I was surprised how Robinson’s has transformed into such a huge mall, populated mostly by restaurants and apparel shops.

Located in the Adriatico Wing, Soi serves straight-up Thai classics like pad thai and satay. The maize-and-purple color scheme looks enticing alongside displays of Thai ornaments, figurines, and framed photos of Gods. Overhead lamps resembling those you see in their fabrics, carpets, and elephant costumes complete the ambience.

To start, we had some Lemongrass Juice and Thai Iced Tea—a drink I couldn’t resist ordering because it reminds me of the milk teas sold in Binondo. I made Joan taste this and she loved it! It took a while for the kitchen to deliver our food, so I had almost finished my tea before the first dish arrived.
Thai Iced Tea, P85
At last, Soi’s Fried Spring Rolls came—on a drinking glass, if I may add. The rolls were deliciously crispy, the filling still moist, and the sauce incredible! A nice start for a Thai feast ahead.

Fried Spring Rolls, P148
You cannot visit a Thai restaurant without getting the pad thai, but Soi’s version, albeit beautifully plated fell short on the taste factor. The noodles clung to each other like a lump of instant pancit canton—it was a bit too sweet too, more like a maki mi instead of a pad thai. Too bad because the egg mesh looked totally inviting.

Shrimp Pad Thai, P298
The Chicken Satay arrived next, and not too spectacularly either. It came cold, like it had been sitting on the counter for too long. Was it someone else’s reject? It tasted pretty good though, especially with the peanut sauce.

Chicken Satay, P170
Just when I thought we would be getting a lineup of mediocre food, the server brought in this curry-infused chicken (forgot the actual name of the dish, sorry)—deliciously moist chicken filled with green curry, served with a side of tamarind sauce. The slightly spicy flavor of the chicken blended well with the sweet-tangy tamarind sauce, an accompaniment worthy of being raved about.

The Chicken Pandan proved to be really good too: steamed chuva wrapped in pandan leaves, paired with the same tamarind sauce. I loved the smell that came out once I undid the leaves wrapping.

Chicken Pandan, P248
Accompanying all the viands was the Crabmeat Fried Rice, a wrong choice I think, for it overpowered almost everything with its strong briny taste. For Asian food, I always prefer plain steamed rice.

Crabmeat Rice, P188
If you like family-style dining in a casual setting, try to visit Soi and share a few Thai classics among your friends or family. Skip the pad thai though, and get the Curry and Pandan chicken dishes—maybe get the satay too but double-check that it’s warm when served. Substitute a Thai bagoong rice or plain rice for the Aligue rice. The Thai Iced Tea is definitely recommended. Soi cooks up decent comestibles and seems to have perfected their sauce-making—I hope they do the same to their service. The waiting time could also be greatly improved.

I was glad I was able to see my best friend a few hours before she leaves and share with her another moment of one of our common favorite activities: eating. Would you believe that in our 12 years of friendship, it was the first time I met her mom? It’s because she works outside the country, and especially went home to drive Joan to the airport.

Joan, if you’re reading this right now (hustling inside the hospital) hanging out in a London café, sipping on your tea, don’t forget what I told you about living the dream and living your life as well. It’s easy to get blinded by the promise of a good future, and oftentimes as easy to ignore the fact that life is short and we should sometimes take it slow: taking time to savor each coffee drip, each sip of tea, each drop of soup, each bite of steak, each page of a new book, each new street you stumble upon in a foreign country, each stranger you come across. I’m always here, ready to hear your bitchy stories and writings about London.

Soi - Eat Thai, Love Thai
G/F Robinson's Place Manila, Adriatico Wing, Adriatico St., Ermita, Manila
(02) 523-1189
Facebook: Soi Thai
Budget: PhP200-PhP300/head

Where is your favorite Thai restaurant?

pepe samson

About Pepe Samson

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  1. Joan Katrina CruzMay 8, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Yeah, I'll miss you too. I won't let the three year contract pass me by I swear... I'll make London say my name. Lol.


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