T he space now occupied by Baan Thai Cuisine is a minimally converted bel-étage apartment or, to be more precise, a large nondescript room with a parquet floor left over from the previous inhabitant. Ban Thai Cuisine cannot boast of an impressive atmosphere or a good location or original dishes. And still, this out-of-the-way Thai restaurant on Tabukashvili Street has for years now been a favorite of American and British expats. (Georgian customers are a rarity here.) The secret of its success appears to be moderate dishes at moderate prices and, more importantly, consistent (if not exceptional) quality. Another attraction is the courteous Thai hostess, who always opens the door with traditional oriental hospitality and a welcoming smile.
The best Thai cuisine requires a good balance of piquant seasonings, aromatic citrus and vegetables, with contrasting ingredients fusing into an unexpected and, yet, simple harmony. Thais attribute no less importance to the presentation of dishes, which are often adorned with masterly carved vegetables. In short, a successful Thai dish must be as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.
The first course of a traditional Thai meal is typically light soup. In this regard, Baan Thai Cuisine offers a wide variety. A good start for dinner or supper is Tom Yam Soup (GEL 12.5). This aromatic soup is served with either seafood or chicken and is well-satisfying. Also recommended are Mixed Appetizers (GEL 15), prawn and pork pie and chicken Satay (a dish of marinated, skewered meat). If fried food is not to your taste, then a healthier alternative would be Prawns Rolled in Rice Paper and served with fresh vegetables (GEL 12). Roast Beef Salad (GEL 15) with a piquant sauce is a pleasant dish too.
For the main course, Perch Fillet (GEL 25) was the best dish among those sampled. Dishes prepared with noodles and rice are recommended as well, including the popular Thai dish, Pad Thai, which proved very tasty. One can choose from a selection of dishes of yellow and red curry, fish or other seafood, or any combination of beef, poultry or vegetables. Upon request, dishes will be prepared moderately spicy.
Less interesting menu selections were stewed rice with prawns and meat, as well as a mix of vegetables in green curry sauce.
Do not be discouraged by the dark and somewhat grim atmosphere of Baan Thai Cuisine. It is not at all a bad choice for a Thai dinner or supper.
35, Tabukashvili Street
Tbilisi 0108 (behind Opera and Ballet Theatre)
Tel: 2 997 802
Hours: Daily, from 11:00 to 23:00
Bank cards: Visa, MasterCard
Price: GEL 80 (Dinner for two including wine and gratuity)
Parking: Tabukashvili Street