Rak Thai (CLOSED)
Tel Aviv’s newest Thai restaurant, and a hit on Secret Tel Aviv!
Check out our special guest review from Michael Freedman and his guest for the night Miyuki …
Rak Thai is likely to be a sure-fire success – it is in a great location, the staff are friendly and competent, the pricing is reasonable for freshly cooked downtown food, and the menu is fairly diverse.
A glance at Rak Thai’s exotic drinks menu suggests a vibrant place to let one’s guard down, and its location in the trendy new Shuk Rothschild Allenby, something of a “mini-Sarona”, definitely make it a place to see and be seen with an appropriately elegant drinking partner. Mine, Miyuki, arrives soon after, and she doesn’t disappoint.
We position ourselves at the bar seats by the window into the kitchen, as we both want to see the action. Drinks and conversation begin to flow, urged on by the leaping flames under a well-manipulated wok.
Here’s my course-by-course review:
We took: Nam Tok Nua (thin-cut beef marinated in fish sauce, lime, mint, herbs, chilli and onion) and Plamuk Tod Katiem Prik Thai (fried calamari)
Nam Tok Nua: Without hesitation I can say that this dish is the highlight. The beef is perfectly textured, soft but not squidgy, one or two flavour-releasing chews and then juicy and tender. Each of the ingredients in the marinade can be tasted distinctly. Another generous portion too. This dish is marked as “three chillies” for very hot on the menu, but I would put it at pleasantly piquant. The lime and mint, and general coolness of the dish, offset the spice perfectly.
Plamuk Tod Katiem Prik Thai: They arrive perfectly cooked – not rubbery, well-seasoned, a generous portion – served with a home-made Thai sweet chilli sauce.
It is worth noting that everything arrives in paper boxes instead of plates, that open up in a rather suggestive manner, which delights Miyuki.
We took: Gang Kiwan Gai (spinach noodles with chicken breast, green curry, basil, bamboo shoots, bak choi, oyster sauce, coconut milk and fish sauce) and Khao Pad Thai (fried rice with chicken breast, pineapple, baby tomatoes, egg, onion and oyster sauce)
Gang Kiwan Gai: As this dish arrives, we are both distracted by the rich, condensed coconut vapour drifting out of the basket. The gang kiwan gai is a fairly classic green curry, well-executed, a good balance of flavours, tangy but not terribly spicy, and the spinach noodles are particularly excellent. Being rather less starchy (and therefore less rubbery when cooked) than the typical variety, the rich sauce seems to adhere to them, such that they are no longer the carb-intensive filler of the dish but its genuine core.
Khao Pad Thai: There are some great features – the chicken is succulent, and the ribbons of wafer-thin egg are exquisite, cooked with care like a hybrid pancake/omelette by the owner’s father, using a blowtorch to get the slightest crispiness to one side of it. But we want the rice to be sticky, and we want a kick to it. I am missing a twist of galangal or ginger, which would go well with the pineapple, and a tiny dash of Thai chilli vinegar to add a sweet and sour zing.
We took: Rak Thai Grog, Thai Bazil Smash, and the Painkiller.
I take the recommended Rak Thai Grog, which is presented in a sort of jade version of the Jules Rimet trophy (Soccer World Cup Trophy in case you didn’t know), complete with a burning sugar cube floating on a slice of lime, drifting on a lake of divine spiced rum, pineapple, home-made passionfruit syrup and orange. An excellent aperitif – sharp, refreshing and not as sickly as one might expect.
Miyuki orders the gin-based Thai Bazil Smash – it arrives simple and clean, with a gentle Chartreuse hue from the muddled herbs. She likes it!
We finished off with the superb Painkiller, a frothy blend of home-made coconut cream, pineapple and orange juice, and aged dark rum, served in an artificial coconut shell. We both swoon over this and she steals half my drink. It’s quite sublime.
Overall, definitely a fun, sophisticated and delicious place to start or finish a night. As for Miyuki, the same goes.”
Written by Guest Writer Michael Freedman. To become a guest writer at Secret Tel Aviv complete this form.
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