On Friday for dinner my wife and I headed over to Talay Thai (511 Bank Street, Ottawa). In the previous couple of weeks, I had walked by this restaurant a couple of times on my way to Starbucks and Tim Hortons for coffee. I took a look on Talay Thai's Urbanspoon listing to see if it was a restaurant worth visiting. With over 322 votes and 90+ percent rating, I figured it was a safe bet.
Things looked promising after arriving at 5:15 P.M. to find a bright, warm, modern and clean looking restaurant. We were welcomed by a smiling Thai waitress wearing traditional Asian garbe.
We were given a choice of sitting in the front sunny window overlooking Bank Street or further in if we didn't want a tan from the sun. We chose the latter as the restaurant itself was pretty nice looking with bright orange walls and a modern looking bar with intricate tile.
We reviewed the menus and the daily specials to decide on what we would like to eat. One daily special of Chicken with cashew nuts and pineapple. Seemed interesting until we inquired with the waitress if it came with rice. No, it doesn't you would have to add it separately we were told. Really? Since when does an Asian restaurant not provide rice with a dish that normally comes with rice?
I had half thought about getting one of Chicken Curry from menu but decided against it realizing none of these dishes included the word "rice" in the description. Better order something else...
The Order: 1 Pad Kee Maow (Spicy noodles chicken with egg, chili & thai herbs) and 1 Pad Thai (Stir fried noodles with shrimp, egg, bean sprouts & peanuts).
The food came within 10 minutes of ordering.
Sure both plates looked attractive optically, but quantity wise I did a double take. Both meals were on flat plates the size a normal restaurant would serve salad on instead of a dinner plate with a bit of a curved bottom to it.
My dish, the Pad Kee Maow, was listed as "spicy" on the menu. It lived up to it with a bit of a spicy kick as you worked your way through it. A little bit of water though was easy enough to ensure the spiciness doesn't become too overwhelming. Mixed into the noodles were one piece of broccoli and two pea pods, so much for quantity. Sure there was plenty of spicy sauce and noodles to taste, but quantity wise it seemed lacking as I cleaned off the salad sized plate in no time. Not worth the $12.95 plus taxes.
The Pad Thai was also lacking in the quantity department as it was served on the same style flat salad plates. There were three pieces of shrimp and a few vegetables mixed in as well for good measure. Sure the shrimp tasted excellent but again, the plate was lacking especially at $12.50 plus taxes.
Service at Talay Thai is outstanding. I lost count how many times our water glasses were refilled. As well, the time between ordering and receiving food was an impressive less than 10 minutes. All service was done with a bright smile and easy going manner.
Overall, Talay Thai may have the nice modern interior with excellent prompt service. Quantity of food for price paid though is a problem. For the same amount of money, the same service and decent atmosphere can be found at Thai Garden in Downtown Ottawa. There is potential for a good Thai meal if they dish the salad plates and serve real quantity of food that is both tasty and filling.
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