I was always a big fan of Café Siam on Lyndhurst Terrace and was very sad when it closed. Fear not, however, all lovers of Thai food, as it has recently reopened in Lan Kwai Fong and is now even bigger and better than before.
I don’t remember any particularly distinguishing features of the old Café Siam’s décor. The new one, however is beautiful, with teak wood flooring, chic furniture and gorgeous silk screen dividers, giving it an air of colonial style that is elegant yet homely. The restaurant is spread over two floors, each divided into two dining areas, which can be booked out for private events.
The vast menu remains much the same as the old location, bar a couple of changes and additions here and there. Dishes are beautifully presented and authentically Thai. The only thing I didn’t like was that all our dishes (true to my usual style there were a lot of them!) came out at the same time, meaning not only did they get cold too quickly, but there was no room for them on the table.
We began with a serving of tom yum goong. I’m not always a fan of this soup, as the contrast of sour and spicy doesn’t always work for me. This one, however, was more spicy than sour, laden with chunks of ginger and chilli and wonderfully succulent prawns, meaning I almost drank the soup from the bowl.
The unusually shaped prawn cakes were absolutely delicious, offering a satisfyingly crunchy exterior and firm yet tender interior that was packed full of flavour.
One of the dishes I remember fondly from the old menu is the banana blossom and shredded chicken salad with spicy peanut coconut dressing. Needless to say the moment I saw it on the new menu, I demanded we must have it. This tasty dish is fresh and light with a lovely combination of textures that makes it impossible to resist. As it’s not available in many other Thai restaurants around town, it’s necessary to take advantage and have second and third helpings!
Gasps of ‘how-are-we-possibly-going-to-eat-all-that?’ were emitted as a grilled whole baby chicken was set before us. There was nothing ‘baby’ about this chicken; it was a feast in itself and far too much even for four people! However, topped in crispy garlic and shallots and grilled to complete perfection, it was deliciously flavoured and wonderfully tender.
The roasted duck in red curry was the star of the show, even if personally I would have liked it a little spicier. With soft chunks of pineapple and crunchy grapes, alongside the obligatory Thai aubergines, it was delightfully sweet and rich; I can completely understand why the menu says it is ‘a favourite of the Royal Court.’
Last of the savouries came a beautiful pad thai, wrapped in a slightly sweet omelette that added something special to this traditional dish. Again my only complaint is that it wasn’t nearly spicy enough.
To finish, despite almost bursting at the seams, we shared one portion of mango sticky rice between us. Unlike the traditional dish, this version consisted of both white and black sticky rice, which was not only aesthetically pleasing but also higher in nutritional value, meaning of course that we didn’t feel as guilty about a second serving, despite the lashings of coconut cream.
Service was efficient, complete with genuine Thai smiles. Our total bill including soft drinks (try the lychee coconut, a blend of young coconut water, lychee juice, coconut milk and ice, served in a coconut) amounted to around $210 per head, which certainly isn’t bad for good quality Thai food in Lan Kwai Fong. I am very happy to welcome Café Siam back into my life and hope it is ready to accept me into its life. With frequency.
2-3/F, 21 D’Aguilar Street
Lan Kwai Fong
Tel: +852 2851 4803