Less than a month after “Hong Kong’s number one celebrity chef” Harlan Goldstein resurfaced with the opening of Ee Da Le, he has now opened another new venture, My Tai Tai; as I said before, for a larger than life character like Harlan, one new restaurant is nowhere near enough!
As the name suggests, My Tai Tai serves Thai food, prepared by a team of native Thai chefs, led by Executive Chef Amphon Phoomphookieo (aka Chef Phoon), who has worked alongside Harlan for 10 years. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Harlan, you will be surprised to hear that, although this guy loves to add his own quirky touch to his menus, he has pretty much left Chef Phoon to it here. I do appreciate Harlan’s quirky ideas, but authentic Thai cuisine doesn’t really need to be messed with!
The restaurant takes over the second floor of the same building as Ee Da Le on Lyndhurst Terrace and has been beautifully decorated with feminine colours alongside traditional and modern patterns that transport you to Thailand.
Whilst many Thai restaurants in Hong Kong feel the need to adapt the flavours to suit palates that can’t handle too much chilli, My Tai Tai has kept things authentic – something I truly appreciated. The Thai green papaya salad packed a decent punch and the flavours and textures were spot on.
I was impressed by the barbecue chicken satay with peanut miso sauce. This simple and traditional Thai dish is one that so many restaurants get wrong, by serving oily, yet dry chicken that needs to be smothered in peanut sauce in order to taste of anything. These ones, however, were beautifully juicy and tender, and carried a lovely charred flavour on their own, that was simply highlighted by the sauce. Each skewer was a generous size too!
I’m usually not too fussed about tom yum soup, but My Tai Tai’s was excellent. Again, Chef Phoon didn’t skimp on the chilli and the soup was packed full of flavour. The giant river prawn was also perfectly tender and delicious. This is easily the best tom yum I’ve had this side of Thailand.
I wouldn’t have chosen the red curry seafood soufflé myself, but it was better than I had expected. The texture was a little strange, like a springy mousse, yet dotted with chunks of fresh seafood. Once I got my head around that, however, I enjoyed the red curry flavour.
The slow-cooked Australian lamb massaman curry was unfortunately a little disappointing. The meat, which tasted more of beef than lamb, was chewy and fatty, whilst the chunks of sweet potato – a nice alternative to the traditional version – weren’t quite cooked through. The curry itself, however, was rich and comforting, as it should be.
I think you can judge a Thai restaurant by its Phad Thai, and My Tai Tai’s version was very good. The prawns weren’t as good as the ones in the tom yum, but the balance of sweet, sour and spicy was perfect.
Mango sticky rice is always a crowd pleaser. This one comes topped with crunchy sesame clusters, that added a nice touch.
We also tried the pumpkin pudding, which looked a little scary at first sight. The pudding itself was actually really lovely, but I found that the pumpkin beneath tasted strangely bitter.
All in all, I was very impressed by My Tai Tai and can definitely see a return visit in store. It’s not as cheap as your average Thai restaurant, but portion sizes are very generous, ingredients are very high quality and it’s run by Hong Kong’s “number one celebrity chef”! If you don’t go for the food, at least go to check out Harlan’s shiny silver trainers!
My Tai Tai
2/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace
Tel: +852 2896 6018