Raja: Authentic Thai Cuisine at Armada Hotel Manila

Earlier this month, I was invited by the Big Dish team to check out Raja Thai Cuisine at Armada Hotel. If you've been a reader for a while now, you probably have an idea how much I'm into Thai fare. So of course, without any hesitation, I jumped on in and said yes.
Raja Thai Cuisine at Armada Hotel Manila

Located on the top-most floor, the 14th floor, is Raja Thai Cuisine, the in-house Thai restaurant of Armada Hotel Manila. The hotel used to be Centara Hotel, a Thai hotel chain, and its current management company is also headquartered in Thailand, so I guess it is just but natural that Armada has a Thai restaurant apart from its international restaurant, Caliber Café. And if you're concerned about authenticity, then fret not. Raja's kitchen is helmed by Thai Chef Pranath Samranruen. Yup, a legit Thai chef!

The Food

Although the chef has already hand-picked the dishes he wanted us to try that night, I still took the pleasure to check out Raja Thai Cuisine's menu. They offer quite a good array of Thai dishes, from appetizers, soups, salads, meats, vegetables, curries, noodles and rice, to desserts. Prices are pretty reasonable too, almost on the same level of most middle to higher tier Thai restaurants in the metro.

Kai Satay Chicken Satay (P310)
Kai Satay - Chicken Satay (P310)
Actual serving is bigger. Ours was personal-sized.
To start our Thai dinner, we had the Kai Satay or chicken satay -- charcoal-grilled chicken skewers marinated in Thai herbs and served with cucumber and peanut sauce. Although I generally love chicken, I haven't found myself too fond of chicken satay. However, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with Raja's. The chicken pieces were tender and succulent, and I just loved pairing them with some of the tangy cucumber sauce, and the earthy peanut sauce. This is definitely a good Thai meal starter.

Tom Kha Kai Chicken Coconut Milk Soup (P295)
✓ Tom Kha Kai - Chicken Coconut Milk Soup (P295)
Next on the table was the Tom Kha Kai -- chicken in coconut milk soup with mushrooms, galangal, lemon juice, red chili and kaffir lime leaves. I love Thai soups, and this bowl didn't fail to satisfy. Every spoonful had just the right amount of flavor -- a little savory, slightly creamy, subtly tangy and herbaceous with some kick. I also dig how the broth isn't too thick, nor is diluted. Great tasting with the perfect consistency. Yum!

Som Tum Green Papaya Salad (P175)
✓ Som Tum - Green Papaya Salad (P175)
To further whet our palates, we had the Som Tum -- shredded young papaya salad with tomatoes, crushed peanuts, garlic, fish sauce, lemon juice and fresh chillies. Now, I'm very partial to Thai salads, and this was no exception. I loved how tangy and sharp every mouthful was. It was also equally spicy, which I oh-so-enjoyed (while my companions didn't). I liked this salad the way it is, but I guess it would help if the chillies are served on the side instead. So, you know, even the non-spicy food lovers can also enjoy it.

Phad Thai Koong Phad Thai Noodles with Medium Prawns (P450)
Phad Thai Koong - Phad Thai Noodles with Medium Prawns (P450)
Actual serving is bigger. Ours was personal-sized.
No visit to a Thai restaurant would be complete without Phad Thai, and Raja's version has actually exceeded my expectations. The prawns, bean sprouts, onions, bean curd, garlic, egg, spring onions, tamarind paste and lemon juice, all married beautifully with the stir-fried rice noodles. Of course, adding the condiments -- chili powder, roasted peanut and sugar, even makes the already-flavorful dish more tasty. I guess my only qualm was the texture of the rice noodles as they can still be made more springy.

Kluay Thod Thai Banana Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream (P260)
Kluay Thod - Thai Banana Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream (P260)
To end our Thai dinner on a sweet note, we had the Kluay Thod -- banana fritters fried in a batter of rice and sticky rice flours, with sesame seeds mixed with coconut milk, and served with vanilla ice cream. Upon seeing the dish, I initially thought it'd be something like our local banana turon. However, I preferred this a whole lot. The fritter itself was far from being oily, and was also a little bit creamy. I just wish they'd have something like durian, jackfruit or coconut ice cream to pair it with instead of vanilla. That'd be perfect!

Big Dish Foodie Card

So I've mentioned Big Dish on the start of this post... But what exactly is Big Dish?

Big Dish Foodie Card

Big Dish is a foodie card that anyone can get for free. Yup, FOR FREE! Your Big Dish Foodie Card is your passport to discounts and freebies from its numerous partner restaurants. If you want to know more about it, I suggest you head on to www.bigdishfoodie.com. You can also check where the Big Dish team will be heading to next, so you can get your very own Big Dish Foodie Card. Or, if you're not too keen on getting a physical card, register for the Big Dish Foodie E-Card instead!

Raja Discount with Big Dish Foodie Card
Get 10% off at Raja Thai Cuisine when you present your Big Dish Foodie Card.
Aside from the discounts and freebies, the Big Dish website also houses information like address, map, contact numbers, operating hours, website or social media accounts, budget, menu, and even payment modes, wi-fi availability, etc. of its partner restaurants. Now, isn't this very handy when planning your next eat out?

THE VERDICT

Raja Thai Cuisine may still be off the radar for many Thai food enthusiasts. But after visiting this gem of a resto, I can confidently say that Raja is worth checking out and returning to. While I haven't been to Thailand yet to vouch for the food's authenticity, I can definitely say that quality is at par with good Thai restaurants I've been to in the metro. If there are any significant difference though, one would probably be how they present their dishes. Simple and straight-forward. And the second? Well, let's just say Thai Chef Pranath Samranruen of Raja sure knows how to spice up his Thai creations.

Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Raja Thai Cuisine, Armada Hotel Manila
14/F Armada Hotel Manila, 2108 M. H Del Pilar,
Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 559-9890; 526-0888
Official Website
Facebook Page

4 comments:

  1. the ambience looks expensive and i would love to try the Kluay Thod

    ReplyDelete
  2. food here is really authentic since they were formally a thai chain and their chef is thai

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't tried Thai dish yet but hmmm looks good would love to try it soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Thai food!

    Please check out my blog: memargarita.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete


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