Located in Scout Dr. Lazcano, Thaipan Restaurant is just a few steps away from Tomas Morato in Quezon City. And typical to restaurants in the area, Thaipan also sits in an old house turned restaurant. While I'm more used to dining in a more commercial setting, I just adore the clean yet homey, eclectic charm of restaurants like Thaipan.
There's an outdoor dining area that I would've loved to be seated in, if only it weren't that hot and humid at day time. However, I think this would be perfect for dinner. It would be great for romantic dates, or even hanging out with friends and colleagues.
The indoor dining area, on the other hand, houses no more than ten tables. But to be honest, the place looks more spacious than it actually is thanks to all the mirrors around the room. Thaipan Restaurant also has private rooms good for meetings, reunions and even parties.
|See the nice wallpaper? Trivia: That's actually directly hand-painted on the wall!|
We were fortunate to have a short chat with one of Thaipan's owners. And it was really nice to learn that Thaipan serves not recreations of Thai food, but actual authentic Thai cuisine. And while I believe we have a good number of authentic Thai restaurants in Metro Manila, it's nice to know there's a place we can get it even in Quezon City. 'Cause hey, if you ask me to name authentic Thai restos, I bet most of them are in either Makati, Taguig, Alabang or Parañaque.
The Meal Starters
We first had a serving of homemade spiced legumes while we wait for the other dishes. And while I didn't have a photo, the legumes were really good!
Anyhow, to start off our meal, we had this serving of traditional Thai appetizer -- shallots, garlic, ginger, peanuts, shrimp and roasted grated coconut on betel leaves, served with sweet palm sugar sauce and chili. I've had this before at Silk Road, and Thaipan's version is as good with its interesting combination of flavors. Savory, spicy and zesty with hints of sweetness and minty-bitterness. This is definitely something anyone new to Thai cuisine should try!
|✓ Mieng Kham (P175)|
One thing that always satisfies me when dining Thai is the cuisine's tasty salad offerings. And I can definitely say the same with Thaipan's green papaya salad. Unlike the usual green mango or pomelo salad, green papaya isn't sour or overly flavored on its own so it beautifully absorbs the sweet and spicy tamarind-lime-fish dressing it's drenched with. It also has crispy pork flakes for added savor and texture. Definitely a salad I can eat all day!
|✓ Som Tam Malakaw - Green Papaya Salad (P250)|
For soup, how can we miss the beloved Thai classic? This hot and sour soup with prawns, straw mushrooms, lemon grass, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, chili peppers, coconut milk and other fragrant herbs is very comforting with every spoonful. Guests can ask the staff for their preferred level of spiciness, although those who love really spicy foods, should go for the max. From what I've read on TripAdvisor, even the spiciest still isn't enough for UK palates.
|✓ Tom Yum Kung (P190 Single; P380 Sharing)|
The Main Entrées
For our mains, we had this plate of deep-fried fish fillet pieces drizzled with tamarind chili sauce and topped with fried basil leaves. This is a really nice dish, especially for kids or even those trying Thai cuisine for the first time as it's not too alienating. The coating is fried to a crisp, while the fish is cooked to a nice, moist doneness. The fried basil is also addicting, adding not just texture but also a distinct herb flavor with every bite.
|Pla Lad Prik Sam Ros - Fish Tamarind (P320)|
There's a choice between green or yellow for the Thai chicken curry at Thaipan. We had it green as it's the more distinctly Thai between the two. It's made with a blend of fresh green chilies and herbs that give it its color, along with lemongrass, coriander root, and kaffir leaves that give it a lighter, more refreshing taste compared to Indian curry. The chicken and eggplant pieces in this dish, on the other hand, might just seem like sidekicks, but definitely help the overall flavor of the curry stand out. Personally, I wish the curry was spicier, although like with other dishes at Thaipan, one can ask for his/her preferred spiciness level.
|Green Chicken Curry (P328)|
We also had this Thai-style pork ribs which are first marinated in cinnamon and lemon, and then barbecued to a beautiful smokey and glossy goodness. Unlike Western pork ribs, these babies are more on the sweet side with an earthy and aromatic note. Every bite also gives off not only an explosion of sweet, comforting flavors, but also of tender succulence that will surely make carb-lovers mindlessly grab for more rice to go with the pork. I know, I did!
|✓ See Khrong Moo Yaang - Cinnamon Pork Ribs (P375)|
The Noodle and Rice
If you'll have to order only a few dishes at Thaipan, another item you must include in your list is this traditional Thai noodle dish made with springy rice noodles, tamarind, lemon juice, fish sauce, eggs, beansprouts, shrimps and peanuts, then encased in a beautiful egg net. The textures are addicting enough, but the harmony of sweet, savory, tangy and spicy (if you mixed in the chili) is simply heavenly! Writing about this now is already making me crave!
|✓ Pad Thai (P320)|
For people who can't live without rice, there's Thaipan's fried rice done Thai-style. Cooked with either chicken or pork, this fried rice also comes with a fried egg and a spicy fish sauce on the side. To be honest, I feel like this fried rice can already stand alone. Even without any viands, I'd be more than happy to enjoy this on its own. However, despite its savory flavor, every spoonful is not too overwhelming so it also pairs well with our mains.
|Khao Phad Kai/Moo - Thai-Style Fried Rice with Chicken/Pork (P285)|
The Dessert and Drinks
For dessert, we had my favorite takoh sakhoo or steamed cakes of tapioca pearls with coconut custard and red water chestnuts in pandan leaf cups. These treats never fail to make me ooh and ahh in delight! I just love how it's soft, creamy and not overly sweet. The red ruby on top is also a bonus! I always feel like I can finish a whole order by myself. But for this trip, I left the other four pieces (a serving comes with five) for my table-mates. Teehee! ｡^‿^｡
|✓ Takoh Sakhoo (P198)|
Although I would've loved to order my favorite Thai iced (milk) tea, I went with these two refreshing drinks instead, since it was pretty hot that day. And I couldn't be happier! Both the lemongrass and pandan juices were great thirst-quenchers! They were freshly brewed and not overly sweetened. But although I love both, I think the pandan juice is more perfect to pair with the meal, while the lemongrass juice is great for cleansing the palate.
|✓ Lemongrass Juice (P85) and ✓ Pandan Juice (P85)|
I've been missing my Thai fix for a while now, and this visit to Thaipan has definitely reminded me why I love this cuisine so much. A medley of colors and a combination of sweet, savory, tangy, spicy and more. And while I still haven't personally visited Thailand, for me, this is as close to authentic Thai cuisine as I can get (for now). Everything from the meal starters, to mains, to desserts were more than satisfactory. And with a really nice and refreshing, modern yet homey ambiance, a set of courteous, prompt and friendly staff, and reasonable price tags to boot, I honestly don't see any reasons why I would't come back! ✧(｡•̀ᴗ-)b
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Thaipan Restaurant, Quezon City
120 Scout Dr. Lazcano St. (near Tomas Morato)
Sacred Heart, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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