Khao Siam 45 is an authentic Thai restaurant which has recently relocated from Business Bay to Al Barsha. Owner is Thai, chef is Thai, even restaurant manager is Thai – this is as Thai as they come. Yet somehow they have managed to balance the raw heat, pungency and aromatics associated with authentic Thai cuisine to suit a broader palate – that’s a polite way of saying that they’ve toned it all down so we, Joe Public, can eat their food without going “Eww, that stinks of fish sauce” or “Oof, oof, oof that’s so spicy”. And they’ve done this without sacrificing taste too much.
I remember picking out a dried shrimp from their green papaya salad (Som Tam) when I first visited the original restaurant in Business Bay and thinking to myself, hold on, there’s something special about this place – not everyone is daring enough to use dried shrimp in their food. My sister’s oohing and aahing over the Tom Yam Goong did include some, “oh my God, it’s so spicy I think I’m going to die” but her chilli threshold is exceptionally low. So, did I get to finish her spicy soup? No! She hardly let me have two sips for this review. Both of us enjoyed the Green Curry with Chicken (Gaeng Kiaw Wan Gai) so much we finished every last bit.
Fast forward to present day and I ordered a home delivery from them the other night. Note, although listed, they don’t deliver through Zomato…or Deliveroo or even Talabat. These guys use ChatFood, an increasingly popular app which helps restaurants receive commission-free orders from Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and web. To place an order, click order.chatfood.io/w/khao-siam-45. Not only does the app work perfectly but it also leaves you feeling like you’ve helped a business in these troubled times.
The Tom Yam was just as good as I remembered from my previous two sips but, even though I ordered medium heat for my buddy, Pasha, it still had quite a kick. You might want to order it mild if you’re not into chilli S&M (as I am). I also ordered a Glass Noodle Salad with Seafood (Yum Woon Sen), Red Curry with Beef (Gaeng Phed), Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai) and a Street Pad Thai. With the exception of the glass noodles, which had soaked up all the juices and was relatively dry, everything else was surprisingly good for a home delivery.
No review of Khao Siam 45 can be complete without mentioning service because it too is authentic Thai – warm, friendly, hospitable and infinitely accommodating. When my sister and I visited we were looked after by a chirpy young Filipina firecracker by the name of Clarissa who buzzed about our table like a busy bee. She made us instantly comfortable and at home. And just when we thought things couldn’t get better, Chef Klom came out to see how we liked the food. He chatted with us for a couple of minutes and sent us some Khao Niew Ma Muang (Sweet Rice with Mango) after returning to the kitchen. How cool is that?
Although there are a lot of Thai restaurants in Dubai, really good ones can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Before being introduced to Thai Beef Salad restaurant in International City (thanks @nicky_rr) my favourite casual dining Thai was Smiling BKK (sadly now gone). What I like/ed about both was that they offer/ed authenticity which includes/ed the smell and the burn – essential elements of Thai umami. Khao Siam 45, whilst not as hard core as these other two, has plenty of umami and is most definitely a Thai restaurant I recommended – especially when you bring service and hospitality into the equation.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.