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Hamilton Spectator

John Kernaghan

The Hamilton Spectator (Aug 17, 2007)

A word to the wise -- don't play the I Spy game at Thai Memory, the new restaurant on King William Street.

This place is a kaleidoscope of colour, with faux flowers, banners, lanterns, a bubbling waterfall and a fountain. And if you include a television screen showing a slide show of seductive Thai landscapes, it's a kind of sensory overload.

But it's undeniably fun.

And the food I sampled on two visits was worthy and the prices agreeable. On the first visit, I ordered the shrimp cakes ($7.25) and Thai grilled chicken ($9.95) as the images of beaches and monuments scrolled by on the TV, the waterfall tinkled and an eclectic choice of music played in the background.

The four shrimp cakes were deep-fried expertly, the light and nongreasy breading containing hot and soft minced shrimp. And that played nicely against two side dishes, a sweet Thai sauce and pickled cucumber, red pepper and cauliflower.

The starter could easily have been shared by two people with moderate appetites, ditto the grilled chicken platter that followed. The six big chunks of fowl were beautifully done, lightly charred and very moist with a bit of julienned carrot and cabbage in one corner and tubs of sweet and moderately hot sauce. Meanwhile, a wicker container with plastic-wrapped sticky rice sat at hand and the rotation of juicy chicken, sweet and hot sauces relieved by the plain rice and big ovals of cool cucumber was a nice cycle.

On a second visit, I sat at an unusual table, the heavily varnished top supported by thick tree roots. That flavourful chicken called me back and I was again rewarded with moist morsels on four satay sticks.

A medium-hot Thai peanut sauce was lavished over the fowl and there was a small bowl of sweet marinated veg and more julienne of carrot.

But the chicken lost its lustre in the gai pad khing dish ($8.95), stir-fry chicken with ginger, peppers and onions.

The bits of meat in the stir-fry were good, just not up to the grilled standard. And it came with more steamed sticky rice.

The house pad Thai ($9.95) came in a novel presentation, wrapped in a thin omelette. It also had bits of chicken and egg, bean sprout as well as salted Chinese radish and chilies.

It was good, but didn't rise to the top of noodle dishes tried over the years.

Toon and Pat Satasuk have created an interesting little oasis on the developing dining row along King William Street.

Toon directs the kitchen while Pat is a very attentive host and server.

jkernaghan@thespec.com 905-526-3422

 

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