I love little finds. A friend mentions something in passing and you don’t really make anything of it. A year ago, I joined my friend for lunch in his building. I was busy and didn’t really pay attention and the food seemed like a typical Asian bistro here (using Asian and bistro as accurately as most of those places use it).
Well, my feelings changed this week. A friend of mine is on a Pad Thai kick, and it got me in the mood for some authentic Thai food. I found a couple of places in Brno and gave them a try. Boy am I glad I did. On my second try, I hit a home run.
Pad Thai restaurant is nestled away in a bizarre apartment building/commercial building near Semilasso. The place exudes a modern tone. Simple appointments with the requisite ethnic kitsch to remind you that you are not in a Czech restaurant. The place has a bright and relaxed feel (large windows, no dim lighting).
When I opened the menu, I started to feel something different. This was no typical Asian bistro. They didn’t have pages of random recipes that have vaguely Asian roots. The menu was small, simple and on point. The bulk of the menu consisted of traditional Thai soups, Pad Thais and Thai stir-fries. I started to raise my hopes that I won’t be getting a noodle plate loaded with soy sauce and msg.
We started with the spring rolls and skewers. The rolls were generic to be sure (you can get them anywhere), but they were crisp and flavorful. The skewers, on the other hand, were divine. The chicken and shrimp were perfectly cooked and the little bowl of peanut sauce blew us away. Hands down the best dipping sauce I’ve had in Brno. I wanted a gallon of it to go.
Motoring along, they nailed the Thai Soup. I was craving shrimp, so we went with the Tom Yom Kung. It was delicious. It was appropriately hot (no kowtowing to sensitive Czech taste buds) with the perfect balance of coconut milk.
Finally we reached the main event. No visit to a Pad Thai restaurant would be complete without a Pad Thai. I ordered that, while my friend tried the Phat Chimuong. Let’s get that one out of the way. To be honest, I’d never had it before and had no baseline to judge.
That said, it was very disappointing. After the spicy soup (rated one chilli on their menu), I expected some real heat on this two-chilli dish. Not only was the fire missing, it seemed they forgot all the spices. The dish was thoroughly bland.
But that was the only disappointment of the night. The Pad Thai did its restaurant name proud. It had that signature fish sauce pungency, perfect noodles, flavorful tofu and shrimp and the crunch of sprouts, and peanuts. Everything you can ask for in a Pad Thai.
I thoroughly enjoyed our meal there. The ambiance was spot on, the service was fine and the food had that rare taste of authenticity. The meal is affordable and satisfies. It has been added to my regular rotation of places for casual dinners.