Wow factors: Absolute Thai has got everything right for it, great ambiance, good location, amazing food, well trained staff. If you like Thai food, look no further, for this is one of the best in Chennai.
Possible wow factors: There is really nothing I could find that they need to improve upon, possibly few dishes may not be suitable for typical Indian palate.
My rating: 4/5
Location (4/5): Absolute Thai is located opposite to Dhaba Express in Cenotaph Road and just where the flyover ends. Refer Google Map for accurate location.
Ambiance (4/5): The restaurant opens with a small lobby and decent dining space inside. It is wood work mostly with Thai characters carved on the wooden enclosures abutting the wall. Lighting is mostly dim, but luckily we got a seat just by the window, so natural light was plenty.
Parking (4/5): There is plenty of parking space available outside.
Cuisine (4.5/5): Quintessential Thai food with names in the menu card transliterated from Thai to English and also has description of each dish in English. There is another menu card with their top picks from the menu with pictures to let the patrons decide.
Pricing (3.5/5): Though I did not pay for the meal, had a look at the menu card for pricing. Definitely one would be led to believe that the price is on higher side. But given the authentic taste and quantity, I would think that the price is justified. A meal for two should make your wallet lighter by Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,000 at least.
Service (4/5): Service was very good. They patiently answered our questions, helping us to decide on the dishes, cleared the plates promptly, served a welcome drink, and a palate cleanser in between. Definitely pampered with good food.
Will I go back here? Yes!
The worst thing that can happen is arriving early at a restaurant and waiting for friends who are perennially known to be late comers even as the pleasant aroma was wafting through the air and caressing my nostrils. Thankfully, the server understood my plight and brought in a lime juice in a shot glass. I was slurping on that while one after the friends walked in.
Tom Kha Soup (Veg): This coconut milk based soup is one of the best I have ever had in my life. The coconut taste hits first, and then as you swallow it the spice hits. It is filled with good amount of vegetables making it flavourful and rich in taste. Even if you are an ardent non-veggie, do not miss this soup.
Tom Yum Talay (Non-veg): A seafood soup that typically serves 4, but we requested them to serve for only 2 and they obliged. Not sure about how it tasted, but I definitely know that it lost to veg soup.
Tohu Bai Toey: After debating between this and Tohu Phad Bai Krapao (stir fried tofu) and overriding the recommendation from the server to have stir fry, I still went for the tofu wrapped in pandan leaves. Only to regret my decision. He mentioned that tofu would be wrapped inside pandan leaves and deep fried. But there was no indication that it was fried at all. Without any spice, it tasted quite bland. Tofu as such requires good treatment to infuse flavours, so without any it tasted quite bad. Definitely will try the stir fry next time.
Khoa Podtod Namprikpow: This was highly recommended by another friend, and we did not want to miss it. This essentially has spicy baby corns served in rice tartlets and the combination was absolutely spectacular.
Khao Phat Bai Krapao: Thai basil flavoured spicy fried rice. I generally do not prefer fried rice in the usual “Chinese” restaurants as they are overloaded with salt and MSG. But I felt it could taste different here. True to the name, not only was this spicy but very tasty as well. Absolutely loved it.
Kaeng Kiew Wan: Veg Thai green curry. One of the best green curries I have ever had. It had thick base, and loaded with plenty of vegetables making it perfect foil for the white rice. In fact, it was so good, I just had spoonful of it to devour the taste.
Khao Nung: Plain rice, loved this too. Perfectly cooked and tasted divine with Thai green curry.
We were served a lemon grass tea which served as a palate cleanser before shifting to desserts. It tasted awesome and they refilled it too. I loved the aroma of this simple drink.
Guray Tod: Deep fried banana fritters served with ice cream. Probably one of the few dishes that was quite underwhelming. Probably after the riot of flavours in main course, this paled in comparison. Nevertheless, one of the better tasting desserts from their rather small collection.
The bill came to Rs 5,242 including taxes and service charge (10%) for 6 of us, which is not exactly cheap. However, given the quantity and quality of dishes, the exquisite taste, I would not mind paying that kind of price again. Overall, an absolutely fantastic dining experience at Absolute Thai and cannot to wait to go again already.