Tuesday, May 13, 2014

U & I Thai



I have been meaning to try U & I Thai for almost half a year but never had the chance, despite passing by the restaurant many times. In addition, according to my parents the restaurant can be a hit or miss and when the dishes taste good, they are not bad! So, finally visiting on a weeknight, the restaurant was empty and a server asked if we had reservations.

However, by the time we left, the tables were filling up quickly as seen in the photo. Considering the not so large restaurant, I would recommend reservations. As for the interior, it does not look cluttered and is clean as well as simple, with one chandelier and a buddha statute at the back of the restaurant.


TOM YUM GOONG. HOT AND SOUR SOUP WITH PRAWNS, LEMONGRASS, KAFFIR LIME, MUSHROOMS AND TOMATOES IN A SPICY CHILI BROTH ($13.95).
The tom yum goong is definitely one of the better ones I ever had. Every sip tastes tangy, rich and spicy, definitely properly made and a must order. As for the ingredients, the butterflied prawns are perfectly cooked with a nice bounce and the tomatoes as well as mushrooms taste fresh. We requested for a level five spiciness and the soup tastes a bit above medium spicy.

STUFFED CHICKEN WINGS. MARINATED CHICKEN STUFFED WITH VERMICELLLI AND THAI SPICES, SERVED WITH PLUM SAUCE ($9.95).
The both of us would have preferred whole chicken wings rather than sliced and as for the filling, it could have tasted more flavourful. The filling tastes bland and there is not much taste. Furthermore, there could have been a better choice of sauce than a simple plum. Usually with stuffed wings, a dipping sauce is provided to enhance the taste of the appetizer, and tastes good. But unfortunately overall, the chicken tastes dry and lacks a crisp skin. However, the wing tips do taste crunchy… but a bit too crunchy.

PRAWN WITH CASHEW NUTS, GOONG PAD MED MAMUANG. PRAWNS STIR-FRIED WITH CASHEW NUTS, BELL PEPPERS, ONION, CARROTS, SPICES AND CHILIES ($15.95).
Although the prawns are not overcooked, they are missing that nice pan-fried taste. In addition, there is too much onion as well as bell pepper and overwhelms the taste of the prawns and cashews, which should be the highlight. As for the sauce, it tastes very light as well as sweet and could have used a bit more spices. Also, there is no hint of spiciness, despite requesting for a level five.

RED CURRY DUCK WITH LYCHEE. BRAISED DUCK WITH LYCHEE, LIGHT RED CURRY PASTE, COCONUT MILK, BELL PEPPERS, BAMBOO SHOOTS AND FRESH THAI BASIL, SERVED WITH RICE ($15.95).

The curry has a medium spiciness along with a subtle sweetness from the lychee and tastes creamy. However, the meat taste dry and stiff. I am not impressed considering this is one of the restaurants' most popular dishes.

As for the other ingredients, the bamboo shoots have a nice crunch, the tomatoes taste juicy and there is one actual lychee in the curry. But the highlight should have been the duck meat asides from the flavour of the curry.

EGGPLANT ($12.95).
The eggplant tastes soft but not too mushy and has a light soy taste; however, the dish tastes too simple. I expected a flavourful basil eggplant or at least a spicy dish (as requested for a level five spiciness). Do I consider this overpriced? A bit, because I assume U & I Thai tries to serve more authentic dishes.

LAMB MASSAMAN. BRAISED LEG OF LAMB MARINATED AND SLOW COOKED IN A MASSAMAN CURRY PASTE WITH PEANUTS AND ONIONS, SERVED WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES AND RICE ($17.95).
The curry has a rich sweetness from the sweet potato but does not taste very creamy (which is fine with me). As for the meat, there are not many chunks, only seven. At first I thought the amount was a bit stingy; however, the meat tastes tender which is better than having eight to ten pieces which do not taste good. Although unfortunately, two of the only large cuts of meat taste extremely dry as well as chewy.

So do I consider this a bit too pricey? Yes, considering that only five small cuts of meat tasted good. Continuing with the ingredients, the slices of sweet potato taste soft and are a favourite of mine in general. In addition, the one cauliflower tastes perfectly cooked with a nice crunch. Despite the stingy amount of ingredients overall and a generous amount of onions, the lamb massaman tastes good, but I would not order it again.

COCONUT RICE ($2.00).
Although there is a slight coconut flavour, unfortunately the rice is a bit undercooked. As for the rice on the right, those are included with the red curry duck and prawns with cashews order.

TOTAL: $93.00 - $18.60 (20% OFF)  = $78.30 
+ TIP $15.70 = $94.00.

We tipped 20% overall because despite the lack of service, the staff was friendly. Plus, we did use a coupon from U Magazine (which motivated me to visit LOL). As for the food, I had higher expectations. A lot actually. And regarding the restaurants' "level of spicy from 1-5", we requested for an "original Thai" spiciness and our server confirmed the level would be four to five. However, the only spicy dishes were the tom yum which would be considered a 3.5/5 and the red curry duck lychee that is more like a 3/5. None of the other dishes had a hint of spiciness and tasted more sweet. In the end, I would not revisit especially for the price. With that being said, the tom yum goong is one of the better ones.

POSITIVES
- Friendly staff
- Tom yum goong is recommended (4/5)

NEGATIVES
- Quality should be a lot better considering the prices
- Despite the friendly staff, it was hard to get a servers attention and drinks were forgotten
- Stuffed chicken wings are below average

LITTLE THINGS
- Restaurant offers a level of spiciness from 1-5
- I felt rushed to leave because we sat at the half booths along the wall and next to us was a party of ten who were waiting for another table which happened to be ours. They were quite rude and speaking loudly about it too. Also, one of the ladies kept elbowing me since we sat so close together. I mean, how would people in general feel about finishing all this food in thirty minutes? Seriously. Plus, it was so hard to get more drinks because the staff focused on tables of four than two, and the dining experience was more like "lets just get out of here and eat at home"

Food: 2.5/5 (tom yum goong 4/5)
Service: 2/5

U and I Thai on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

  1. Thx for the mention! I know you said you won't be going back, but if you do, try their Pad Thai as I think it is actually quite good.

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    Replies
    1. Of course! Why wouldn't I share the discount :)

      Delete
  2. theyre very inconsistent with the proteins and curries can get watery. have you read the article from u magazine?

    U & I Thai is one of two restaurants in BC that got awarded Thai Select Premium by Thailand’s Government Ministry of Commerce. It certifies that they “offer authentic Thai food employing same or similar cooking methods as in Thailand, with traditional Thai decorations, and outstanding services with a degree of excellence of 5-star (score of 85+)”.

    this only means they use authentic ingredients, but not necessarily the food is even good. the restaurant is very overrated, portions are small and the only thing going is being a decent restaurant in the area. sala thai downtown is gross but are on the list for using authentic ingredients

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I never care about authenticity as long as the food tastes good. The tom yung goong is pretty good though!

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  3. Great honest review, I find Sawasdee so much better. It sucks when very little item tastes good at a restaurant. A good restaurant is truly when almost everything is good

    ReplyDelete

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