Some experiences wow you, some barely satisfy you! I would say, my experience at Soy Soi was more like the latter, I’ll tell you why !
I have been waiting to visit this place since they opened. Since my birthday was coming up, already made up my mind to take my family here! I called them around 1:50 PM and reserved a table for four of us at 2:15 PM. They confirmed the reservation and thanks to the Chennai traffic, we reached almost in time, perhaps a couple of minutes late. We were escorted to the table right away ! I was pleasantly surprised to see a completely-packed house and thanked my stars for reserving the table, just in the nick of time.
The ambience was awesome! Striking black color on the walls, nice art here and there, fancy lighting, thoughfuly placed tables to accommodate couples, small and large groups, I should say it was quite impressive overall! We got a nice place, a six-seater for the four of us. After a brief look at the menu, we were ready to order. The very first interaction with the waiter didn’t feel very warm and welcoming, it was cold. After dining at so many places, this is something you can make out instantly.
Anyways, we’ll come to that later, more about what we ordered now.
Spicy Chicken and Celery Dumpling, Satay Gai, and Larb Isaan for starters. Any questions on these dishes were answered with little or no interest, at least that’s how it appeared to me. So we had to make out from whatever description was available on the menu.
After about 20 minutes, the startes arrived!
Satay Gai was the first to arrive! It tasted decent, but the smoky flavor was very subtle perhaps because it was topped with some white cheese or mayo. I would have liked it without that.
The accompanying peanut sauce was very tasty. Like most places I have seen, the portion size for this dish was small.
Spicy Chicken and Celery Dumpling followed next, accompanied by a couple of sauces. The dumplings were good, the chilli inside the dumpling added to the punch, I liked it.
Larb Isaan was a surprise! Wouldn’t call it disappointment because I had no clue how it would look. The description said Thai minced chicken in fragrant rice powder, chilli flakes, kaffir lime and a chilli dressing! The first spoon of it, there was a dominating taste of some kind of seafood! Not sure what, perhaps Shrimp paste, or some sauces. I know that quite a few of Asian dishes have Shrimp paste, Oyster sauce and the likes as a primary ingredient, though not explicitly mentioned. Kids didn’t like that, wife was okay with it, I just managed to eat the first serving and had to leave the rest. I wouldn’t complain, it was just my preference.
While we started to eat starters, the waiter came and took the order for the main course. Surprising enough, all of the main course was served even before we finished half of the starters. In fact, they were lying on the table for at least 10+ minutes, before we even touched them ! How considerate is that ?!?!
Kids wanted some more dumplings, and a couple of drinks, I went ahead with the order though the main course was already there ! A Chicken Potstickers, Citrus Cucumber Cooler and Watermelon and Mint Mojito!
For sometime, ignored the traditional classification of starters and main course and started to eat whatever was there on the table.
Phad Thai was the best dish of the day! We loved it, very yummy, except that we ate it ten minutes after it was put on the table.
The menu was very impressive with wonderful pictures, so we went by that. When we asked the waiter pointing to something that looked like a Thai Red or Green Curry, he said it was Gaeng Phet, a Thai Red Curry. We ordered a veg variant of that. You could choose Veg/Chicken/Seafood. A portion of White Sticky Rice and Jasmine Rice to go with that. I felt the Thai Red Curry was a bit high on salt, and initially with the hot rice, it felt manageable, but in the end, felt a bit too salty when it was at room temperature.
There was another impressive picture on the menu which looked like chicken and vegetables tossed in a wok, asked the waiter what that was. He replied it was Phak Phak Fai Daeng and we ordered one of that. What we got was something totally different. It tasted good, but a complete expectation mismatch.
While we were in the middle of the main course, our ‘extra’ starter came! Chicken Potstickers, was a pan-fried dumpling. It was good, not wow!
Coming to the two mocktails we ordered, Citrus Cucumber Cooler was good, something different ! Mojito lacked the punch, whoever came up with the idea of grated watermelon all over a drink and a straw to drink from! We were lucky our eyeballs didn’t pop out. Every sip, it got stuck and it was more a nuisance than a refreshment. We had to leave half of it.
Finally coming to the desserts, we ordered Tender Coconut and Lemongrass Pannacotta and Khao Niew Mamuang. Pannacotta was good, but the flavor of tender coconut was too subtle. Couldn’t pick the flavor of lemongrass too, the mint was more obvious though!
Finally something different and nice – sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, toasted coconuts and sesame seeds, sweet coconut cream and sweet Thai mangoes. This came in a nice little porcelain container like a double decker box. Had to mix the contents and this was wonderful! We liked it, something different from the usual icecream types!
That’s it, we finished our lunch and got the bill! When you see a service charge of 10% that comes up to 338 bucks, that makes you think again about the cold service! I have to mention this – when ‘our’ waiter was busy with something else, another waiter came over to clear the plates. His smile and polite talk instantly made a world of a difference. In fine dining places like this, service makes a big impact to the whole experience. Sadly it wasn’t anything positive here !
Paid a little less than 4K in all, and a just-above average experience! That’s about it. I didn’t even want to ask them if they do something special for birthdays! It’s not one of those places that would make me want to go back at the next possible opportunity!