The stalwart Thai restaurant now offers an updated menu of unique Isaan plates (think straightforward rustic grills) care of new executive chef Adam Cliff, who honed his culinary chops under noted chef David Thompson.
After their move from HortPark, we decided to give this Thai establishment a go at their new digs, Martin No. 38, just to see if the fare is as good as we remember. While KHA is in one of our favorite areas and infinitely more central than the old spot, there was a real charm about the location that we couldn’t help but miss. (It was an established first date spot after all, with its romantic vibe set amid greenery.)
This reincarnation is sleeker, thanks to the black wooden furniture, bronze elements and dim lighting, which work together to create a simple yet modern space.
Food-wise, we weren’t disappointed. Our serving of mango salad ($18), topped with crispy catfish, was a refreshing option to kick things off with. It had just the right amount of chili, fish sauce and tanginess to excite the palate. We fought the instinct to order the standard tom yum goong ($18) and decided to fill up on phad bai kow-pow—wok-fried minced meat ($23) and gaeng sam yang—a trio of curries ($32). The stir-fried minced pork, fragranced with Thai basil, garlic and onion, was well-seasoned and had a good deal of heat to it (just the way we like it). When paired with brown rice ($4), it went down a treat. We should state for the record that we truly appreciate that there’s the option of brown rice ($4), which was a nice alternative to plain old white.
Of the three different curries, the green chicken curry was the best of the lot. Tender slivers of chicken in a rich but not overpowering green curry gravy, studded with pea eggplants, combined with fresh curls of coconut flesh made for a satisfying eat. We were less enthusiastic about the overly smoky notes and bitter aftertaste of the char-grilled beef in the Penang curry, and the red curry with a medley of veggies surprisingly came in a close second.
Granted, we went the more traditional route with our dish selection for the eve, but if you can do the basics right, that usually bodes well in our book.
Have you tried the curry-rubbed wagyu beef at KHA? It's one of I-S Magazine's 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2011).