Salads, curries make T for Thai standout from the crowd
By Yang Di
Chef Michael Wendling loves to thrill his guests with mouth-watering dishes at T for Thai.
He opened T for Thai upstairs from his successful bistro, Cuivre, after developing a passion for Thai food when he stayed in Bangkok.
“I used to travel in Thailand very often and when I fixed my concept I went to Thailand once or twice a month for a year to work and learn about Thai food and culture,” Wendling said. “I wanted to offer real Thai food because I couldn’t find what I liked since Face restaurant closed in Shanghai.”
With recipes inspired by traditional Thai cooking, T is not to be mistaken as a Thai fusion restaurant. It serves genuine, but upscale versions of typical Thai fare found around town. Elaborate presentations and great taste make each bite a pleasant gustatory experience with an amazing mix of textures, flavors and spices.
Some of the best items on the menu are the salads. The pork salad with apple and shallot (88 yuan/US$13.8) is marinated pork neck tossed with fresh coriander, chives, Thai eggplant, shallots, lime chili and fish sauce. It tastes fresh with a nice mix of mint and chili that doesn’t linger in the mouth.
Other standout items on the menu are the curries. In particular, yellow curry with wild prawns (178 yuan) is cooked with galongal, which has a peppery taste, and kaffir lime. With the well-balanced interplay of ingredients and thick curry paste, you can comfortably finish the curry with two bowls of Thai rice and crave more.
Arguably the highlight of the meal, however, was the grilled salt crusted sea bass (168 yuan), a dish when done correctly is just sublime. Arriving at our table with the whole fish sprinkled with sea salt, the flesh was succulent. The sea salt, lemongrass dill and lime brought more complexities to the texture and flavor.
Dessert is somewhat often overlooked in Thai cuisine but things like mango sticky rice or tapioca pudding are all-time favorites for many.
The portions are quite big, so there’s good value for money considering the quality of food and surroundings.
Although the key to Wendling’s success is the authenticity of the food, the decor is also nice. T for Thai has a modern look compared to most traditional Thai interiors found in town.