Add:38 Fumin Rd, near Julu Rd
Credit Cards Accepted
English Service Available
Soft curries of succulent beef and chicken pieces mixed with chilli, herbs and spices is a general hallmark of Thai cuisine but a rare variation in Shanghai can be found at Coconut Paradise which specializes in northern Thai style from Chiang Mai.
It's owned and operated by the Yin family brothers and is as popular as their Gaoyou Road Lost Heaven, which has its own distinct following for Yunnan style food and recently bred an offshoot sister restaurant on The Bund.
Coconut Paradise's extensive, simple menu complements the venue's intimate, exotic ambience, with teak balustrades, deep cushions on generous chairs, and candle lit staircases lulling the visitor into a state of ease.
It seats about 70 people upstairs, where secluded alcoves and corners cater for couples and groups, and about the same downstairs where there's a bar at the front as well as a lush outdoor garden for warmer nights.
The menu categories attest to the wide range of meal options, from tropical salads, through to chicken, beef and pork curries to variations on eggs, rice and palate cleansing desserts.
They don't skimp on the appetiser chicken satay sticks (40 yuan/US$5.85) and the peanut sauce enhances the succulent and generous cuts. There's a taste explosion with the Sour and Spicy Raw Prawns (98 yuan), peeled with tails on and coated with lemon juice, chilli and herbs.
A lot of ingredients are sourced from Thailand with, for example, the only limes used being from Yunnan or Thailand because, with a very thin skin, they're juicier.
Of the main courses, the Traditional Chiang Mai Stir Fried Shrimps (80 yuan) are lightly panned over the fire and coated with an array of spices, then served with green peas and flakes of mushroom, resulting in a melange of flavors you keep dipping into even after the other dishes arrive.
Off to the side, and for something completely different, Son-in-law Eggs (50 yuan) are worth a try for the combined flavors of boiled eggs sliced in half, then the outer skin fried and coated with sweet chilli and a herb sauce.
The Red Curry Chicken (60 yuan) served in a ramekin didn't live up to the variety of the spice-enhanced dishes and was outdone by the Spicy Fried Fish Salad (80 yuan).
This consisted of crispy sea bass tossed with grapefruit and spices with crunchy lettuce to wrap the mixture in, bursting the taste senses with freshness. There's cucumber to cleanse the palate or an iced lemongrass tea will do the job; wandering waiters dole out scoops of white rice and service is efficient.