Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: October 19, 2012 at 8:39 am
Tee Pochana's latest incarnation cements its long reputation as a top-notch family restaurant
T Restaurant reflects the management’s modern thinking through a contemporary setting with sleek furniture and a wine bar.
Rarely have I had a gastronomic experience that still brings up a mouthwatering memory after so many years. Yet, it's been almost two decades since I last dined at Tee Pochana, and the finger-licking affair enlivened by tasty curry crab and aromatic grilled prawns continues to linger nicely in my mind.
The only reason why I didn't revisit the seafood eatery which my family frequented during the 1980s and 1990s is that it somehow disappeared amid the city's expansion.
The Pratunam location where the restaurant used to stand has seen a number of different occupants over the years and is now taken by Novotel Platinum. And though I heard the restaurant was well relocated, its new venue at a nondescript condominium in Huay Kwang area (now closed) never sounded inviting enough.
So when I saw a big sign at the front of a new dining establishment on Sukhumvit 31 that read "Tee Pochana since 1970", I was so excited that I immediately booked a table.
The pungent phla goong , or grilled river prawn dressed with sour and spicy herb salad.
Tee Pochana, aka T Restaurant, is a family run seafood eatery first launched in 1968 (the 1970 on the sign is a mistake). The Sukhumvit outlet, opened two months ago, is under the new direction of the family's latest generation. It reflects the management's modern concept through a contemporary setting with sleek furniture, modern lighting, lounge patio and a wine bar.
To harmonise with the new image, the glass-wrapped dining room is lulled by sweet bossanova tunes and attended by well-clad service staff.
Cuisine-wise, though the food is prepared by a team of veteran cooks from the original joint to ensure the restaurant's hallmark standard, it focuses more on premium and imported ingredients and is served on stylish diningware, not cheap melamine plates.
Unlike the bring-whatever's-ready-from-the-kitchen-to-the-table kind of meal enjoyed in the old days, our dinner at the new outlet was carried out in a more genteel manner.
It started with two popular appetisers: deep-fried calamari rings (150 baht) and deep-fried ducks' tongues with black pepper (250 baht). While the first was passable, the latter, featuring finger-sized delicacies well seasoned and properly fried to offer an addictively amazing crunch, was a must order.
For main dishes to eat with rice (20 baht per plate), we couldn't afford to omit the curry crab (700 baht). But compared to what we had some 20 years ago, the restaurant's current version tasted much milder, to which a friend approved as subtle, while another described it as bland.
The all-time bestselling curry crab.
A whole crab, with its partially cracked claws and legs, was thoroughly drenched in creamy yellow curry sauce with onions and chillies. The crab meat was firm and flavoursome, while the mild-tasting sauce, which seemed to cater more to farang diners, exhibited a slight spicy fragrance.
Equally pleasurable was the steamed snow fish in soy sauce (220 baht). A generous fillet of the velvety meat came bathed in salty sweet soy sauce and proved a perfect match with rice.
Our balmy dinner was enlivened by the pungent phla goong, or grilled river prawn, topped with spicy herb salad (160 baht per 100g). Almost hidden underneath herbs and spices including lemongrass, onion, ginger, kaffir lime and chillies was a giant prawn (cut lengthwise in half and detached from its shell so it was convenient to eat) carefully grilled to yield a pleasantly chewy and flavourful meat that was deliciously enhanced by the fiery sour topping.
We also ordered our long-time favourite or suan, or stir-fried oyster with egg, bean sprouts and spring onion on a sizzling pan (200 baht) and were truly satisfied with the fresh quality of oysters that dotted the tasty gooey batter that had been carefully made with flour and egg. The restaurant has a fair selection of desserts, however most of them are not homemade.
Or suan , or stir-fried oyster with egg and spring onion on a sizzling pan.