Chiang Thai is a Thai restaurant in Enniscorthy. It is part of Treacy’s Hotel, which seems to be the focal point of nightlife in the town. We have visited Chang Thai several times, and it’s always very good. Paolo reviewed them as well, and they made their way into his best restaurants of the year.
Chiang Thai is on the left hand side as you enter the hotel, and once inside is a world away in terms of design and ambience. They have used some ancient Thai pieces, featuring hand carved fretwork with take up one whole wall, surround the door and give the room a really tasteful and authentic feel. Red lighting behind adds a romantic touch, and on the back wall is another carved dais, featuring the signs of the Zodiac. The blinds are closed when we enter and the room really works well.
We settle down to read the menu which all feature unique metal carvings on the cover and start to think this could go very well indeed. Our waiter brings us complimentary bottled water and as we hum and haw about drinks suggest we try their homemade lemongrass and lime lemonade, which we do, and it’s really great. Really good prawn crackers, more biscuity than greasy chips, with some homemade dips and we’re sorted as we choose.
The menu is shorter than some Thai menus I have seen, which I normally think is a good thing; trying to do too much usually means everything is just OK. We decide on a half roast duck with plum sauce and pancakes, and a hot and sour soup to start, followed by the Pad Nam Prik (beef with chilli oil) and a light beef satad with chilli and garlic.
Our starters arrive and the aromatic duck is served with steamed pancakes, julienned scallions and cucumber, and plum sauce, so we make and share about six little rolls which are delicious. The hot and sour soup is very well flavoured, is exactly as it should be, and has a generous amount of prawns in it.
The mains are even better; the Thai beef salad is light and fresh and perfect on a summers evening, while the beef with chilli oil is spicy, but not too much so, but since I asked for mine extra spicy, I get a small bowl of freshly chopped red chilli to up the heat quotient to my taste,. A bowl of stir fried noodles complete the meal and both dishes work really well. We finish both with our second bottle of lemonade.
I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Thai restaurants in Ireland. Most have dumbed down the food to the level of banality, while a small few are very good indeed. Chiang Thai is one of the latter. It really is a notch above the norm.
The surroundings are authentic and tasteful, and the service was excellent. The prices are very reasonable, there are several set options, ranging from €19.95 for a two course meal with a gall of wine, to a three course meal and a bottle of wine for €50 for two. There is a short wine list, a full licence and someone has gone to the trouble of adding a good Riesling, for those who feel a sweeter wine works better with spicy food, of which I am one. Chiang Thai rocks.