Not an easy place to find, the one-month old Thai restaurant is at the back of People’s Park Centre, on the outside of the building, facing an open air carpark and the Subordinate Courts. Huccalily said, “Woah the view is great. You can sit here and watch real life drama unfold outside the sub courts, you can try to spot celebrities wearing sunglasses coming out of court.” This restaurant can be paparazzi’s new hangout.
The restaurant is owned by Singaporean Kelvin Chua and his Thai wife (who is also the chef), Pinky, who has 8 years of cooking experience. You know what they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
At Simply Aroi (meaning ‘delicious’), many ingredients are imported from Thailand or brought fresh from local wet market. The focus is on Northern Thai cuisine, especially Chiang Mai where Pinky is from.
In general, the food was comforting and homely, just spicy enough to have a kick without calling a fire station. We liked almost everything we had. Tod mun goong (5 pieces of shrimp cakes, $6) was shaped irregularly because each piece was handmade and unique, like a snowflake. Crispy and tender in turns, sweet and tangy dipped in a sweet plum sauce.
The kaeng keaw wan or green curry ($12) was more spicy than sweet, and had tender chicken and green brinjal, native to the Land of Smiles. The ho-mok talay ma praw-on ($15) was a very mild red curry with a herbal taste, choking the coconut with seafood. Among the seafood, the squid was cooked just right, chewy but not rubbery.
ho-mok talay ma praw-on (seafood in coconut)
If you’re adventurous, a must order is the yum puk boong kroub ($8, pictured below). It’s tempura kangkong in a spicy-sourish dip with chilli, shallot, and lime, said to be found at Thai beaches because it goes well with beer.
There were things that could be improved. The kai Aroi (stuffed chicken wings, 4 pieces $8) wasn’t deboned and so the stuffing wasn’t as packed as I’d like. Secondly, no desserts on the menu.
Still, Simply Aroi Thai offers a good variety to the Chinese, Korean and hipster restaurants in Chinatown. The food was aroi and frankly, quite shiok. In terms of food and service, it was sincere, similar to Soi Thai Kitchen and Nakhon Kitchen. It’s a place I’d return.
101 Upper Cross St, #01-02 People’s Park Centre, Singapore 058357
T: 9247 4870
Rating: 3.125/5 stars
Thanks Kelvin, Pinky and his friend for the hospitality.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.