Humans compartmentalize things to save time for unlimited information we receive. When someone or something behaves out of the norm, we judge them quickly without giving them a chance—that’s prejudice.
Prejudice is also strolling past Soi 60 countless times, seeing white people inside, and thinking it can’t be any good. On my first bite, I knew I was prejudiced and wrong.
Caramelised pork belly ($22)
Soi 60 combines traditional Thai cuisine with modern ingredients, interpreting Thai food in surprising and refreshing ways. For instance, in crab betel leaves (4 pcs, $14), Soi 60 uses crab instead of shrimps in the traditional Thai streetfood miang kham, giving a sweet, cool, and appetizing sensation in this heatwave.
Red crispy duck curry ($22)
Besides the crab betel, my other favorite was the gluten-free crispy duck pancake ($12). The shredded duck meat was rolled up in egg pancake, like a big fat burrito, and the duck was jam-packed with Thai herbs that made it piquant, pungent, tasty.
There were, however, two areas for improvement. Firstly, the meats were generally over-cooked, such as the prawns in the pad thai ($22, above), and caramelised pork belly ($22, below), and as a result, they might be tougher than usual. Secondly, the combination of modern ingredients with curries didn’t quite gel for us, for both duck confit in curry ($22) and lamb shank in curry ($26).
Lamb Massaman (lamb shank in curry, $26)
But there were many mitigating factors, including the Thai-inspired cocktails (below), which were original, potent and fun; the menu provides gluten-free and vegetarian options; and Soi 60 gives rather good value for the food.
Raspberry Mule (Vodka, house-made ginger beer, raspberry,
passionfruit, $18) and The Coconut (Thai rum, lemongrass, fresh coconut water, coconut cream, nutmeg, served in a fresh coconut, $18)
One more reason why Soi 60 is a superior Thai restaurant: desserts. Instead of the boring mango sticky rice–well, they do have that too–the butterfly pea tapioca ($10, above) was a stunner, stunning in terms of its striking shade of purple, which came naturally from the flower (bak zhang uses this flower too), and stunning in terms of taste. Pineapple sorbet, coconut milk, pomegranate, tapioca, dried pineapple, coconut strips – cooling and refreshing in hot weather.
Thai-tea tiramisu ($10)
Superstitious people say Thais use black magic on tourists, so tourists will crave for their hospitality and return to marry them. This happened to my friend who was gaga over a gogo-boy till she, listless, couldn’t eat. I think Soi 60 has the same effect on me; it has bewitched me and as I am writing this, I’m dreaming of returning to Soi 60.
60 Robertson Quay #01-04 The Quayside, Singapore 238252
T: +65 6635 6675
M-F 5.30pm-late, Weekends 12noon-late
Service: NA (tasting)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
This is an invited tasting.