Chalerm Thai at Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski Hotel is named after the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre in Bangkok, as a nod to the cinematic heritage of the Capitol Theatre here in Singapore.
The calm and airy interior of Arcade provides an oasis from the hustle and bustle of downtown, and the rich yellow colours of the restaurant hint at a royal experience awaiting.
The appetisers are crowd pleasers. Having never had Yum Pa Boong Krob before (deep-fried morning glory, $8), it is love at first bite: crispy and light. I almost don’t taste the morning glory at all, so this might be a good way to get non-vege lovers to eat their greens.
The Peek Gai Tord Ta Kra (deep-fried lemongrass chicken wings, $15) are tasty and almost remind me of har cheong gai (Cantonese shrimp paste chicken), but the spicy sweet-sour sauce has a powerful kick, truly distinguishing it from the latter and exciting palate. Pity that my wings are too pink for my liking.
Tom Yum Goong (Thai seafood Tom Yum soup, $15): Spicy and sour, it serves to stir one’s appetite ahead of the main dishes. I generally don’t like squid due to its rubbery texture, but this one has a clean bite, kudos! The mussels on the other hand are a tad mushy.
The flavours of the Khao Phad Sapoarod (pineapple fried rice, $15) are distinct, from juicy pineapples and raisins to the generous helping of shrimp floss. The clever mix of different qualities of the ingredients gives layers of sweetness, although it would be better if some fried shallots or cilantro are added to provide some contrast.
The Phad Thai Kung (Thai stir-fried rice noodles, $14) tastes almost like the local charkway teow, with a hint of sweetness and peanuts, and without much oiliness. The prawns are plump and fresh, and add colour to the dish.
The Kor Moo Yang (grilled marinated pork neck, $18) has a beautiful smoky flavour the coats the tongue. The acidity of the sauce is intense and goes well with the meat, surely a keto-dieter’s dream dish.
Without a sliver of a doubt, the pièce de résistance has got to be the highly popular Phu Nim Phad Pong Karee (soft shell crab with yellow curry, $20). The yellow curry sauce is creamy and delectable, with a light sweetness that isn’t as cloying as the local chilli crab. It complements the savoury deep-fried soft shell crab so well that everyone at the table gushes.
The Kao Neow Muang (mango sticky rice, $10) does not disappoint, with its rich and savoury coconut milk, and warm sticky rice with crunchy roasted soybeans.
While the warm coconut milk of the Bua Loy (warm pumpkin and yam dumplings in coconut milk, $8) is soothing, the dumplings admittedly feel too starchy.
Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906
tel: +65 6715 6875
Value / price: 6.5/10
Ambience / decor: 6.25/10
You may be interested in…
–Sawadee Thai Cuisine, Bugis: Excellent All-rounder
–Baan Ying Original Siam Kitchen, Royal Square @ Novena: 20 Year-Old Thai Restaurant Comes to Singapore
–Som Tam, Orchard Central: Waiter! There is Durian in my Curry!
–Un-Yang-Kor-Dai, Boat Quay: Authentic Northeastern Thai Cuisine with a Side of Philanthropy
Written by Tan Ken Jin. True to the name of this website, KJ is closely associated with rubbish, organising litter-picking activities that culminate in a makan session (because #Singaporean). That, and he once tried marinating salmon in blueberry juice and orange juice. He survived.