Monday, March 5, 2012

Thai dinner at OM cafe (Moscow)


Why did I have so much food?.. We just went to OM cafe. It was so unexpected to encounter such a nice Thai place in Moscow that each and every dish, each piece of noodle, spoon of soup felt like a last chance. As if it was now or never. It now feels so much safer to live here because I'm sure I can go and get this food whenever I crave for it.


Thai food is one of the hardest to get in Moscow. Since I started searching for it I had a couple of unsuccessful attempts with Baan Thai restaurant, where the food was not even similar to Thailand and with Zu cafe (I love this pan Asian place, but not for thai food). There are still two untested places on my to go list - Thai Elephant (Тайский Слон) and Thai Thai. I heard both good and bad things about both, so I'll have to go and check myself one day. However OM cafe is my first and very optimistic finding.


At our Thai classes at Pinch we always had this question raised and I had nothing to answer till today. I am not saying all the food at OM cafe was spectacular, but it was all made properly. I mean, e.g. no inappropriate ingredient or technology substitutions. It tastes as it should - as you expect after eating it in Thailand and making it yourself at home. 

They are very clear about the level of spice too. The waiter asked us whether we wanted it very hot, medium hot or mild. I'm always afraid to get it too mild, so I started inquiring. She explained that the chef is Thai (his name is Tom) and "very hot" means average thai level. We chose "medium" for tom yam and tom kha to make sure mama can eat too and it turned out quite spicy. Enough even for me.


Once we entered I liked the atmosphere. It is very quiet inside, some meditative Asian music is relaxing. Very little of soft light. Everything green and brown. It makes you want to stay. While we were waiting for food a Thai looking gentleman entered and set at one of the nearby tables. Couple of minutes later the chef came out to him and they spoke Thai for some time. 15 - 20 minutes later the waiter brought a large plastic bag packed with takeaways to that gentleman. Watching this I became very optimistic.


The menu is around 10 page, most of it Thai and some - Japanese (it must be hard for such a cafe to survive without blending Thai with something more popular). Thai section has most of the conventional appetizers, soups, fried rice and noodles. Surely some meat and fish. The only thing which is just lightly present is thai curries. There are just a few and they look very hesitant there. I'm not surprised though after I made green curry recently and realized that Moscow doesn't have proper ingredients available.


First we had spring rolls stuffed with veggies and mushrooms - good and I loved the sweet sauce they came with.


And fried squid - not sure it is something thai-typical, but my bro loves them. They were very good in crispy and light tempura-like pastry.


Phad thai was right, with delicious shrimp and tofu, fresh spring onion and crispy bean sprouts. Served with dry chilly, toasted peanuts and fresh lime along. The noodle was a bit too wet to my taste and didn't have enough tamarind and palm sugar intensity, but still it was good.


Another noodle - glass noodle with shrimps, veggies, mushrooms and oyster sauce was unexpectedly good. May be even better than phad thai. Both noodles were served in very generous portions. One would easily be enough for two.


Tom yam was coconut based (which seems to be getting very popular) and very good. All right with lime intensity, chilli level, aroma of fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. May be it could have a bit more roast chilli paste for me. Anyhow I couldn't help finishing that huge bowl.


Tom kha was the best I tried so far. I didn't eat it to often in Thailand, but those I had were not as good as this one. Dense and delicious coconut cream based broth with delicate lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf aroma.

All in all I became so happy because of that food and atmosphere and so relaxed (because of the huge chilli doze) that I ate more than I normally do per day. We left grateful and overall optimistic about life with a wish to come back soon.

Related:

Thai green curry from scratch
Tom yam kung. Home made.
Thai sticky coconut rice pudding
Ginger tea with orange and raisins

Zu cafe - Moscow Asian restaurant
Druzhba Moscow restaurant - authentic Chinese?