With the new Marine Crossing development at the Southern terminus of Cambie in full swing, there might be some action in a part of town that only could be described as sleepy. There's a T&T Supermarket as well as Cineplex anchoring the whole complex that features the last Skytrain stop before heading into Richmond. Of course an array of restaurants followed, including the newly opened Pink Elephant Thai. It brings a bit of Downtown flair which is not normally seen in these parts. I was invited for to check the place out along with some other bloggers and Instagrammers.
With all the food at the table already, I decided to dig into the appies first. Since it was fried and getting colder by the second, I tried the Calamari that was aggressively battered. Due to the proper deep-fry in the hot oil, it remained crunchy until the last piece. At the same time, the squid was not dried out and in fact, was rather tender while retaining an appealing chewiness. The dip on the side was not even necessary as the squid was well-seasoned on its own. However, the savoury tanginess didn't hurt things either. Next, I gave the BBQ Pork Jowl a go. These pork cheeks were marinated enough that once again, they didn't need the dip. With a proper sear on the grill, the flavours were both caramelized and smoky. Texturally, the cheek was classic tender and bouncy chewiness. The dip was another good balance of sweet, tangy and spice.
We were served both versions of their Thai Hot Wings and seeing that one looked spicier than the other, I sampled the Chili Basil first. These were fried until the skin was completely rendered being crispy, even after being subjected to being tossed in sauce. Inside, the meat wasn't exactly succulent, but it wasn't dry either. Much like the other appies so far, the side of dip wasn't necessary as the flavours were pretty impactful with an initial sweetness followed by a touch of heat and aromatics. As for the Red Curry wings, they were much more saucy, hence the skin was no longer crispy. Yet, being rendered, it wasn't fatty either. There was a touch more spice with this one, but at the same time, an equal amount of sweetness brought balance.
Onto something different, we had the Floating Market which was tempura-battered spinach leaves with cashews and prawns. Despite the initial greasiness of the batter, the firm crunch was appealing. The spinach wasn't really a factor in this dish other than serving as a vessel for the deep-fried batter. The dip was necessary in this case as it was the main flavouring agent. It was very similar to the other dips so far except with a touch more tartness followed by a syrupy hit and spice.
Moving to the bigger items and in particular the starches, I served myself a helping of the Pad Thai Traditional (I served others as well!). As much as the menu stated there was tamarind, I didn't really get any big hits of tang or zip. Rather, it was a bit bland and sweet. With that being said, the noodles were chewy and well-executed. The large prawns were meaty and had a light snap. The rest of the ingredients were there too including the peanuts, egg, sprouts and pressed tofu. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the Goong Ob Woon Sen served in a clay pot. These mung bean noodles were expertly prepared being chewy and glutinous. With a spicy sauce on the side, there was a good compliment of flavours including sweet, savoury, tart, spicy and a certain umaminess.
An interesting dish was the Khao Soi, where my initial thoughts was that it was too bland. However, that was when I placed a portion on my plate (not the best thing to eat noodles with sauce or soup with). Hence, I took the whole bowl and took some big chopsticks full including spoonfuls of the broth. There and then, I was able to taste the aromatics from the coconut milk, the curry and the chili oil. With that being said, I still think the one at Longtail is better. Our only curry was represented by the Oxtail Red Curry. Although on the sweeter side with a bit too much palm sugar, the dish itself was a winner. Rich, creamy and aromatic with only a bit of spice, it ate well with the rice. The oxtail itself was super tender and glutinous from the fat and tendon portions.
Looking like another noodle dish, the Pad Ped with Chicken featured a tonne of julienned bamboo shoots along with mushrooms, Thai chilis, basil and bell peppers. Although bamboo shoots can be pungent and overwhelming, these were rinsed enough to prevent that. I enjoyed the crunch of the shoots as well as the sweetness from the stir-fry to go along with an equal amount of saltiness and spice. The last noodle dish was the Pad Kee Mao Prawn that featured a richly-flavoured sauce that was equally salty and sweet. I liked how it wasn't greasy nor too wet which ensured the noodles would retain an appealing chew. Once again, the prawns were on point with a buttery snap.
For dessert, we were served Mango Sticky Rice and Deep-Fried Banana with Mango Ice Cream. I thought the sticky rice was decently textured being glutinous without being too dry nor wet. It was mildly sweet while the mango was somewhat tart. The deep-fried banana was nicely prepared with a crispy tempura crust. However, the ice cream tasted more like mango candy than mangoes. In the end, I enjoyed the food at this location of Pink Thai. Okay, I know that they take Thai dishes and make it their own style. But in the end, if I just ate the food as just food, it was pretty good with impactful flavours and on point textures.
*All food, beverages and gratuities were complimentary*
- On point textures
- Impactful flavours
- For the food snobs, yes, they do take some creative liberties