This Thai restaurant boasts “Thai Chef. Thai Food. Thai Taste.” on their restaurant signage. I popped into Thai Basil for lunch on a weekday with my mom and I was surprised to see that the restaurant was bustling with lots and lots of people. It’s located at the SmartCentre at Bayview and Major Mac with lots of other restaurants close by (such as Bombay’s Chutney and Bayview Court) in Richmond Hill.
They have an affordable lunch combo from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. that includes a vegetarian “tom yum” lemongrass soup and vegetarian spring roll with every order. We took advantage of this and ordered two lunch combos to share. Due to gluttony and curiosity, but mainly gluttony, we also ordered an extra appetizer to share.
The Thai Cold Rolls with Tiger Prawns were huge! I am used to eating smaller versions at Vietnam Noodle Star, so these were giant monster prawn rolls to me! They were stuffed full of soft and chewy vermicelli, shredded carrots, cucumbers, large crunchy green onion stalks, and really strong basil and mint leaves. The rice paper that held everything together was uber soft and smooth. I loved it. The mint leaves tasted a little strong at first, but they really tied in everything together once you added the accompanying hoisin sauce. Mmm. It was really good and filling! Actually, it better be filling since it was nearly $7; that’s the price of one of the lunch combos!
The “tom yum” lemongrass soup and spring roll arrived on a neat little plate that contained both the small bowl of soup, one lightly fried spring roll, and a teardrop-shaped bowl of sweet and sour sauce for dipping. It was very cute and perfect for a lunch appetizer. I really liked the tom yum soup because its flavour was perfectly sweet with a hint of spice. I loved how there were four decently-sized mushroom slices in it as well despite being such a small portion of soup. I also liked the spring roll that was crunchy and fresh and hot. The inside of the spring roll was not just fluff; there was a substantial amount of vermicelli and vegetables. I really, really enjoyed it.
The “Mussamun” Curry Beef Brisket arrived with the steamed rice shaped like a star. It was cute. The curry sauce, beef brisket pieces, onions, and potatoes were placed on the side. Its presentation was nice. Even though there was a “spicy” symbol next to this item on the menu, the curry wasn’t spicy at all. It had a really rich tasting curry sauce, but it really wasn’t spicy for either of us. That was a tad disappointing since we were expecting authentic Thai curry which should be spicy! The majority of the beef brisket was tender and very good. Only the big pieces were rough and hard to chew. I liked combining the rice with the curry sauce.
The second lunch combo we shared was the Pad Thai with Chicken. I adored this pad thai! I appreciated how the peanuts were served in a small pile to the side of the noodles so that someone who didn’t like peanuts all over the noodles could easily remove it as necessary. The ingredients were fresh, the chicken pieces were smooth, and the thin rice noodles were very soft and drenched in sauce. I really liked this!
Despite being super full, I actually wanted to order dessert. I had heard from my friend Sarah that this place has really delicious mango sticky rice. I asked for it from the female server, but she informed me that they had sold out of it. Wah! So sad. I really wanted to try it and compare it to the one at Restoran Malaysia. I guess this means I will have to return here to try more of their appetizers and the dessert! :O