Porcine-friendly Thai restaurants are all the rage these days. With plucky mini mart-restaurant Lai Thai well established in the cheap eats bracket, Surisit Thai Kopitiam perfecting the casual dining experience and Kompassion attracting much fancier clientele, Thai Camp faces an uphill battle to dislodge the trio of popular non-halal Thai establishments.
On looks alone, the five-month-old Taman Paramount upstart isn’t terribly inspiring. Occupying half a shoplot next to Hokkien noodles specialist Restaurant Mei Yen, Thai Camp’s sparse, clean interior borders precariously on nondescript and forgettable. The lack of personality in ambience, however, betrays a well-oiled restaurant that offered some of the friendliest service we’ve had in a long time. (Our affable waiter even thanked us for doing nothing more than accepting serviettes he sent over.)
Like the non-existent decor, our meal didn’t exactly start off on the best note either. The first couple of dishes – the stir-fried kangkung and deep-fried squid – were haphazardly assembled and a tad on the salty side, which made the brilliance of the ensuing tom ka kai that much more momentous. A sterling departure from the ubiquitous tom yam, this coconut-milk-heavy chicken soup combined sugary creaminess with a mild tanginess that was both punchy and satisfying.
Amazingly, the tom ka kai wasn’t even the best dish on show that evening – the deftly executed kaeng hungle took that particular title. A northern Thai delicacy, the thick, rich curry boasted glorious deposits of melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and a pleasingly piquant finish. It was therefore a shame that Thai Camp’s solitary two desserts, the mango sticky rice and red ruby, were unavailable during our visit, as the pedestrian lemongrass and pandan drinks paled in comparison to myElephant’s yummier, more refreshing pandan cooler.
Featuring exemplary service and competitively priced Thai specialities that are more hit than miss, Thai Camp more than holds its own against its more established peers. The battle for porky Thai supremacy in the Klang Valley is certainly heating up.