Simple yet scrumptious. And a steal into the bargain.
As the Parkhurst restaurant boom continues booming, Simply Asia ups the number of oriental eateries on 4th Avenue to 3 (Ruby Sushi and Yu Me being the other two). So, when considering these establishments, one finds oneself wondering how they are going to remain original, and provide variety for the eager eater. Simply Asia is a chain restaurant (yes, another) which serves exclusively Thai food. We went for a quick dinner a few weeks after it opened its doors.
Simply Asia is certainly simply decorated. The interior is quite generic, and there appear to be few original or interesting touches. The open kitchen – where one can see the Thai chefs at work – is a redeeming feature, but you have to be seated inside to enjoy this experience. The outer terrace is a great place to eat during summer months.
Simply Asia, like many of the other new restaurants in Parkhurst, is having some regulatory teething problems. The restaurant is still awaiting its long-anticipated liquor license. So, for the mean time, remember to bring your own wine or other beverage. There is no corkage charge.
The menu at Simply Asia is funky and brightly coloured, peppered with interesting facts about Thailand and Thai cuisine. There is a really wide and interesting range of authentic Thai food on offer. This includes a vegetarian section. There is also the option to pick the heat of your dishes, and you may come across some Thai specialties which you have never heard of before. Having all the food prepared by genuine Thai chefs serves to enhance the authenticity of the food.
For starters, I ordered duck springrolls (Po-Pia Ped) which were served with a sweet chilli sauce. The fragrant roasted duck filling, scented with a touch of star anise, was delicious. Unfortunately the pastry casing was thick and undercooked. It wasn’t golden and crispy, but rather doughy and chewy. I think I could do better on my stove at home. My dining companion ordered a Khong Waang Raum Mitr, a 6 piece combo platter consisting of springrolls and some “chewy sweetcorn cakes.” These springrolls were better than the ones I ordered, and the sweetcorn cakes were exactly as you’d expect them to be given the name….. Chewy. Happily, the mains were much better than the starters. I ordered an old favourite, Prawn Pad Thai (Phad Thai Goong). It was really a treat, deliciously nutty and the prawns were cooked beautifully. I simply love Asian noodle dishes, and this was comforting, filing and satisfying. Nothing complex, just what I had expected. My fellow diner ordered roasted chilli paste and cashew nut noodle with chicken (Ba-Mee Prik-Phao). It really packed a punch, but was very enjoyable.
The service at Simply Asia was simply ordinary. Not immaculate or particularly attentive and gracious, but fine nonetheless. Food arrived quickly and we were given ample time to finish it, but we had to keep asking for things: chopsticks and soy sauce, for instance. This may just be a matter of inexperienced waiters, and I’m sure it will improve with practice. Our waitress was generally pleasant and the service did not detract from the meal.
The great thing about a restaurant like Simply Asia is this: What you see is what you get, and what you get is what you expect. The Thai food is tasty, spicy, a feast for the senses. It is interesting and unfussy. You could pop in and have two courses within the hour, or you could have a casual yet festive dinner with friends. Simply Asia offers something for everyone, and it is sure to become a popular local spot for a pleasant, simple and tasty meal.
2 starters and 2 mains cost R 200.00 including tip – this is real value for money!
You can contact Simply Asia Parkhurst on + 27 (0) 11 447 3037.
The review was sent to the restaurant on 24th January 2013.