My blog is usually devoted to my musings regarding communication trends, social media, and of course, fashion. However for this entry, I would like to play around a bit and do a post about food. Not many people are aware of my being a foodie, especially because I’m quite fussy about my weight. Granted that I have what my friends would describe as a “ridiculously skinny” frame, my love for food is not quite obvious and would take some careful persuasion (i.e. “Tara kain tayo”) in order for it be brought about.
During my on-the-job training over the summer, I had to walk every weekday from the Gilmore LRT station all the way to Granada Street where my office is located. When I first walked (or shall I say “trekked”) to the office, one particular restaurant caught my eye. Given that the entire stretch of Granada was dotted with eateries of various cuisines, for one to catch my attention is definitely something worth checking out. With its then-orange-painted walls, it wasn’t really a surprise why I immediately took notice. It was probably the citrus-y color which screamed “Eat here! Eat here!” which drew me in. The name “ThaiDara” simply sealed the deal.
It was quite obvious that ThaiDara served Thai food. As a frustrated traveler, Bangkok was certainly one of those places in the globe that I have always wanted to go to. I figured, “This is the closest thing to Bangkok that I can get. Why don’t I give it a shot?” Until that time, I haven’t tasted Thai food but have heard a lot about it. The usual comments were that it was spicy and savory. What ThaiDara gave me certainly exceeded my expectations. Soon enough I was singing ThaiDara’s praises to the heavens.
Opened in August 2009, ThaiDara is the brainchild of restaurateur James Bon and Chef James Worrasaran. Both were working in The States before taking a vacation in the Philippines. Not long after, they realized that they can’t find any good Thai restaurants that offered food with that authentic Thai flavor. Chef James, being Thai himself, knew all too well the unmistakable taste of home. His recipes which evoke his late mother’s cooking pay tribute to her dream of having her own restaurant but was unable to fulfill in life. The two friends decided to try their hand in the food business by starting their own restaurant with the promise of bringing the tastes of Thailand to Filipino palates. It seems that with James Bon’s entrepreneurial magic and Chef James’ 12 years of experience in the food industry, they have succeeded since the restaurant has had its share of regulars as well as a handful of celebrities (e.g. Ai-Ai delas Alas, Christine Reyes, Lance Raymundo, Denise Laurel, Venus Raj, and Ciara Sotto, among others) dine there.
Among ThaiDara’s specialties that keep patrons coming back for more are the iconic Pad Thai and the crowd favorite Tom Yum soup. I personally love the Drunken Noodle, Sassy Fish, Bangkok Spring Rolls, and Pork Satay. The irresistibly sweet refreshments (e.g. Thai Iced Tea, Lemongrass Iced Tea, Mint Lemonade) perfectly compliment the richly flavored dishes. And the desserts are nothing short of delectable. The reason why Filipinos have had such a positive reception towards Thai cuisine, according to Chef James, is because of its similarity to Filipino cuisine. The unique blend of spicy, sweet, and sour present in such dishes definitely appeals to Philippine taste buds. Given that that ThaiDara gives the closest thing to fine dining in Granada Street without the hefty price that is attributed to haute cuisine, it certainly makes it a popular destination among foodies who are in need of their regular Thai fix. A complete meal would normally set you back at 400 pesos; not bad considering that each dish is a masterpiece in its own right (“It has a little bit of everything,” Chef James says).
Just as impressive as the food they serve is the ambience in the restaurant. Its clean lines and minimalist flair makes dining such a serene and relaxing experience; perfect for having dinner with friends after a long and tiring day. What makes ThaiDara even more charming is because it somehow brings the vibe of contemporary Bangkok with photos of Thai personalities plastered in one corner and a television screen that features modern Thai music videos. They also paid homage to traditional Thai culture by incorporating certain design elements which evoked Thailand’s old world charm (i.e. pictures of Thai dancers on one wall, antique silver pitchers and cups, various wood carvings in Buddha’s likeness, and a Thai headdress which one can borrow and get photographed in). Indeed, ThaiDara offers a slice of Thai life as a beautiful mix of past and present.
Having recently celebrated its first anniversary, ThaiDara put up an “Eat All You Can” promo for us who just can’t get enough of their awesome food. Certainly I’ll never get tired of them anytime soon. I make a “pilgrimage” of sorts to Granada to grab a plate of my favorite Pad Thai as much as my free time allows me. Chef James, when asked what envisions for ThaiDara in the next five years or so, said that he and his co-owner James see ThaiDara as having more branches in the future but promise to maintain the home-y and very personal approach that the restaurant has now with its clientele. Now with that projection, isn’t that such a delicious future to look forward to?
ThaiDara: Bangkok Street Food is located at 56 Granada Street, Barangay Valencia, Quezon City. For inquiries, you may reach them via telephone at (02) 515-0469 or (02) 568-0651. Payments are on a cash-basis only.
Sample Social Media Release for ThaiDara: