Royal City Thai

Writing a review for a restaurant can, at times, be tricky. In this case, I visited an incredible Thai restaurant (Tom Yum Thai) two days before this visit to Royal City Thai. Unfortunately, ANY meal that close on the heels of Tom Yum Thai will suffer in comparison.

As with Tom Yum, Royal City Thai used to be a coffee shop/diner. Weirdly, both left the old cafe sign above their new awning.

Royal City Thai offers an all-you-can-eat menu on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 to 2:30 for $12.95. I had assumed that meant a buffet table. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an AYCE menu to order from.

For this Sunday lunch feast I was joined by a small group of fellow bloggers: Sherman from Sherman’s Food Adventures, Kim from I’m Only Here For The Food and Jessica (and Mark) from Yum-O-Rama. Sherman brought along a young protégé who was a very eager diner but is still working on her writing skills.

After everyone was settled in and had a chance to peruse the menu, the server came to take our orders. The natural choice was, of course, everything!

First off was Tom Kah Gai (Hot & Sour soup with chicken, coconut milk, galanga, lemongrass & mushroom). Nicely flavoured yet a bit more richness would’ve been nice.

Next up were three appetizers and a vegetable salad. The chicken wings were excellent…deep-fried to perfection. The same goes for the calamari rings. Both were served with a sweet & spicy dip. The spring rolls were fairly average. A good size but with a somewhat bland, chopped vegetable filling.

The Pad Bai Grapao with Beef was a stand-out dish. Tender slices of beef sautéed with peppers, onions and fresh Thai Basil.

Red Curry with pork, bamboo, bell pepper and onion. The menu says basil, as well…not this time.

Green Curry with beef, eggplant and bell pepper. The menu says basil, again…sigh.

Chili Pepper Fried Rice with Vegetables. This is underwhelming at best.

Gai Pad Namman (chicken with vegetable, pineapple and black bean). A simple stir-fry with minimal flavour.

Pad See – iew (Stir-fried rice noodle with chicken, egg and vegetables). Not too bad but, again, uninspiring.

Pad Khing (chicken sautéed with ginger & vegetables). This was somewhat better with some good hits of ginger.

After our first go-round of the menu we asked them to jack things up several notches.

Pad Bai Grapao with chicken is now a thing of beauty…loaded with chili goodness!

Pad See – iew version 2.0. Much improved.

All in all, Royal City Thai makes decent food. I can’t really pass a fair judgment based on AYCE. From what we experienced, after prodding, was quite good. It’s just that most of the dishes were plated somewhat haphazardly with a bit of indifference. Once we asked for more spice the plating and quality were vastly improved.

The lesson learned here is simple. When given an AYCE Thai menu in New Westminster, ask for your dishes “very spicy”. If you don’t, you will be served what they think the locals want. Like the menu says – “Create Your Own Spicy”.

Royal City Thai on Urbanspoon


4 responses

  1. Pretty decent meal for the price. For New West, it is definitely a good option. Not sure about the rest of the GVRD though. I liked how they tried to make everything the way we wanted as a special order. Kudos.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:13 am

    • Karl

      Given it was $13, I shouldn’t complain too loudly. It’s just that I paid $15 incl. tax and tip at Tom Yum for the best Thai meal of my life 48 hours earlier. Damn those people and their great food!

      April 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

  2. Karl, it might be not be as good as Tom Yum Thai but, at least, you have to admit it wasn’t that bad for that part of town. So, thanks for the suggestion!

    April 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

    • Karl

      You’re right, Kim. It had it’s highlights. I’m sure the a la carte would be just fine. I only hope enough folk pay them a visit so they can stick around.

      April 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

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