Among the foreign cuisines I have savored, Thai cuisine takes a special place in my palate. Having been raised to love spicy food, a maxim in my family pervades my choice of food, “the spicier, the better.” Thai restaurants are easy to find and they abound all over the Metro but those serving authentic Thai dishes are rare. One mark of authenticity, as one restauranteur shared to me, is having a Thai Chef. In a posting in Ortigas Center, I discovered 8 Spices Thai Cuisine‘s new home, at Robinsons Galleria’s The Veranda.
8 Spices Thai Cuisine does not strike as typical Thai restaurant for its relatively modern setting but, vestiges of Thai culture such as lighting fixtures, statue of Buddha, and staff uniform are Thai-inspired. Restaurant staff are very friendly and accommodated the group very well. Menu features dishes from across the provinces of Thailand and are extensive but affordable. Since the group has a non spice eater, we chose the milder dishes and just ordered extra chili. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in eating so let’s try!
Prawn Patties (P215, 3pcs.) is a mild fare, slightly sweet, sour, and spicy. Asking the waiters, the prawn patties are bestsellers in the restaurant as it is the ‘children’s favorite.’ The dish is well-seasoned that my younger brother, a non-prawn eater, actually ate it!
Chicken Pandan (P205, 3pcs.) hits as another ‘children’s favorite’ at 8 Spices. Chicken thighs, marinated, wrapped in pandan leaves for fragrance, and fried crispy. What amazed me is the edible fried sweet noodle bowl the dish was placed in, good to munch.
Yam Pla Poo (P420), or Crispy Fish with Mango Salad, is made with shredded catfish, mixed with crumbs, and fried ’til crispy. A side mango salad compliments this dish. Mixed with cashews, perfect pulutan with friends, over few drinks or shots of good liquor.
Tom Yam Goong (P320, small), or Spicy Prawn Soup, is a good transition to spicy taste. Cooked with lemongrass, guava leaves, whole chilis, mushrooms, and whole prawns, the soup tickles our palate and stomach with exquisite mix of sour, and spicy flavors.
Bagoong Fried Rice (P185, single), unlike the usual bagoong rice, uses shrimp paste imported from Thailand hence a milder but more defined taste. Topped with pieces of pork cooked in soy sauce and egg, it is a complete meal in itself and best seller at 8 Spices.
Phad Thai with Shrimp (P285) features a sweet noodle dish with stronger peanut taste, and yet another ‘children’s favorite’ at 8 Spices. The egg base and the prawns neutralize the sweetness, but if you prefer spicier, you can request the waiters beforehand too!
Seafood Fried Rice with Basil Sauce (P195, single) got our spicy nerves flexed! Nutty flavor of basil, with that of the red chilis, creates a tasty flare in the tongue. The dish might come as real spicy to the average Filipino, but just mild for the average Thai taste.
Thako (P150) is a classic Thai dessert. The creamy coconut custard is sprinkled with roasted and grated coconut, topping a base of tapioca. If you are coming in for dinner at peak hours, make sure to reserve a few ahead of time as Thako is sold out within an hour.
Steamed Black Sticky Rice with Thai Custard (P180) is a crowd favorite, reminiscent of suman, or Batangas bico. Cooked in brown sugar, topped with Thai Custard and caramelized sugar, filling and addicting. Like Thako, order it way ahead of peak hours.
Thai Milk Tea (P85) sets as a good starter and finisher for a Thai meal. Made from imported Thai tea leaves, the Thai Milk Tea is set apart by a more natural ‘leafy’ flavor. You better have one ready by your side for gulps especially when eating spicier Thai dishes.
Our overall experience at 8 Spices Thai Cuisine is fun and filling. The restaurant staff went out of their way in helping us choose which dish to order. Upon hearing that we were bloggers, the managing co-owner of the restaurant stroked a conversation with us, answered our inquiries, and introduced us to the Thai chef they fondly call as ‘Chef Kiat.’ Lucky as the Chinese consider the number 8 to be, good times are up ahead for the restaurant. If you are craving for Thai and in Ortigas, please visit 8 Spices Thai Cuisine.
The Veranda, 2/F Robinsons Galleria
EDSA cor Ortigas Ave, Ortigas Center
Quezon City, Philippines
Telephone No. (02) 571-3361
Monday to Sunday, 11am to 10pm