Charcoal Thai

July 21, 2015 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Charcoal Thai
7 Simon Road

23 Serangoon Central
#B1-30 NEX

1 HarbourFront Walk
#03-07 VivoCity

321 Clementi Avenue 3
#02-08 Clementi Cinema Mall


http://www.charcoalthai.com.sg/


Decent Mookata Food, Underwhelming Ambience

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 3
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 5
Value for Money: 5
Spent about SGD $24 per person.


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Charcoal Thai started out as a small, humble eatery in Kovan in 2014, with Thai Chef Sitthinon Charoenphirapamom (Pinon) at the helm. Originally offering a much more varied ala-carte menu, Charcoal Thai has since trimmed this down greatly, to focus on their core business of Thai Mookata / Thai style steamboat. That said, the increasing popularity and success of their brand has somewhat diluted the food quality, and I find it overall rather average.

Ambience at Charcoal Thai is their weakest point. The spacious but dimly lit interior is poorly ventilated, and the smell of grilling food hangs heavily in the air, and sticks stubbornly to your clothing. While the modern wooden furniture is large, with comfortable booths and chairs, the floor has a distinct oily feel when walking on it, which I feel could be unsafe and unclean. However, I appreciate the fact that they use actual charcoal for the mookata.

Service at Charcoal Thai is decent, if underwhelming for a restaurant. Depending on the staff serving your table, they could either be rather brusque and uncaring, or very polite and accomodating. This wildly inconsistent service is, in the long run, not a good thing. I also note that staff kept trying to upsell us on the buffet, but having eaten here, I find the ala-carte Mookata set to actually be sufficient portions for 2 - 3 people.

Food at Charcoal Thai is pure Thai cuisine, though the greatly reduced ala-carte menu means some tasty dishes are now no longer available. Their core business of Mookata is about decent, not memorable enough to make a return visit. Portions are suitably sized, and prices are comparable to other places, budget about SGD $24 per person for a meal here. Overall, Charcoal Thai has very little signature items to distinguish itself from competitors, and with the trimming down of the menu, makes it even less appealing. I'm not likely to return.


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The menu is clear and legible, but I miss the greater variety of the old ala-carte menu. The inside of the place is terrible, especially with the strong grilling aroma.

Charcoal Thai Facade


Charcoal Thai Menu Mookata Steamboat


Charcoal Thai Menu Mookata Steamboat Details


Charcoal Thai Menu Menu Ala-Carte


Charcoal Thai Menu Side Dishes


Charcoal Thai Menu Beverages



The complimentary Crackers are pretty good, and unstoppable just before the meal arrives.

Crackers



Their house Thai Sweet Chili Sauce actually isn't that great, which makes this a poor Mookata choice, as their competitors either have tastier sauces, or a wider variety of sauces. They only have this 1 sauce, which is more sweet than spicy.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce



I loved the Crispy Mini Spring Roll (SGD $6.90), the crisp outer shell which cracks satisfiyingly, and the moist, savoury, fresh filling within. Comfort food, a great appetizer, though the plating isn't attractive.

Crispy Mini Spring Roll



The Lemongrass Tea (SGD $3.90) was excellent, a floral, aromatic, refreshing beverage, especially well suited to a heavy mookata meal. The Thai Iced Milk Tea (SGD $3.90) by contrast, was average, neither too sweet or too strong, but also lacking in that solid tea flavour. A little diluted.

Lemongrass Tea


Thai Iced Milk Tea



We settled on the Mookata Set Meal (SGD $39.90), which comes with a pre-set selection of items for 2 - 3 people. These items cannot be swapped or exchanged with other items of equivalent value, unless the kitchen runs out of something. The charcoal within the Mookata Pot keeps burning for quite a long time, around 2 hours or so, more than enough time for even the buffet meal. The default Tom Yum Soup base / stock I felt was pretty good, with a nice sour, savoury flavour, though it's not as spicy as I expected.

Mookata Pot


Mookata Set Meal


Grilling


Tom Yum Soup



Of all the items in the set, only a few stood out for me. The Chicken was the best item here, as it was pre-marinated in a blend of savoury spices. The Luncheon Meat, cut into slabs, grills up nicely with a crisp exterior and a soft, savoury interior. The Squid and Prawns are medium sized and fresh, with good natural taste. Otherwise, all the other items were decent in taste, freshness, and texture.

Vegetables - Carrot, Cabbage, Golden Mushroom, Baby Corn, Bok Choy


Chicken


Pork


Pork Belly


Hot Dog Sausages


Luncheon Meat


Fish Ball


Squid


Chikuwa


Crab Stick


Prawns


Egg






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