The team behind Issaya, Namsaah, Kombawa and Pizza Massilia has attempted something more down-toearth with this little shop-house renovation on Charoenkrung. Think of it as the Somtum Der of pad Thai: an approachably cheap attempt to give a single street-food favorite the love it deserves in a comfortable setting. In this case, pad
Thai made from Chanthaburi noodles, house-dried shrimp, duck egg, crab fat and a sauce containing some 18 ingredients. The results are pretty impressive, most notably thanks to a genuine wok hei
—or “breath of the wok”—flavor that imparts the noodles with a smoky, sticky dryness that stands apart from your average street-food offering. The menu has five options: swimmer crab (B280), river prawn (B250) grilled chicken (B190), grilled pork B190) and vegetarian (B160). Both times we’ve had the swimmer crab we’ve found the crabmeat thin on the ground and not that flavorsome either. Save yourself B90 and go with the chicken, which comes topped with a beautiful slab of moist, deboned thigh meat. Stray from the pad Thai, though, and Baan Phadthai goes downhill. There’s a whole lot of dish crossover with Somtum Der—larb moo tod
(spicy pork fritters, B190), moo ping
(grilled pork skewers, B180), salted egg somtam (B130), gai tod
(fried chicken, B190)— and none of it plays in Baan Padthai’s favor. A syrupy jim jaew
dipping sauce does nothing to save the dry, underspiced larb moo tod, nor the middle-ofthe- road moo ping. The salted egg in the somtam kai kem
—which the restaurant says it salts in-house for 30 days—tastes more like a regular egg given seven minutes on a rolling boil. A shame since the somtam itself is not bad—salty, sour, mildly sweet but in dire need of an extra chili or two. Hang around long enough for dessert and things do pick up with a well-executed coconut ice cream (B120) and some decadent, durian-filled xa la bao (steamed buns, B140). In all, Baan Phadthai reminds us of hip young Thai bistros we’ve visited abroad—a dining space riddled with folksy cliches, a menu that dares go beyond just pad Thai, and a youngish, exclusively white clientele. Here on home turf, though, an awesome pad Thai just doesn’t make up for the serious lack of flavor elsewhere on the menu.
This review took place in November 2016 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.