The Thai script on the massive wooden doors should get the point across—even to tourists—that Phan-Khom is doing Thai cuisine, despite being lost among a host of Japanese restaurants on the seventh floor of CentralWorld. The décor is swank enough to evoke the lobby of a grand hotel, with its “thousand” lamps hanging above you from the soaring ceiling. But in spite of appearances, Phan-Khom is not a great ambassador for Thai cooking. Although we are impressed by its helpful, smiling staff, there are just too many kitchen catastrophes to ignore. Mostly, dishes from the abundant, well-designed menu, suffer from excessive sweetness—a worrying trend that just seems to get worse and worse in Bangkok. The pork green curry with hot chilli served with roti (B150) is like eating khao gaeng doused with scoops of sugar. The gaeng som cha-om thod (hot and sour soup with cha-om omelette and shrimp, B125) is quite sweet, too. Lacking in sourness, it was also let down by its stiff chunks of omelet and its flavorless cha-om. They definitely need to change supplier. Not everything is quite as disappointing, although nothing is worth getting excited about either. The pla ka pong Ratchaburi (deep fried fish served with sauteed spicy eggplant and basil leaf, B220) is an interesting combination of tastes (nice sauce) and textures, such as the soft eggplants with the crispy fish. Their slightly unorthodox pomelo salad (B95) is another dish we approve of: the fruit is very fresh and the dressing is like a sweet miang khum sauce with crushed cashew nuts and fried shallots. Honestly, we’d like to see Thai food carve a niche for itself in malls but to get us to pay mall prices for food we know so well, it’s going to take a lot more effort than this.
|Phan-Khom, 7/F, CentralWorld, 4-4/4 Ratchadamri Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
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