A Tale of the Unexpected – My Thai at The Beacon Hotel Review
Dining in My Thai Restaurant in The Beacon Hotel in Sandyford is like opening a rather plain looking gift box and discovering all sorts of wonderful delights inside. Located on the edge of Sandyford Business District in South Dublin, The Beacon has a rather unprepossessing appearance from the outside but once you enter through the doors, you feel like you have been transported to a different world.
The sumptuous décor makes good use of ambient lighting and reflective surfaces to create a feeling of spaciousness and the look is incredibly appealing. Gauzy floor-to-ceiling curtains divide the reception and bar areas into distinct sections without sacrificing the feeling of space. The overall feeling is one of welcoming comfort.
Thai food has become increasingly popular in recent years, probably as a result of increased travel abroad and a desire to try out new cuisines. The best Thai food manages to balance sweet, sour, hot and salty flavours perfectly so that none dominates but all work in harmony together. This can be hard to achieve and requires a deft hand and a true understanding of the ingredients involved. As a huge fan of the flavours of Thai food, I was keen to visit My Thai Restaurant in The Beacon as I had heard some very good reports about the food there.
I had arranged to meet Eric, a friend who lived in Thailand for a few years and knows the food of the country well. While we waited for our table to be ready we decided to have a pre-dinner drink at The Beacon’s Crystal Bar. The beautiful and dramatic looking bar specialises in cocktails and as I have always thought that they pair particularly well with Thai food, we both decided to partake. Unsure about what to order and keen to try something new, we asked our bartender, a very talented mixologist, for a recommendation and we were delighted with the Sandy Sling that she made for us. Containing Opihr Spiced Gin, Crème de Mure – a blackberry flavoured liqueur, fresh lime juice and mint, this was a heady cocktail that was not too sweet.
Once seated at our table within a large, comfortable booth, we examined the menu. Divided into easy to navigate sections it included many familiar dishes but also a nice selection of more unusual offerings. Satay dishes are ubiquitous in Asian restaurants but it is hard to make them memorable. It is important that the meat is marinated for as long as possible before being threaded onto bamboo sticks prior to being grilled. Here the Chicken Satay €8 included tender strips of perfectly cooked chicken which were presented in a spicy, aromatic sauce which had lots of texture. All too often, satay sauces are over-processed and more like a gloopy purée, but this one was lovely with enough heat to set the taste buds tingling. I especially loved the inclusion of turmeric which imparted an underlying earthiness to the flavour of the sauce.
Eric’s Duck Spring Rolls €7 were equally good and included generous chunks of duck meat. Served with a plum sauce, the spring rolls were extremely well made and wonderfully crispy. There really is nothing more disappointing than a flaccid and greasy spring roll but these were perfect.
We had decided to order a Thai Warm Beef Salad €9 and a bowl of Tom Yaam Soup with Chicken €8 to share between us before our main courses arrived. Whilst both these dishes looked innocent enough, they each had a spicy heat that developed as you ate them. I particularly liked the salad which, due to the inclusion of fragrant lemongrass and sharp lemon juice, had a refreshing effect on the palate. Similarly, the soup was light to eat, but was packed full of flavours that sat together in a coherent fashion. Both dishes danced on the palate.
It is said that you can tell how good a Thai restaurant is by the quality of the Pad Thai it serves, so it was inevitable that I was going to choose it for my main course in My Thai. From my first taste, I knew that this version was first-rate. The noodles had been flawlessly cooked so that they didn’t clump together and still retained some ‘bite’ and both the chicken and prawns that were used were juicy to eat. Due to the inclusion of the sweet palm sugar, sour tamarind and hot chillies, Pad Thai is a dish that is all about the careful balancing of different flavours and this was accomplished here. The Pad Thai was garnished with chopped roasted peanuts, fresh coriander and beansprouts which added freshness and textural contrast.
For his main course, Eric decided on the Daging Masak Mareh €20 which he chose from the Street Food Section of the menu. Here diced beef had been slowly cooked in a sauce made from tomato paste, chilli, ginger and spring onion to create a multifaceted dish that was delicious. Another fabulous dish, I loved the way the aromatic heat of the ginger gave way to the spiciness of the chilli. Served with boiled rice, this was so comforting yet interesting to eat and I would highly recommend it.
Although our appetites were well satisfied at this stage, we decided to share a dessert and thoroughly enjoyed the Beacon Key Lime Pie €7. Although not made on the premises, this was a delicious dessert and a lovely end to our meal.
To accompany our meal we drank a bottle of Eco Pinot Noir Organic from Chile €33 which was light enough to enjoy with spicy food but with its nose of dark cherry fruits was a good pairing with the spices of the food.
My meal was delicious and I think that Chef San and the team at The Beacon are serving quality Thai food in the My Thai Restaurant. A real effort has been made to replicate the authentic flavours of Thai food and this is to be applauded. The menu contains all the familiar dishes that you would expect to see but there are also some pleasant surprises along the way. Service on the night we dined was exemplary and made our meal all the more enjoyable.
My Thai Restaurant
Sandyford Business District
T: 01 643 7064
Niamh believes Ireland produces some of the best food in the world, and travels around the country; seeking out the best food producers, and places to eat.
An accomplished cook and baker, Niamh is also a previous MasterChef Ireland finalist. During the competition she had the opportunity to cook in some of Ireland’s top restaurants and experience life on the other side of the kitchen pass.
Working with TheTaste allows Niamh to write about her experiences and to share her passion for food and cooking with a wide audience.
Visit Niamh’s blog The Game Bird Food Chronicles.