Happiness is revisiting the revamped Kha, discreetly tucked away at Martin Road, and falling in fiery love all over again with each deliciously spicy bite. Such a huge change from the first time I checked out Kha’s first venture at Hort Park many years ago, and left feeling slightly disappointed at how sanitised and unmemorable it was. The secret sauce for this delicious turnabout – new executive chef Adam Cliff, who has helmed some pretty phenomenal Thai places worldwide, including Nahm in Bangkok (need/ must/ want to go!)
Kha specialises in throwing in lots of dishes from the Isaan region in Thailand, where everything is sprinkled liberally with devilishly hot and sour influences. They’ve a deliciously impressive menu which spans the usual Thai pleasers, and lots of interesting and spicy surprises (crispy red curry rice and pork salad..mm yes please!)
Molly and I got a little too excited and because we were HANGRY, and ordered these…
Som Dtum Malakor ($16): This pounded green papaya salad with liberal helpings of peanuts, cabbages, shallots, chilies and lime juice was deliciously piquant, and the candied pork (which tasted like thick strips of “bak kwa”) provided a nice caramel distraction to chew on.
Phad Daohoo Sum Rot ($14): Billed as Papa Adun’s world famous wok fried crispy tofu with three flavor sauce, the tofu was coated nicely with an oyster-like sauce and the deep-fried shallots atop gave it a crisp crunch. It was good, but nothing to shout about and could have been replaced with a more robust dish!
Gai Yung Esaan ($15): The chicken thighs were grilled to perfection, and literally slid off the stick when pulled with a fork! Every mouthful came with a burst of garlic, pepper and coriander flavours (I believe you when you say it’s marinated for 24 hours, Kha!), and a squeeze of lime juice dressed up the grilled chicken thighs just perfectly.
Nahm Dtok Nuer ($22): This spicy grilled Wagyu beef salad was one fiery MOFO! The wagyu beef slices were liberally coated with flecks of birds-eye chilli seeds and shallots, which set our tastebuds on fire and an angry party in the tummy! Despite the intense spiciness, it was surprisingly addictive (I’m a sucker for the fish sauce and lime tossed into the salad).
Pla Phao Glua ($30): The piece de resistance of the night – salt crusted whole seabass stuffed with lemon grass, pandanas and Thai basil stalks. I’m usually not a fan of seabass, as it’s almost always overcooked and way too many tiny bones snuggled between the flesh. But this one, oh boy, the Kha guys have this seabass slow-cooked to perfection. Nestled under the crisp salt crust: chunks of sweet, juicy seabass with delicate hints of fragrant lemon grass and salty undertones from the crust. Dipping this into the green chili sauce was a mind-boggling wonderment of sweet, tangy, spicy and salty all at once! The fish was incredibly chunky, and Molly and I wished we had more stomach room to tuck more seabass away :(
We were incredibly stuffed after a deliciously decadent and spicy meal (so much so that I woke up the next day still full!) Hats off to the chef for bringing an authentic slice of Thai paradise to Singapore, at pretty reasonable prices to boot. Molly and I ended up paying ~SGD50+ per person (no drinks), but we definitely over-ordered #FOMOtookover.
Tip: Head to Kha on a week day, where service is quick and attentive. Avoid Fri night/ weekends, as have heard that Kha isn’t very good at handling bustling large crowds, and service gets sloppy (long wait for orders to be taken, orders take forever to arrive, bill gets mixed up and all things not good)
Wherefore art thou?
Kha (no MRT station nearby, best to take a cab)
38 Martin Rd,