Set up by the same people behind Gin Khao, Som Tam is a Thai fusion restaurant that opened a month ago at Orchard Central. Named after a popular Thai Salad, the restaurant’s space is decorated in a neutral colour palette and greenery, with plenty of natural light streaming through the windows during daytime.
At Som Tam, one can expect complex, bold and exotic flavours. I was initially overwhelmed by the plethora of selections categorized into street delights, salads, burgers, rice sets, noodles, pastas, grills, mains, soups, curries, drinks and desserts. Ah, decisions, decisions! We finally managed to make up our minds thanks to the staff’s recommendations.
It was a scorching afternoon so we started with some chilled beverages to cool down. The Thai Matcha Yen Float ($6.80) is absolutely superb and I highly recommend it. I’m not a fan of Thai Coffee ($6.80) as I dislike its acidity, but Som Tam’s rendition won me over with its sweet and refreshing notes courtesy of coconut juice. The Thai Iced Tea ($4.20) deserves two thumbs up too!
Som Tam ($6.80), essentially green papaya salad dressed with sour lime, hot chilli, salt, fish sauce and palm sugar, is presented in a novel fashion-in a jar. For toppings, we added Salted Egg ($1), Dried shrimp ($1) and crackling Deep-fried Sweet Prawns ($2). Shake to mix and enjoy! This crunchy salad did a good job whetting our appetites.
Crispy and not at all oily, the Tom Yum Truffle Fries ($6.80) was absolutely appetizing, with no one flavour overpowering the other. The heat builds up over time hence, if you’re good with spice, you’ll relish these fries.
The al dente Aglio olio Tom Yum Prawn Pasta ($14.80) twirled its way into my heart with its tango of garlic and tom yum notes. The fresh, crunchy prawns are conveniently de-shelled so you can dive straight into the glorious pasta without any delay.
Each skewer of the Gai Satay ($9.80 for 6) exudes a seductive smoky char. The flame-grilled chicken meat is juicy and tender, with just the right amount of fat. Dip it into the green chilli sauce for optimum enjoyment.
The Oozy Chicken ($10.80) may not be the most attractive looking dish at Som Tam, but it arrested our senses with its wonderful flavour. Deep fried chicken pieces, luxuriating in creamy salted egg yolk sauce, glittered with curry leaves, is certainly difficult to resist. Personally, I felt some chilli padi can take this to a higher level.
Dessert was also utterly scrumptious. Do note that although this Shibuya Toast is named after the famous Bangkok dessert café, it’s quite different. Som Tam’s After You Toast ($8.80) is an interesting play of sweet and salty flavours from butter, palm syrup and gelato of your choice. The toast itself has a crisp exterior and pillow soft interior. And with whipped cream, its ahhhh! Worth every single calorie!
Som Tam offers a myriad of Gelato flavours ($3.20 for single scoop, $5.80 for double scoop). If you’re feeling adventurous, there’re unusual ones such as Green Curry and Thai Basil with Chocolate Chip. The Green Curry gelato (white colour as the kitchen ran out of green colouring) is an acquired taste; hubby was a fan but I wasn’t. We both love the Thai Basil studded with chocolate chips. Both scoops boasted the same silky texture that glided down the throat easily. Other gelato flavour options are Vanilla, Chocolate, Sticky Rice, Watermelon Sorbet, Matcha and Thai Tea.
To sum up, Som Tam has elements of what customers are looking for- some classic Thai dishes and numerous innovative fusion creations. Prices are wallet-friendly, portions generous, and location is convenient, making it an attractive spot for spending time with loved ones or for a quick but gratifying refuel on a workday.
Much love to Ann and Som Tam for the invite.