Restaurant Reviews: Sweet Chili - Amazing Thai Food

 
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I’m basically a fan of Asian cuisine but for some strange reason, Thai food and I have never really clicked. I don’t hate it but I’d rather have something else if I had a choice. I only eat it when I am with company that is craving for it or there’s a new restaurant that happens to be Thai as was the case with Sweet Chili.

Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Sweet Chili is the newest restaurant of the Gerry’s Group of Companies, which is famous for its flagship restaurant, Gerry’s Grill.

Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
If nothing else, it had me with its interior design making it distinct from its competitors that look like a tourism brochure.

The restaurant has very limited choices with a two-sided legal-sized board menu which helps making decisions easier. Now before we go on, let me have a disclaimer here: my family and I are no experts in Thai cuisine although we have been to Bangkok years ago (like in the 20th century) and have not been back since. We can’t even remember what we ate there, though I do remember fending off crocodile soup as I am not that adventurous. So the comments here are based only on our experience of eating at self-styled Thai restaurants in Manila, Hong Kong, the US and Australia.

Pad Thai plain noodles
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
As pad thai (stir-fried noodles) is a menu staple, it was the first in our order. It tasted like Hong Kong beef hofan noodles but without the beef. Instead, there were bean sprouts and tofu. But between the hofan and pad thai, I’d go for the former. I didn’t hate the pad thai, mind you, but it was just too ordinary for an Asian like me who’s eaten a lot of varieties of noodle dishes. Sweet Chili calls it plain noodles because you can opt to have it served with scrambled egg covering it like a cocoon.

Deep-fried king fish with green mango shreds and crushed peanuts
 Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
This was marked as a house specialty so we gave it a try and Sweet Chili is not exaggerating. The mango relish complemented the dryness of the fried fish with its hint of sweet and sour taste. The sauce was so good that I wiped it with the last remaining fish bits.

Tofu with minced chicken
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I love tofu and I love chicken so I had high expectations for this dish which, alas, failed to meet them. Anyone who will be tasting tofu for the first time will not be impressed. And anyone who doesn’t like tofu will never be a convert. The tofu was as bland as it can be. It felt like I was eating two different dishes at the same time.

As Sweet Chili did not totally fail us the first time, my family and I returned less than a week later to try the other dishes. We noticed that there were more customers this time around.

Seafood rice in basil sauce
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As we did not try the rice the first time, we ordered the seafood rice this time. Looking at it, I expected it to be sweet and I began preparing myself for disappointment. However, after just one spoonful, I was delighted with its not-so-sweet taste. It had just enough flavor to remind you it’s not plain steamed rice but not overpowering when eaten with other dishes. The seafood was too minimal though to make any meaningful impact and they should probably consider calling it “basil rice with incidental seafood.” Although the menu says it’s good for four people, it really isn’t enough simply because it is just so good. So we had an additional order of pad thai plain noodles but ended up pointing at each other to finish it. The noodles were too rich for seconds. We should have ordered another serving of the same seafood rice and probably ended up fighting over it.

Sweet and sour king fish with Thai herbs and garlic
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
As their menu was limited, we had no choice but to order another king fish dish but this time with Thai herbs and garlic and ended up missing the mango relish. It wasn’t bad but we missed the tanginess to complement the richly flavored fish.

Stir-fried morning glory sauteed in soy bean paste and garlic
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I never knew kangkong was called morning glory in English. Never bothered to think what it was in English until I saw it on the menu. Anyway, the dish just tasted like something you can whip up at home.

Thako
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Now this is the best reason to return to Sweet Chili---its thako or rice pudding made with coconut milk and green pandan. It tastes like our very own maja blanca and dare I say it---but better? There are six in one order and if we weren’t already full, we probably would have asked for more.

Thai halo-halo
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
I went back on another occasion to try their Thai halo-halo which is just the same as ours except it uses coconut milk. I couldn’t tell the difference really. It was so sweet though that I had to put more water. Perhaps they could follow the lead of Taiwan milk tea shops that ask for your sugar level preference or they could serve the sugar syrup separately for the customers to pour to their heart’s content.

Sweet Chili is located at 2/F Fisher Mall, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Meal dishes range from 175 and above.

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