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October 16, 2012

Toptai 12-Oct-2012

1/81 O’Connell Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
(08)8361 7780
Open Mon-Thurs for Lunch, Everyday for Dinner

Whoah! Best Thai Restaurant 2012?! Someone has been stealing my review idea (again)! Oh wait, the people who reviewed this place are proper food panelists with credentials … nonetheless, quite an interesting review coming up as I see just how good things are here compared to the other 40 odd places we’ve enjoyed (or not) already! This place is inside the shopping complex, not noticeably eye-catching from the street and used to be a Chinese or Yum Cha place before it changed into Thai. Hungry stomachs await, let’s Thai-m to roll!

Final Score: 7.75/10







Choo Chee ChickenToptai 12-Oct-2012 Choo Chee Chicken

We’ve had some awesome food, a few terrible meals, numerous spots of outstanding service and also times where it’s been quite the opposite. It’s what makes food reviewing such a treat in that every place serves up a blend of good and bad across each of our scoring criteria. These amateur reviews also avoid that pressure of having to professionally critique with pin-point accuracy and is (hopefully) much more down to earth and relatable to the average diner out there! Hopefully we find this place just as good as the pro’s do!

As you walk in from the shopping mall, there’s definitely a feel of commercialism in the air. It’s nice, modern and neat but kind of in an office sort of way … at the opposite spectrum of cosy and homely I would say. The layout and design of the interior screams out “ex-Chinese-Restaurant” and you can see how this would have easily been a Yum Cha house. How “Thai” is the vibe of this place? Moderate only, somewhere in the middle and apart from the fish tank, nothing really looks traditional or overly visually appealing either. Very clean and tidy inside, so really nothing to fault either.

As avid readers would know, service has been all over the place in the past few reviews and in my opinion there really shouldn’t be any excuses to really poor service. Sure, I know that during busy times things could be slow but it’s pretty obvious when there just isn’t enough man-power to go around. Toptai has no troubles at all with high staffing levels, in fact coming close to a systematic well oiled machine … complete with PDA’s! It seemed each waiter/waitress had their own tables to watch, and even their own “roles” to fulfil like parts in an engine … one girl could only give us drinks (strangely, not alcoholic ones) whilst another took our order. A different waiter then brought our food out and cleared plates away … very streamline, however it was all rather annoying when we could not request certain things from each member of staff! Quick to order, and no troubles in recommending a “best dish” even through the very broken-English barrier. Food was out quickly too on tonight’s semi-full patronage.

I think this is the first time in a while that I’ve had anything Choo Chee, but I guess that’s because it’s a cut-down version of a proper Thai Red Curry (and why choose something with less flavour?!). I have to say the servings here are decent, nothing to wow over but definitely noticeable … and when coming me that’s saying something! Plenty of flavour with the Red-Curry-style base too but it was lacking some punch which I am guessing might be the difference between the Choo Chee and Red Curry on the menu. Specks of basil and garlic filtered through each mouthful but again, was just a bit too “standard” and really just a safe-option dish, definitely veering away from what could have been their best. Overall, good stuff but not outstanding.

Whilst writing up the end of this review, I tried to think back on things that were memorable … and I would say the thing that stuck in my mind was the high-tech, friendly “flow-chart” style service here. I think this might be the first Thai review where they used PDA’s and certainly the only review where they segregated duties on the floor … which worked in some ways but not in some cases for us. Food was good and as with the feel of the venue, just wasn’t a stand-out performance to win “Best Thai 2012” based on our experience tonight. Best suited for work do’s, functions, office lunches, takeaway and almost formal dining … kinda makes me feel like I just finished work, time for some 5pm beers.

  • Service [8.2/10] : Unique, overall good but some flaws.
  • Quality [8.0/10] : Good food, I can see this place being consistent with meal quality.
  • Venue [7.0/10] : Clean, neat and tidy but needed a more homely touch.
  • Value [7.8/10] : Nearing $20 average is good value considering the serving sizes.


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