Rochor Thai — A Thai Adventure In More Ways Than One

Xin Li, and myself attended the event. So dashing, in his Wong Kar Wai moment. 

Greeted with the vibrant orange interior and numerous pictures of Thai street scenes, this place exuded a homely vibe. It was a vibe that was further extended by our warm host, Kenny, and his young team of chefs, headed by Joel. 

Nam Tak Krai Kab Bai Toey - Pandanus Lemongrass Welcome Drink
This was a refreshingly sweet and cool drink, with the intensely aromatic and sweet flavour of pandan accompanying the refreshing citrus flavour of the lemongrass. A great drink, probably a hit with the kids with it's bright green colour as well. 

Cha Yen - Thai Iced Tea
Using good tea is a key to making thai iced tea. The smoky taste of tea filtered through the richly bodied milky tea, and it wasn't too sweet or heavy. Pretty good. 

Kanom Jeen Sao Nam - J's Cold Sald of Kanom Jeen Noodles
While this amuse bouche tasted pretty good, I was expecting a sharper, perhaps more uplifting start to a meal. The noodles had been sprinkled with grated coconut and dried shrimp, resulting in a interesting medley of savoury sweetness. You can imagine the slight "hay bee hiam" taste (acquired taste, this one, I like it though) being quite well-balanced with the full-bodied, slightly salty creaminess of the grated coconut, all gone along with the refreshing vermicelli. Not too bad. 

Som Tum - Green Papaya Salad Central Thailand Style
I have to be honest and admit that this wasn't anywhere near the best of papaya salads I've had. It tasted overtly wet and soggy, over-marinated in something that tasted too heavily of vinegar. The carrots tasted slightly raw and it didn't go very well with the long beans at all. Although the accompanying nuts was a good effort, it fell quite short as the characteristically associated flavours of sweet, sharp, spiciness of a thai salad didn't come through.

Tom Yum Talay - Hot and Spicy Seafood Soup with Thai Herbs
First, the good stuff: It wasn't as oily as I expected, and it was quite spicy enough to give me a good kick, like a good tom yum soup should. However, the prawns weren't too fresh, and the offerings inside didn't play the part of revealing the fresh seafood flavours that were masked under very heavy spices in this tom yum soup. Additionally, the overwhelming saltiness (presumably an overdose of fish sauce) made this a very confusing mix of flavours — it sort of kicked away the spiciness of the tom yum, but it also masked the seafood that wasn't very fresh.

Po Taek - Clear Spicy Sour Soup with Holy Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves
This was a deadly spicy soup, so I was wow. The lime and citrus flavours that presumably came with this was sadly masked by the very heavy overdose of fish sauce. Not good at all. 

Pla Nin Pao - Salt Baked Whole Tilapia served with Spicy Coriander Sauce
I am actually not a very big fan of fish even though I eat it quite regularly (happens when your family is Teochew). Tilapia is one of those freshwater fishes that can taste very muddy and fishy (utterly nasty) if not chosen properly — after all, it is a bottom feeder fish, residing at the bottom of the riverbeds feeding on plants and algae. However, I was very pleased to say that this was an excellent tilapia — so good, you could actually eat it on its own. The salt-baked crust ensured that the moisture was packed in, avoiding those situations where you had an awfully dried fish I've had at some tze char restaurants. It had a nice light saltiness to it, presumably because of the crust, and tasted wonderfully fresh, even evoking the taste of the water that it was in. I was okay with the spicy coriander sauce, which was not very spicy despite its namesake. The tilapia was so good in fact that I just ate it on its own, which is something I don't usually do with freshwater fish. 

Kor Moo Yang - Seared Pork Collar served with Aromatic Dried Chilli Sauce
This was quite salty, especially for some of my dinner companions on the table. While the pork collar was fairly tender and well-layered with fat (not too much, thankfully), it went well with the dried chilli sauce in my opinion. If I could suggest any improvements to this, I would suggest that the sauce be made sweeter to balance out the salty nature of the pork. 

Gaeng Kaew Wan Gai - Chef's Special Green Curry with Chicken Thigh and Thai Eggplant (right)
This did taste surprisingly sweet for a green curry — not that I minded, though. The chicken was not dry (always a good thing) and the eggplant was not too disgustingly mashed and overcooked. Above average, but nothing to write home about other than it being exceedingly thick and creamy, which gets a bit gelak after a while.

Gaeng Phet Pla Krapong Daeng - Dry Red Curry with Red Snapper Fillets
I think this was personally one of my favourite dishes of the night. The slight sweetness accompanied the sharp saltiness of the red snapper well, in a robust medley of textures assaulting my mouth. There was a wonderful smokiness to this dish that added an extra dimension to the interplay of sweet/savoury, and the snapper was sufficiently moist to say the least. This was quite well done, and I would recommend this highly.

Goong Pad Nam Prik Pao Kab Horapa — Stir Fried Prawns with Thai Chilli Jam and Sweet Basil
Didn't remember much about this dish other than the slightly sweetness of the thai chilli jam kicking in with the robust flavours of the sauce, which was very heavily wok hei-ed.

Hoay Lai Pad Prik Pao - Clams Flambe in Chilli Jam and Chef's Stock
The clams weren't too bad — fresh, and went well with the robust, wok hei flavours of the stock. 

Khao Niew Ma Muang - Mango Sticky Rice
With the coconut milk sauce copiously absent, it was replaced with toasted sesame seeds instead. I did miss the full-bodied creaminess this sweet dessert is known for, but I also did appreciate the very soft and mushy texture of the rice going well with the mango that wasn't too sweet. It was an interesting take on the traditional dessert, perhaps from reminiscient of the variant made in Thailand. 

Tab Tim Grob - Thai Red Ruby
Tasting just like strawberry milk and red beetroot, there were complaints on the table that the chestnuts weren't big enough. That aside, there was a creamy, fragrant sweetness overwhelming your tongue, and definitely a dessert that the kids would love to go into a sugar high for. 

While certainly not the best Thai restaurant I've tasted, I am tempted to give it a chance on the virtue of it being 2.5 weeks old (at time of tasting). It does show a very raw potential, and the passion for such a young team of restauranteurs trying to strike it out in an intensely competitive culinary landscape is quite commendable. 

The food, with some misses, was largely above average and the commitment to not using MSG and things like no service charge and GST make the deal a tad bit sweeter here. An honest restaurant wanting to strike it out, I am tempted to give it a chance. 

As with most Thai food, actually.

Our deepest thanks to Joel & Kenny for the invite for this tasting and for hosting us. 

Rochor Thai
340 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427592


Opening Hours
Daily: 11.30AM-10.00PM
Last Order: 9.45PM
Closed on Mondays


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