For years I have heard raving reviews about Nakhon Kitchen from friends and colleagues about the great food at pocket-friendly prices served at this restaurant but somehow I did not have an opportunity to try the food. Finally, one fateful weekend as I was craving Thai food, I decided to try the outlet at Vivocity which is always having a long queue.
Just like any other times I have passed the outlet, the queue during dinner time was 20 mins long and with the safe distancing rules, the queue was spread out and reached the carpark area. I was half-heartedly going to give up waiting after 8 mins but surprisingly, the queue moved along quite fast and steadily.
The outlet itself is not too big but very efficient in space even during these times and they manage to load as many customers as possible while still following the 1m safe distancing rules. The decor is dark wood with simple mouth-watering pictures of their dishes framing both sides of the wall.
We were given the menu while waiting in the queue to shorten the order timing. This is also one reason why the queue moved along fairly quickly. They set up a process where everyone in queue was given a set of the menu， when you reach the first 5 spots in the queue, your order is taken by the staff. The moment the next available table is being cleaned for you, this order chit is passed to the kitchen staff before you are shown to your table. Another reason for the short wait is due to the efficiency of the staff at clearing empty dishes so customers don’t really sit around after their meals. Back to the menu, they have a large variety of dishes from entrees, soups, rice dishes and meat dishes.
We ordered the red tom yam soup for one person but 2 people can easily share this. The soup had generous servings of prawns and vegetables. The soup was not overly spicy or sour and had a good balance. My friend feels the soup was not hot enough but for me, it was just nice. As my friend drank most of the soup, she was really thirsty so we suspect there is a certain amount of msg in the soup.
I really love starchy soup so I ordered the fish maw soup which came in a huge bowl. There were many pieces of fish maw cut into bite sizes within the soup itself and slices of mushrooms and egg. The taste of the soup was a little bland so we added quite a lot of vinegar. This was quite mediocre as the soup turned watery even before we finished it.
My favourite Thai dish is the steamed fish with garlic, lime and chilli. They had choices between sea bass, pomfret and grouper which was the more expensive fish of the lot. We chose the sea bass as the pomfret was out of stock.
The fish was very fresh and the meat very sweet and springy. The lime and garlic gravy had a very refreshing flavour but did not overpower the original sweetness of the fish. This was quite a value for money dish at SGD 25.
We had the boneless chicken wing which is stuffed with minced chicken and vegetables.
The wing was stuffed filled with chicken meat and mushrooms and had a nice crunchy texture so I suspect there is water chestnut as well. The flavour of the chicken was quite light so dipping the sweet Thai chilli provided is a good complement.
Lastly, this is another dish I really liked from Thai Express and since they closed, I have not had it for years. The one served at Nakhon has huge succulent prawns in an extremely hotpot dish. This metal dish was so hot that I scalded my fingers while moving it. The rice vermicelli was soft and springy and absorbed the flavours well. The dish is nice but would have been perfect if the flavours were slightly stronger.
Overall, the service at Nakhon has been enjoyable since everyone loves an efficient system during peak meal times. The dishes are also very authentic in Thai flavours although some of them are quite light for my taste. Most importantly, I feel their prices are really pocket friendly and it is a perfect place to bring the family without burning a hole in the pocket.
Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk, B2-23C, 098585
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 9.30 pm