Chao Thai Is Randburg's Hole In The Wall
On the busy, smoky, prostitute lurking industrial street of Jan Smuts,a little authentic hole in the wall hides away - Chow Thai. As youenter this oriental delight you are greeted by a rich smell, a fusion of spices, soy and fresh coconut milk and a buzz-in security gate. Work with me here ok…
Well the ambiance is very family friendly, or otherwise just a great place to chill with a few friends. It's a little cramped, but cosy. Reasonably sized tables are lined up, seating approximately 40. It's a very chilled and comfortable vibe… well until my friends arrived that is, oh yeah, did I mention that there is no liquor license so you may bring along your own alcohol. Mmm nice.
Surrounded by slightly kitsch Chinese lanterns and battery powered pictures displaying chirping swallows and waterfalls, lie your very practical eating apparatus. Conference room chairs and cafeteria tables, covered with plastic colourful tablecloths and cheap cutlery, what more do you need? Yeah it's kind of grunge, but great.
Ok four words: good value great taste! Listen my friends aint lightweights, but with a few plates of sushi, three spring roles and two main course meals amongst four of us, we were more than satisfied. Being a huge sushi fan, I was very impressed. The portions were bigger than usual (6-9 pieces), tastefully presented and the fish was fresh. Fish has always got to be fresh, yes indeed. The spring rolls were… um… spring rolls? Yeah they tasted like spring rolls, those crispy cylindrical shaped things, ok, yeah don't know what else to say. We then ordered sweet and sour prawns with a portion of steamed rice. The vegetables were crispy and colourful complimented by about four little prawntjies, it was very tasty nonetheless. The Thai green chicken curry, slightly spicy and complimented with a coconut milk, red peppers and baby marrow, amazed me. This dish was full flavoured, rich and tasty. Yeah-good times!
Shit, but the good food definitely made up for the service. As some Asian person years and years ago, amongst a joint and sake, may have murmured: Patience is a virtue.
Non-smoking, good thing for that, otherwise the place would become a serious nicotine hot box.
Kitchen and bathroom
May I be a complete obsessive compulsive when it comes to hygiene or just plain crazy, but I always have to do the kitchen and bathroom patrol at a restaurant. However if this does not phase you, please by all means move on to the next heading. For those of you still reading, I knew I wasn't alone! Not to worry all, I didn't get enough time to do the cockroach count this time, but the kitchen was reasonably clean. For the bathroom, you may not find the toilet paper and the lights don't work, but it was ok.
All in all I had a great time, it's chilled, unpretentious and all you need for a great meal out, or a cheap date. One of the regulars may have informed me that Chow Thai is one of Jo'burgs best kept secrets; well um I guess the secret is out.