Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweet Basil Thai - Rathmines

I've been a bit of a economic doom-monger for the last 3+ years. I was flabbergasted for years at the prices us Irish paid for property (and take-away coffee). Us Irish are suckers for trends and the Celtic Tiger gave us the money to follow any trend we wanted. Still though, there's no satisfaction in seeing the recession bite. However, one thing hasn't changed and that's our liking for a good trend. That and the fact that most Irish people wouldn't recognise good cooking if it bit them on the b*llocks. We tend to like what we're told to like.

The new trend is frugality and value-hunting. Blogs, websites, papers and magazines are suddenly all full of articles about the best bargains and deals. So much fuss has been made about restaurants offering value menus. This is all good, but we're getting so carried away in our enthusiasm that we're ignoring restaurants that were always good value.

One case in point for a restaurant that's always been good value is the Sweet Basil Thai Restaurant in Rathmines. All evening, every evening, you can have a starter and main course for E12.50. (Seafood for E15.00 and fish for E19.00). The restaurant is sparsely decorated and can feel a little cold, but at these prices, I won't complain too loudly.

I ordered prawn tempura and duck red curry while he went for the soup and beef in chilli oil. My 3 prawns were plump and juicy. They may have been frozen (I'm not sure) but the crispy batter was light and served with a delicious fish-sauce dip. A good thai soup has the chicken just cooked in the soup before serving and that was the case here. Excellent.

Mains were just as good. My curry was flavoursome and creamy with plenty of veg and duck. It wasn't very spicy in its own right but there were plenty of chili slices present to add some bite. The beef chili sauce stir-fry was perfectly balanced.

My favourite Thai restaurant (at the moment) in Dublin is the Siam Thai in Dundrum. I think the food is good and the dining room is beautiful. But it is pricey - even the lunchtime menu is E25 per person. For the same money we can both eat in Sweet Basil Thai with next to no loss in taste and flavour.

Total cost for our two starters, two mains, one white wine and one beer (Chang) came to E33.50. If you can get over the decor, you will be immensely pleased with the delicious food and great value offered by the Sweet Basil Thai.

Sweet Basil Thai, Lower Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6. 01 - 497 0000

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