Baan Thai

Excellent service, value and Thai food in Doha Discuss this article

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Her name is Sopa. And she’s a whippersnapper of a server. Sopa is a one-act show, playing waitress, translator, entertainer and food tour guide. Her enthusiasm – and efficiency – is evident from the moment we enter Baan Thai. She welcomes us at the door, shows us to the table, drops the bill off for someone, delivers the food to another table, and then returns with our menus, all under a minute flat.

That is an impressive feat considering the dining room size of this shop lot in the suburb of Muaither. Baan Thai is spacious, spotless, and stylishly appointed. Authentic carvings and accents are peppered throughout both floors, punctuated by bouquets of fresh orchids.

There are other servers around, but Sopa seems to be everywhere they are, too. We can hear her giving detailed descriptions of dishes to the table next to us, offering recommendations while jesting along the way. She does the same with us, checking the level of spiciness for each dish, and apologising profusely for an item that has sold out for the day. But Sopa cleverly offers an alternative.

The alternative, a Thai fish cake known as tod mun pla, is wonderfully spiced. The rissoles are flatter and less springy than we’re accustomed to, but have the right flavours. So do the seafood tom yam and green papaya salad – all very tasty if not veering on the sweet side. Although sugar is used liberally in Thai cuisine, it’s usually left on the table for diners to add at will. In this case, the chef gives us no option; thankfully, it does not offend.
When our fried beef noodles arrive, we notice the absence of green vegetables – a necessary foil for colour and texture. We call Sopa over and point to our plates. Her immediate reaction is, ‘Oh, no broccoli! The kitchen forgot. Come, I’ll take it back.’ We like her more and more! When the steaming noodles make a return appearance, they disappear quicker than you can call it its Thai name ‘pad see ew’ 20 times.

By the time dessert rolls around, Sopa might as well be our best friend. We’re discussing Thai cuisine with cultish obsession, pointing out dishes we like but are not on the menu. The consummate PR person, Sopa directs us to the restaurant’s Facebook page to leave a comment so the proprietors take notice. We call this smart service.

We then ask for mango sticky rice; but there are two problems. They’re out of glutinous rice, and the mangoes aren’t ripe enough. For proof, Sopa even brings out the fruit for our inspection. So we settle for banana fritters and a soupy sweet dessert of tapioca pearls and fresh corn in coconut milk. The latter tastes far superior to how it sounds. Again, Sopa’s recommendation.

The bill (for two)
1 x fish cakes
QR20
1 x papaya salad QR20
1 x seafood Tom Yum QR35
1 x beef rice noodles QR30
1x fish red curry QR50
1 x steamed rice QR15
1 x longan juice QR10
1 x bottled water QR15
1x tea QR 5
1x tapioca and corn QR20
1 x banana fritter ice cream QR30
Total QR250

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Others, Doha
  • Tel: 4029 8126 / 3351 5591
  • Travel: Al-Furousiya Street, Muaither
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Times: Open Sun-Wed 3pm-11pm, Thu-Sat noon-11pm
  • Price: QR200-350

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