Monday, September 26, 2011

Not feeling the love for: Pink Elephant Thai

Recently, a meet up with Asian Super Director and Tw-Mamma (twin mamma) lead to dining downtown. We were going to go for Ramen, but Tw-Mamma is gluten free, so we changed our game plan and headed to Alberni for Thai food @ Pink Elephant Thai.

The restaurant interior is quite gorgeous. Modern surroundings, white and pink furniture, and eye catching light installations.This place is really trying to be modern, sleek and trendy. Overall, I didn't love my experience here. The decor was fun and service was friendly and efficient. But overall, I felt like the whole restaurant is...confused and doesn't really have a clear identity. It's going for a hip, sex-in-the-city, cutting edge, lounge vibe but on the night of our visit, it was really missing the mark. Most customers where in grungy sweats slurping noodles and we were sweated right beside a large family eating with screaming kids running around. They have large TVs playing sports at the downstairs bar, which obviously helps with a Canucks crowd, but confuses the feel of the restaurant even more.

Ika Sugata Yaki- BBQ Squid with Osaka sauce $9
Grilled Squid- pretty puny, kinda bland cold and chewy. This dish was served with a lame iceberg garnish but AMAZING dipping sauce. Spicy, salty, slightly sweet- we kind of licked the bowl on this one.

Lettuce Wrap- Double "O" Fresh oyster and free range ostrich str fried with chili paste and fresh basil $8
I really liked this dish. The ostrich is the dominant "o" in this dish. In fact, I didn't really taste any oyster...other than oyster sauce maybe used in the stir fry. Ostrich tastes like a tender and lean beef tenderloin. It's not gamey or overly chewy, instead it's lean, but still juicy. It's well marinated and the flavours and textures with the basil, carrots, onions, and peppers all blended really nicely. Unfortunately, this tasty dish was quite small.

Garlic Eggplant- sauteed with garlic sauce topped with green onion $9 
A nice veg side dish that was a good portion size for sharing. Eggplant was cooked really well with some slivers of red pepper and served in a really nice garlic sauce that had a beautiful "kicky" rich flavour.

Organic Pumpkin Curry with Roti $14
The curry was decent but not stand out and the portion size was small. The presentation was cute, maybe too cute. It made it really tough to share and unless you rip this pumpkin apart with your hands and dunk it in the curry, you didn't really get any pumpkin in it. Another disappointment was that the Roti was fried, leaving it crispy and oily with a greasy aftertaste.

I can't recommend this place. I feel like it's trying too hard to be cool, modern, and hip and over pricing, and missing the mark on presentation. The squid was so underwhelming in the presentation department, and yet, on the pumpkin curry dish, they overdid it. Vancouver has so many options for budget friendly and delicious Thai food (my favourite is Sawasdee Thai on Main St) , I don't see myself rushing back here anytime soon.

Pink Elephant Thai on Urbanspoon

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