Looking for dinner on a Friday night without having made reservations is always tricky. Do you wait in line for at least an hour at the popular spots or try something new? My friend A and I were standing out in the cold and rain and across the road was Chili Time, a Thai restaurant we had seen before but never tried. A quick check online gave mixed reviews, but mostly positive, so we went ahead and gave it a try. With a name like Chili Time, and a bunch of chilis depicted on the menu (the usual 1 to 3 chilis for spiciness level), we were expecting some serious heat. Well… not so much.
We ordered four things from the menu: the fish cakes, the papaya salad, beef phad phed, and pork nam prik pauw. The fish cakes were pretty good, but the flavors could have been stronger. The most outspoken flavor was a bit of coriander every now and then. The papaya salad was probably the best thing we had. It had a strong scent of fish sauce, was slightly spicy, and the papaya was nice and sour. It was profiled as three chilis though, so we had a different expectation of the heat level. Then came the main dishes. Phad phed is a red curry and the description in the menu mentioned ginger, aubergine and mint. These flavors didn’t come through at all unfortunately. It tasted of coconut curry and chili, and not much more was happening. The nam prik pauw is a spicy and sweet chili paste with garlic, shallots, and onions. We tasted mostly garlic, sweet, and spicy. The dishes simply didn’t have a lot of dimensions to them, but we didn’t think any of it was bad, it just didn’t have the strong flavors we were expecting. My friend probably said it best at the end of the night, “If you’re not familiar with this kind of food, it’s tasty and exotic, but if you know Thai food, then you’re like meh…” Too bad for us, but I guess if you’re looking for entry-level Thai food, this place will do just fine.