Every so often you come across a tiny restaurant which is trying so hard you cannot just walk past. The Hot Chilli restaurant is one of those, tucked away inside the View Talay 2B building on Thappraya Road after the traffic lights, and unless you actually go looking for it, it is seemingly invisible.
We were made aware of the existence of Hot Chilli by Allan Riddell, the promoter of all things South African (especially wines)! Allan, it turns out, is a silent partner in the new venture, which is managed by Pasit Foobunma, with Pasit’s childhood friend Noi as the cook. There is also a proper wine fridge near the door, stocked with selected S.A. wines (more about that later in the review).
Now, Hot Chilli is not the easiest place to find. The restaurant is housed in a single unit in View Talay 2B on the ground floor, go to the main entrance and turn left down the corridor and it is on your right.
Space is limited, but some thought has gone into some clever ‘packaging’, with the kitchen area along one wall, and the somewhat ‘rustic’ seating area along the opposite wall. The seating area can extend on to the balcony as well. Diners get a full view of Noi and her assistant chef cooking, and you can see that everything is fresh and cooked to order.
The menu is photographic. Well done! There are numerous Thai dishes, including ones native to Isaan, with the most expensive dish only B. 130, such as spicy seafood pasta for example. The traditional Thai items themselves are very, very cheap, with most around B. 60-85. This restaurant will certainly not break the bank!
Despite calling the restaurant Hot Chilli, there are also European food items ranging from an ABF at B. 100, or B. 80 hamburgers, right the way through club sandwiches, several pasta dishes and even sirloin steaks at B. 200 with a choice of different sauces. Since the restaurant will draw customers from the View Talay condominiums, it is important to offer something other than Thai food. Local beers B. 60-80, and the house white or red is B. 100 per glass.
We drank the South African Kloovenburg 2010 Chardonnay, a very pleasant drop, but not as yet available in Thailand; when it does arrive, you will not be disappointed. For a red, you can find the South African Anura range in the wine fridge as well. Good drinking, and the Kloovenburg is worth waiting for its release in this country.
As a great starter, we had a Cordon Bleu style dish with goat cheese wrapped in ham and deep fried. This comes from Pasit who has a goat farm, and has been experimenting with goat cheese for a couple of years. He now has a technique which retains the unique nature of this type of cheese, without the strong smell, which some people are wary of. This dish depends upon availability, as the goat cheese is not made in large quantities. If it is on, do try this.
As we were a party of four, we had ample opportunity to sample several of the dishes, including tempura prawns (B. 100) and spring rolls (B. 65), and a particular favorite of mine being tom kha gai (B. 85). So often I am presented with a watery version of this classic Thai dish, but this one was full-bodied, with just enough bite in the back of the throat to make it interesting.
Madame, being Thai was in her element, attacking dishes such as the spicy seafood Isaan style (B. 120), while the chicken with cashews (B. 100) was more suited to my palate.
Our summing up was that this was a good little ‘fun’ restaurant with enough of a range between different Thai tastes and European, so any group can be catered for. Do ask about the goat cheese and hope it is on the menu. It is very inexpensive compared to the European imports.
Hot Chilli Restaurant, View Talay 2B, Thappraya Road (opposite Jomtien Complex), plenty of secure parking, open seven days 9 a.m. through till 9.30 p.m., telephones 081 132 0949 (Noi) or 086 124 5532 (Pasit).