Saturday, 12 February 2011

Review: 'Bad Thai' @ the Eucalyptus Café – Cuenca, Ecuador

I had been craving either Indian or Thai for a good few weeks, so imagine my excitement on arrival in Cuenca when I both read about the Eucalyptus Café and wondered past and read the menu and reviews of the restaurant.

It is celebrated for its international cuisine, and the lonely planet encourages travellers to treat themselves here.  So that’s exactly what we decided to do.  After a couple of days of great Almuerzo’s and street food we arrived at the café for a drink, meal and cards and with high expectations.  It took just a couple of minutes for me to decide on the Pad Thai as it is one of my favourite meals.  My friend, Euan ordered the vindaloo curry.

Whilst waiting for the food I had an amazing mojito so I was getting my hopes up even more about a great meal….then it showed up.  At first glance I thought they had made a mistake as it did not really look like Pad Thai as I know it.  My first mouthful confirmed that it was a bad choice.  I tried to give it a go and have a few more mouthfulls but nothing was changing, other than my opinion of the venue.  It was so bad that I had to leave the majority of the meal.  So, you’re probably wondering why it was so bad?  Well, here goes:

1. No peanuts – instead sesame seeds (not an ingredient typically used in pad thai)
2. It did not taste like tamarind had been used as the base for the sauce, but rather a more Chinese noodle tasting dish
3. The chicken was overcooked
4. The prawns were cold
5. No spring onions
6. Hardly any proper pad thai noodles, and instead over half the meal used white, very thin noodles (polystyrene like in texture)
7. No eggs

Need I continue?!

The waitor serving us was very friendly and asked if there was a problem when he saw that I had barely touched the meal…I explained the reasons and he was very apologetic.  He returned a few minutes later and offered me a free drink for the inconvenience…this was a nice offer however, I had expected (and would have preferred) to be offered a different meal or for them not to charge for the pad thai.  I decided to have another mojito as that had been good, however, when the bill came I noticed I had been given a cheaper mojito drink so the value wasn’t really the same!

Euan’s meal had also been disappointing, certainly not a usual vindaloo!  I was surprised and disappointed that the chef did not make the effort to come and speak with me himself or explain perhaps that they cooked their own variation of pad thai!?  It makes you wonder if they really care whether customers are pleased.

Despite the location being beautiful, I would not recommend this as a place for travellers to eat at…perhaps they are being too ambitious with such a varied and large menu.  In addition it was a pricey option and when you’ve eaten such great street food and £2 almuerzo’s it makes you wonder why a chef would put dishes on the menu that they cannot execute!


CazK said...

Here is a great and incredibly simple pad thai recipe which tastes authentic and is totally yummy... Serves 2
-Heat 3tbls oil over low heat in a wok, add 1 clove of garlic and fry until fragrant.
-Add 1 small thinly sliced chicken breast, about 50g of chopped tofu and stir until chicken is cooked.
-Break in 1 egg and spead it over the chicken mix
-Add 250g of rice noodles, stir until tender.
-Season with 2tbl fish sauce, 2 tbl oyster sauce and 1tsp sugar.
-Add bean sprouts and chinese chives or spirng onions.
-Serve with peanuts, lime, chilli sauce, fresh bean spouts or veg etc.


Catherine Feltham said...

awesome - thanks! deffo better to make own or be in a good thai place!

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