Located on the busy lowerground level of Pacific Place, Thai Basil features an open layout with rows of tables leading to the open kitchen. While the dark ceiling, walls and tables hint at a hushed dining experience, the proximity between the tables creates a buzzing atmosphere that is more suited to a lunch with friends than an intimate dinner. There’s not much of a view to speak of, but the open kitchen makes for interesting dining entertainment and the location is ideal for people-watching.
You’ll find almost all of your Thai cuisine favourites on Thai Basil’s menu, from fresh papaya salad to classic pad thai noodles. For appetisers, the Thai skewers (HK$168) offer good variety, with char-grilled scallop, prawn, mussel, squid, octopus, chicken satay, pork neck and pineapple skewers. The seafood options are fresh, while the chicken and pork are tender and juicy. The crispy salmon salad (HK$82), on the other hand, is disappointing. The salmon skin is chewy rather than crispy, and the flavours and textures of the salad components, though delicious individually, do not go well together. The soft shell crab tempura rice paper rolls (HK$98), while not quintessentially Thai, is a delicious addition to the menu. The bitter sweet orange dipping sauce is on the sweet side, but serves as a light and fresh complement to the fried crab. The wok-fried king tiger prawn in Thai curry (HK$198) is also too sweet and not spicy enough. The curry lacks the rich, heady flavour that comes with well-seasoned curries and the overall effect is bland and disappointing. The vegetarian fried organic brown rice (HK$78), however, is a winner. The rice is topped with a piece of tofu so soft it is reminiscent of the Chinese sweet tofu dessert. The texture of the rice is just right, and the good mix of flavours make this a light yet filling dish.
The wine selection at Thai Basil caters to the casual wine drinker. The wines stay within the lower price range and the staff is not very knowledgeable about the varietals on offer, but the selection is generally drinkable and well-liked.
Given the popularity of the restaurant, the staff at Thai Basil is incredibly busy but even so, are surprisingly friendly and helpful. They are personable and take the time to make recommendations that would enrich your dining experience.
Dinner for two averages HK$500, excluding wine. Keep in mind that portions are large and ideal for sharing.