Sweet, sour, and spicy; traits that are unmistakably found in Thai cuisine. Even just thinking about the harmony between these flavors makes my mouth water, and I have never been one to say no to trying out a new Thai restaurant, especially when it is within the vicinity of Alabang.
We decided to try out Just Thai, which has been around for a while, situated in one of the new dining hot spots, Molito. Coming from a long day at work, Thai food was perfect since, similar to Filipino food, it is heavy on the carbs (and who doesn’t love carbs, right?!).
The restaurant itself is a small spot, capable of seating around 30 to 40 customers at a given time. The decorations are minimal and the long tables are adorned with a patterned tablecloth that spans the middle from end to end. I personally didn’t mind that the interiors didn’t scream Thai, since this IS a restaurant, hence I’d rather let the food do the talking.
We started off with the Crispy Thai Spring Rolls (Php 260) which very closely resemble our local Lumpiang Shanghai. Spiced ground pork rolled in lumpia wrapper and accompanied by sweet and sour dipping sauce, it was a tasty dish, but nothing unique and certainly forgettable. I believe that they could have made the dish more distinctly Thai, maybe by incorporating some Thai basil into the wrap, or by using tamarind somewhere in the dipping sauce. For future visits, other appetizers to take a look at are the Green Papaya Salad (Php 210) and the Crispy Catfish with Green Mango (Php 300).
For our mains, we chose the Seafood in Basil (Php 280) accompanied by the Bagoong Rice (Php 250). The Bagoong Rice had the standard fare: green mango strips, scrambled egg, shrimp paste, small pieces of fried fish, shallots, and a little sliced red chili. At first, the serving seemed quite small and I wasn’t quite sure if it’d be good for 2. Upon mixing (which the waiter does for you, kudos!), I wasn’t worried any more; it was more than ample.
The rice itself was tasty and definitely Thai, which was a welcome change from the first dish we had. Though not as memorable as some other versions of Bagoong Rice we’ve had at other restaurants, this was a solid rice dish which I wouldn’t mind eating again. The balance between the sweet, sour, salty, with a little spice, as well as the different textures present in the Just Thai Bagoong Rice make it worth the space in your belly.
For the Seafood in Basil, they make the effort to ask the level of spice that the customer wants (kudos again for this!). Knowing Micah wouldn’t enjoy it if it were too spicy, we went with the “mild”. Upon tasting it, we knew we’d made the right decision; the “mild” in Just Thai is equivalent to the spicy of the normal Filipino palate.
A medley of seafood (squid, shrimp, fish, and mussels) cooked in coconut cream garnished with crispy basil, the creaminess and heat compliment each other very well. The basil was a nice touch, bringing some much-needed crunch to an otherwise soft dish. Like the Bagoong Rice, it was simply okay. I wouldn’t label it a must-try, and on our next visit, we might just try the Chicken in Green Curry (Php 380) or the Beef in Red Curry (Php 430).
Our Thai adventures wouldn’t be complete without trying their Pad Thai (Php 280). Same as the Bagoong Rice, it comes to your table deconstructed and is only mixed together when you are ready to eat it. I am going to go straight to the point on this one — their Pad Thai is a home run! The noodles are super gummy and flavorful. The seasoning is spot-on, and the texture added by the crushed peanuts is absolutely awesome. The lime juice to top it all off brings the necessary acidity to bring all the rich components of the dish together. If there is one weak point, I’d say that it could have used more shrimp (there were only 2 or 3 small pieces total), though to be fair, I’m already nitpicking.
Overall, our Just Thai experience was a mixed bag. The food we got to try was from opposite ends of the spectrum. There was a forgettable dish (Spring Rolls), a dish that was simply okay (Seafood in Basil), a dish I wouldn’t mind eating again (Bagoong Rice), and a dish that I can safely say made my night (Pad Thai). The menu isn’t extensive, and the food lacks the genuine Thai food factor. The service was top-notch, though, and the waiters showed themselves to be knowledgeable on the products they were selling.
Would I recommend our readers to eat at Just Thai? The answer is “it depends”. If you want to be able to close your eyes with every bite and feel like you are in Thailand, then no, probably not; the dishes lack the authenticity needed for this type of experience. But if all you need is your fix of delicious Pad Thai, then the answer is a resounding YES. The Pad Thai is excellent and well-worth spending your hard-earned money on! I promise you won’t regret it.
Was your Just Thai experience the same as ours? Was it totally the opposite? Did this article help you make a decision with regard to eating at Just Thai? Feel free to leave your suggestions and reactions in the Comments section! Until next time!