I must admit that Thai cuisine is not usually something I would go for as many restaurants that I have tried locally tend to make the dishes too sweet for my liking. So when I had heard excellent reviews about a newish Thai restaurant in Kitsilano, Unchai, where the food is not so much on the sweeter side, I became very interested to try their food.
We went to Unchai Restaurant for a pre-fireworks dinner last week. I had heard that the restaurant is small, seating about 16 people only so I made it a point to arrive there right when they opened for dinner service at 5 pm.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t checked their social pages before going as Unchai announced that they were to open at 5:30 pm that day. I decided to put my name on their waitlist outside the door. Since they don’t seat your group unless all parties are there, we decided to just sit tight and patiently wait until they would open.
It turns out that they had a large catering order and I could see from outside that the staff were working very hard to fulfill it. Their space is small and they even needed to use some of the dining tables as work space to put that order together.
At 5:30 pm, an SUV pulled up to the side of the restaurant and the staff promptly loaded all food into the SUV. All the while, a small group of eager customers awaited patiently outside for the restaurant to start dinner service.
What I Tried
After they were done with the catering order, they started calling out names on the waitlist. We were first on the list and got seated promptly after. The restaurant soon became full for the first round of dinner service.
Fried Chicken Wings
The fried chicken wings were outstanding. The batter on the outside was a bit thicker but nonetheless deliciously crispy while the inside was superbly moist and tender. These are a must-try.
Roti with Curry Sauce
The roti was also excellent being thin and crispy. I enjoyed the fact that they were not very greasy unlike those served at other restaurants. The green curry dip was a nice touch.
Fried Rice with Chicken
This was Thai-style fried rice with chicken, cherry tomato, gai lan, green onion, fried shallots, fried garlic, and egg. It was tasty, not very greasy, loaded and exhibited wok hei.
Boat Noodles Soup
One of their signature dishes made with pork meat, pork balls, pork blood, coriander, green onion, bean sprout, and celery. I was impressed with the number of ingredients in the soup and the flavourful soup.
I went with the rice sheet noodles which had a nice smooth and silky texture.
Unchai Curry Chicken
Another winner in my books. It was a flavourful Red Thai curry based that was loaded with ingredients: gai lan, long beans, Thai eggplant, baby corn, bell pepper, and Thai basil. It was really nice to see that it had so much substance rather than being mostly curry.
Thai Ice Tea
I am usually afraid of Thai Ice Tea because other places simply have made it too sweet but Unchai’s version was on point. Refreshing and with a reasonable amount of sweetness.
Unchai Mango Sticky Rice
Mango ice cream, fresh mango, butterfly pea sticky rice, peanut, and coconut crumble and coconut milk. The butterfly sticky rice was warm. I enjoyed the different textures; it was a nice finish to the meal.
Service was excellent, efficient and friendly. The food came in a timely manner and I found the servers to be knowledgeable.
I really enjoyed the dishes we tried at Unchai which were bold, flavourful and well-executed. The fried chicken wings are bomb! and I would definitely recommend them. I’d be interested in trying more of their dishes. Rating: 4/5