Thai Elephant is a run-of-the-mill, westernized South-East Asian eatery across from Terroni on Queen. It offers all of the usual dishes you'd expect from your local Spring Rolls outlet, and they deliver!
The darkly-painted dining room is in dire need of a facelift, but the service is warm, helpful and representative of traditional Thai hospitality.
Their paper fold-out menu is a resounding flashback to Thai dishes first introduced to Toronto over a decade ago. Coconut shrimp is butterflied, coated in shredded sweet coconut and deep fried. Although appealing to the eye, it's bland and could use more spices or a twist of lime juice for balance, instead of the overly-sweet honey dipping sauce that comes with it.
Mango salad ($8) with thick strips of sweet red onions, slivers of bell pepper, peanuts and toasted cashews comes doused in an acidic vinaigrette. The sharpness of the vinaigrette is a nice light appetizer for the carb-centric meal to follow.
Curry Pad Thai ($10) is a generous portion of flat rice noodles, tofu and chicken thickly coated in a powdery curry sauce. The noodles are lacking flavour and could be easily enlivened with a dash of sweet chili or blend of savoury Thai spices.
Similarly, Green Curry Chicken ($9) with mixed veggies and strips of chicken breast comes in a sauce that seems straight out of a packet and directly served onto our plate. The accompanying bowl of steamed rice, however, is better than most, as it comes with a yin yang mix of both white jasmine and purple wild rice.
Many may turn their noses up at pseudo-Asian cuisine, but I can always appreciate the merits of a good General Tsao's chicken or sweet and sour pork. So, while I may not ascribe to Thai Elephant's claim to "Authentic Thai Cuisine," it may work for those accustomed to Westernized Asian franchises and prefer their Thai cuisine on the milder side.
Photos by Francis Jonas Yap.