If you’ve been to Singapore before or are a resident there, the words Orchard Towers may bring out a snicker or a smirk from you. If you’re a single male tourist travelling in a taxi in Singapore, your taxi driver might suggest that you visit Orchard Towers for the “pretty ladies” (it happened to my colleague). If you’re a single female traveller (or even a small group of women), I’d suggest that you look elsewhere rather than at the clubs at Orchard Towers for some nightlife. I won’t go into extensive explanations though when Wikipedia already does it so well. After the first meal that morning with Ivan, we were obviously comfortable enough with each other that he took us all here for a Thai meal that evening. This time we were joined by Cheryl of thebakerwhocooks, who made the fifth diner in our party.
If you take the escalators to the top floor of Orchard Towers, just outside the Crazy Horse club is Jane Thai, a small unassuming little eatery that would be our destination. We grabbed one of the tables situated outside the restaurant (but still within the mall) for a full view of the comings and goings at the club – a game of Girl or Guy? will naturally begin as the night progresses!
To drink? Well, a coconut please, just as I remember from Thailand. Coconuts are just as popular here in Singapore as in Thailand, it seems, and they all retail for $3 wherever you go. Good on them for including a spoon by default – no better way to get that soft flesh out after you drink all the water.
The food came out very soon after ordering. One of my favourite dishes was ordered – a beef with basil and chilli. I adore Thai basil and I love to see how this dish changes so subtly from restaurant to restaurant.
The showstopper on our table was the big flaming tureen of tom kha gai, the coconutty cousin of tom yum. This was a creamy and spicy soup with loads of chicken within – slurp!
Fried prawn cakes were moist bouncy bundles in a crisp outer shell – I adored this and ate the one leftover on the plate.
The garlicky and peppery sausage was very Thai indeed though I wish it were like the very heavily spiced version I had in Chiang Mai and of which I still dream!
A classic dish, though I had no idea that it was also part of Thai cuisine. Bean sprouts are excellent when fried with bits of salted fish.
Our carbs came in the form of olive rice, a dark and savoury mixture which came with toasted cashews, sliced shallots, and sliced chillies on the side. When all mixed together, this was a ridiculously delicious dish that I would have happily eaten by itself. Does anyone know what kind of olives are used for this dish?
I can’t remember much of this grilled squid; I do remember that it was tender. I think I was eating too much rice.
It was clear that there wasn’t enough food for all of us and Ivan proceeded to order some more. Another coconut milky delight awaited us in the green chicken curry – more soupy than a usual curry and rather than putting it on rice, we ladled it into soup bowls and drank it up.
Fried chicken wings will never be turned down. I have no idea what their technique is but Asians seem to have the art of frying a chicken wing down pat. No batter (any flour?) but the skin on these was still gorgeously crisp. Once again, I think I ate more than my fair share…
The long beans were fine, nothing special. They were stir fried with some garlic and oyster sauce.
Finally, at the end of this long line of dishes, was this grilled pork neck. I absolutely adore this dish (this cut is so tender when grilled) but thought that the sauce lacked the usual fiery punch I was used to.
The grand total for the five of us was $160 – or about £80 (I think we had two of the olive rice and quite a few drinks). Not as cheap as hawker food but we did plough our way through quite a few dishes. And really, you can’t put a price on the visual entertainment on offer!
If your hotel is located along Orchard Road and you’re looking for some late night eats and the draw of the multiple 24 hour McDonalds and Starbucks somehow eludes you, may I suggest Jane Thai? We actually returned the next day for late night drinks and excellent chicken scratchings. I do believe they’re open until at least 2am each day.
400 Orchard Road
Orchard Towers, #04-30