We were on a quest to find spicy food, the kind of cuisine with kick that makes you sweat and no longer feel your tongue. This led us to Aroi Thai, an unassuming Thai restaurant in the 6th district.
When arriving at Aroi Thai, you might check the address twice wondering if it’s the right place. There’s nothing flashy about the facade out front that would scream this is that awesome Thai place you heard about. That’s because the Aroi Thai experience isn’t about the looks, it’s about freaking. good. food.
Aroi Thai’s setting is a transformed Beisl, complete with the wood-paneling and the bar in the middle. It’s refreshing to be in a completely unhipsterised place that’s spending less time looking the part, and just doing their thing. It’s even got the look of an insider tip, which you wouldn’t walk into unless you know how amazing the food is.
The customers packed around every table in the restaurant know this as many of them are regulars. Their laidback body language and casual banter with the staff make us feel instantly at ease. As did the charismatic and welcoming couple, Eric (the owner) and Shazel.
We squealed a little when we spotted the milky-deliciousness that is Thai Iced Tea on the menu (score!). We slurped one down while Shazel worked out what meal on the menu was for us. Interesting – she asked us what kind of food we liked rather than what we’d like from the menu. We liked the approach.
At Aroi Thai, they like to get to know their customers and tailor each customer’s order to the flavours of their individual desires. Don’t like mushrooms? They’re outta’ there! Want beef instead of pork? No prob, Bob! Don’t eat meat? They’ve got…wait for it…a complete vegan menu!
We started out with the Tom Yum soup, which turns out to be an emotional experience, as it’s one of the best Tom Yum we’ve ever had. Shazel brings us our second Thai Iced Tea (we tried the lime one this time) and asks what our main course is gonna be. We tell her to bring on the spice! Like, spicy spice. So spicy you cry spice. In other words, Thai-style spice.
This time the tears weren’t emotional. Our “Thai spicy” red curry lives up to its name and passes the true test – it has a rich and round flavour while it proceeds to set our faces on fire.
We feel like it wouldn’t be right to leave without trying dessert so…sticky rice with mango covered in cream sauce happened!
Eric and Shazel explain the orgins of the name: ‘aroi mak,’ means delicious. You’ve got to be confident when you name your restaurant delicious. But once you slurp at the Thai curry here, you’ll agree that their confidence is not mistaken.
No matter what you order here, we’re confident it will be “aroi mak”!