Every once in a while we take a break from checking out newly opened restaurants to revisit a classic. We sometimes just feel like reasonable assurance of a good meal, and we also want to test whether the kind of restaurant that’s been around for 10+ years has still got it.
SukkhoThai is one such classic Nanaimo restaurant. It’s located on Commercial Street just opposite Diana Krall Plaza. Not sure? It’s the restaurant with the big see-through shutters. Now you know the one, don’t you? They’ve been serving up (actually) authentic Thai cuisine there for something like 13 years.
Our visit this time was for dinner with friends. Eating with friends is obviously great, but it also gave us an opportunity to order a variety of dishes for everyone to share. We LOVE eating this way.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we were quickly greeted, vaccine-checked, and taken to our table. The restaurant has an interesting layout, with tables at a couple of different levels, open ceilings revealing the ducting, and many of the tables up against the aforementioned shutters. It was a quiet evening so we chose a table near the shutters with lots of natural light. There was plenty of fun décor to fill the space, but we couldn’t help but feel the place could use some sprucing up. Many of the fixtures and furniture looked a little on the old and worn side. We’re not big on the plastic tablecloths either.
Our server arrived to take drink orders. Unfortunately the selection was quite poor due to a number of stock-outs. Our server explained this was due to Covid-related disruptions affecting their suppliers. We’d hoped to have a few Thai beers (maybe Singha?) but we won’t hold it against SukkhoThai this time as it was a temporary issue and out of their control.
SukkhoThai’s entrees menu is essentially broken down into noodle dishes, rice dishes, curries, and stir-fries. There are also a number of appetizers, soups, and salads on offer. We felt the menu was right-sized, meaning there are not so many dishes that we couldn’t trust the ingredients to be fresh, but not so few that selection felt limited. Tonight we ordered Lanna Bites to start, followed by Thai Fried Rice, both Massamun and Green Curries, and the SukkhoThai Noodles.
The Lanna Bites came first (obvie). The name of the dish refers to a type of Northern Thai cuisine. The centrepiece of the dish was a chicken and tomato chili, served with lettuce, cucumber, and fried wonton wrappers upon which to eat it. These were fun to share, thought the chicken chili was sort of soupy, making it slightly unmanageable. Wear your bibs!
Next up were our mains and wow-oh-wow there was some good food in here. The SukkhoThai Noodles are rice noodles with veg and egg absolutely slathered with peanut sauce. We ordered ours with beef to add some oomph. These were rich and delicious, but again, you may need a bib as they are a mess.
The two curries were also quite good. Both the Green and Massamun curries are mild coconut curries and we ordered both with chicken. The green curry consisted of bamboo shoots, eggplant, and peppers immersed in green curry coconut milk and served with rice. The Massamum (the Thai word for “Muslim” – who knew?) curry was potatoes and carrots (and other veg) with peanuts in coconut milk. Nice. Both were served with delightfully fragrant jasmine rice to soak up the curry sauce.
Finally, we had the Thai Fried Rice (pictured above). Yowza is this dish a winner. To look at it, it looks like any other fried rice, just with a pile of Thai basil on it. (And one of those neat little carrot flowers.) But it’s a sleeper. We’re not sure what the “Thai spices” are that the menu lists as included in this dish, but they rock. This is one of the most rich and gobble-able rice dishes we’ve had. Tremendous. We cant wait to try it again.
After finishing, our server encouraged us to take our time, and provided a carafe of water. Nice touch to not rush us.
Our bill for the food (no drinks) and a modest tip came to $97. We consider this to be good value. Roughly $25 per person for food of this calibre is solid, and in fact makes us think SukkhoThai would be an excellent takeout choice. Certainly, they push that side of their business hard on their website.
SukkhoThai isn’t perfect. The restaurant is a bit tired-looking and the in-house dining might take a backseat to the take-out and delivery side of the business. Still, the service is good, and the food is excellent. The prices are surprisingly reasonable too. In short, SukkhoThai’s still got it. We recommend it and we’ll see you there!