Remember when Taikang Lu
was pretty much just Kommune
? Well, it's not like that anymore.
I haven't been since it was just Kommune but as far as I can gather there is a bunch of different ways into "Taikang Lu." To find Tai Thai, get your cab to drop you at the "248" entrance, walk into the place, and then take the second left
little alleyway. It’s the second or third one down. Tai Thai is number "17," although I think the numbers stopping making sense in Taikang Lu some months ago.
What is it:
The new Thai bar/ restaurant from one of the property barons of Taikang Lu (he's also got a yoga studio and an art gallery), Tai Thai serves fine Thai food, and is angling to be one of the top three Thai restaurants in the city. A modest and rickety wooden staircase (and small bar on first floor) leads up to a wonderfully refurbished brick house dining space, two intimate patios on either side of the main room, and probably one of the nicest 8-person VIP dining rooms in Shanghai (replete with private patio).
The food is prepared by a Thai chef imported from Taiwan after doing an eight-year stint on the island. Their specialties are seafood-based, with the crab items being their most expensive offerings. But they also recommend their beef stir-fries, and you can't go wrong with a nice chicken curry. They've also got a wide selection of soup, salads, and vegetarian dishes. It’s light, clean, and healthy Thai fair as you might expect from someone who also runs a Yoga studio.
Lush. Exotic. But still homey. Patterns and brick, dim lighting setting off the gold metalware on the seats and tables. Coming from a guy that doesn't really care about classy atmosphere, even I have to admit that Tai Thai is a really beautiful restaurant.
It's still in its "soft opening" phase (they're refinishing one of the dining rooms) but come summertime the patios at Tai Thai, I would imagine, are going to be really popular. Second-floor intimate patio seating on Taikang Lu.... surely to be a hit with both visitors and residents.
The VIP room. It's on the third floor, and guests scale another rickety wooden staircase in what now seems like a little ancient brick castle to get there. The private room seats eight, and also opens onto its own little patio area on the third floor, good for getting some fresh air after dinner -- drinks and smokes after a nice meal.
Yeah, it's not cheap. Definitely up there with the other expensive Thai places. 48rmb to 68rmb for appetizers and soups (satay chicken, spring rolls, shrimp and spicy pork salads), Seafood and curry starts at around 80rmb and go up to 168rmb and 188rmb for a single dish. I recall a "fresh shrimp vermicelli" being an expensive standout. Their mains -- stir-fry dishes mostly -- are 68rmb to 88rmb. Vegetarian dishes at 48rmb. Expect to spend hundreds, but it's a real nice restaurant and it's on Taikang Lu so there it is...
Great for dates. Great for people who start sentences like this: "Hey, I know this really nice new Thai restaurant...". Really great for impressing guests. Really great for an expensive dinner with whomever you like to eat expensive dinners with. They're catering to both Chinese and Westerners but definitely the moneyed of each demographic. Definitely those who are forever seeking out "the new" in Shanghai.