Thai House Cuisine (Kingston)

Since 1999, Thai House Cuisine has served Bangkok style dishes to diners across Ontario. Blooming into four locations (Toronto, Mississauga, Kingston, and Belleville), the Toronto location was eventually sold, allowing the founder to focus on the others. Their Kingston restaurant was an ideal stopping point during the Tasting Thailand Tour between Toronto and Ottawa.  

For the indecisive, the appetizer assortment ($14.99) offers a great variety: tons of crowd pleasing fried items including lightly dusted calamari, tasty crispy vegetable spring rolls stuffed with thinly sliced vegetables and glass noodles, and peppery shrimp wrapped in spring roll sheets; simple egg, tofu and vegetable fresh rolls wrapped in rice paper; slightly dry chicken satay skewers; and a refreshing cucumber salad. A nice starter, snack or nibbling plate.

There’s something magical about Thai soups – a medley of ingredients simmered together for long periods creating a cacophony of flavours. The coconut chicken soup ($6.99) was the best part of the meal: a surprisingly light broth, despite the coconut milk, balanced with a slight acidity from lemon and kaffir lime leaves. Don’t be fooled, the milky liquid still has a spicy kick, with the galangal (an ingredient similar to ginger root), creating a throat cleansing sting. Do yourself a favour and save some of the broth to spoon over steamed rice.

Another great addition to rice is the beef tamarind curry ($13.99). Generally, I prefer sticking to chicken, shrimp or vegetable based curries as I find flank steak slices often become tough and tasteless. Thai House Cuisine uses brisket instead, which undoubtedly takes longer to cook, but produces a tender meat that actually soaks up flavours.

Despite the menu displaying three chilies beside the spicy chicken ($12.99), the stir fry wasn’t too hard to handle given the sauce incorporates a sweetness to mellow the heat. We were warned that the restaurant’s dishes have been toned down for the Canadian palette, so if you’re like me and would want this spicier, don’t be afraid to ask for the full-fledged version.

Using the same sauce as the chicken, but seemingly more garlicky, the spicy fish ($16.99) smells amazing as it’s presented. Served as thick boneless filets, the trout remains moist with enough sauce for flavour, but not swimming in the glaze to overpower the seafood. Be warned, this is a substantial dish, so share or be prepared for take-out.

The stir fried garlic pork ($12.99) didn’t have as much garlic as anticipated, but rather a slight peppery taste. Overall, it was a tasty dish, but perhaps cutting the pork into chunks rather than slivers would help the meat become juicier.

With all the protein rich dishes, it was nice to have a mixture of stir fried vegetables ($11.99) and an omelette to provide balance. The khai jeaw, a Thai omelette, is thin and pan fried in a lot of oil so the edges crisp up and becomes fluffy. With nothing mixed into the egg, except for spices, the plain omelette also pairs well with pad Thai.

Their pad Thai ($12.99) has a slight sourness from the tamarind but isn't overly pronounced. Incorporating the typical toppings - shrimp, chicken, tofu, egg, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts – the rice noodles had nice flavours, although could use a bit more “wok hay”. 

Growing up Chinese, I’m accustomed to the heavy grain based East Asian desserts – rice, beans and glutinous flour are common building blocks to our sweets. Thailand is known for their coconut rice ($3.50). Served warm and creamy, it’s mildly sweet with a slight salty current mixed into the coconut. Boy, we were in for a treat! Thai House’s owner was able to procure some of the best mangos I’ve ever tasted in Canada – the fresh juicy sweet ripe fruit went splendidly with the sticky warm rice.

Another great sweet ending is a glass of oliang (iced coffee) or Thai tea. Both are enriched with other ingredients: sesame seeds, soy beans or corn for the coffee; or star anise, tamarind or cinnamon with the tea. The drink isn’t a simple brew-and-consume either – the coffee is often filtered through a “coffee sock” and the tea poured from pot to pot at great heights to create a smoother product. A sweetened condensed milk can be added creating beautiful layers as presented.  

It’s safe to say my taste buds left fully satisfied: spicy, sour, sweet and salty … how can you eat a meal with just one?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Kingston, Canada
 Address: 185 Sydenham Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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