Monday, October 20, 2008

Restaurant review: Siam Royal Thai Cuisine in Clemson

I am primarily writing this review in the hopes that someone Googling for a review of this restaurant will come across this post so that they may avoid the mistake that I made. That mistake would be eating at the new Thai restaurant in Clemson.

For a little background, about a year and a half ago, the shopping center where the old Thai restaurant in Clemson used to be burned down. This shopping center has been rebuilt since then and a new Thai restaurant (or perhaps the latest incarnation of the old restaurant) opened up around a month ago. Being a lover of Thai food, a love which I developed at the Surin restaurants in Birmingham, I was quite excited about this. A few weeks ago my classmate/neighbor went there for lunch and came back raving about it, so later that week I went up there for dinner with said neighbor, as well as three other friends.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was nothing to write home about, but certainly wasn't bad. It is fairly small and there were only a few other customers in there at the time. We sat down and began looking at the menu. It had a pretty typical Thai menu and seemed to offer most of the "traditional" dishes that one would look for. Right away we noticed that the prices were pretty high with most dinner entrees costing around $13-$15. The lunch menu isn't much cheaper and there few options under $10. Since masaman curry is what I usually get, and the gold standard by which I judge Thai restaurants, I ordered that, though I did ask them to hold the pineapple (I have never seen pineapple in masaman before coming to South Carolina; I don't get it).

It didn't take very long for our food to arrive, along with our disappointment. One friend, who was the first to get her food, ordered yellow curry. What arrived was a reddish-looking bowl of soupy curry covered with a coat of red oil. My curry arrived and did not look much better. I have never made curry from scratch, but I do understand that a proper curry does not have a layer of oil floating on top. My curry was actually fairly bland-tasting, had beef instead of the chicken that I ordered, and didn't have any cashews--one of the key ingredient of masaman as far as I'm concerned. The friend who recommended the restaurant ordered pad see ew, his typical dish, and again raved about it. I didn't taste it, but I did observe that the portion size looked pretty small for $13.

The friend who ordered yellow curry found hers, in spite of being labelled "mild," to be very spicy, too spicy for her, in fact. She tried to eat it, but really found it to be too much for her. She called the waitress over, said that she found the dish to be too hot and asked if she could order something else. She ordered some crab angel things (cream cheese and crab fried in a wonton) which were pretty good. Anyways, when the bill came, said friend found that she was charged for both her entree and appetizer. She asked mentioned this to the manager/owner (I could not tell exactly who it was), indicating that the curry was much spicier than she had been led to believe and that it wasn't what she ordered, and asked why she had been charged for both. His response was that the food had to be thrown away and that it was just the same as if she had eaten it. He grudgingly conceded to taking it off the menu with the warning that this would be the only time he would do that. I worked in a restaurant for 3 years in high school and have pretty good sympathy for restaurant staff. However, I also have pretty decent standards for customer service at restaurants and I found this to be pretty abysmal "service." Even if the food had been good, I'm pretty sure that most of us would have thought twice about going back there to eat.

Anyways, to sum up, Siam Royal Thai Cuisine really did not have any redeeming qualities. The food was not good, was over priced, had poor portions for the price, and has bad customer service (though I will say that our waitress was nice). Like I said, I hope that someone will read this review and avoid wasting their money there, or perhaps it will inspire someone at the restaurant to step things up and solve these problems. Clemson could use a good Thai restaurant, and I guess we will have to keep waiting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning. I actually googled a review of this place and your page came up. I just want some decent local Thai food!