Friday, January 22, 2016
Noi Thai fête marked by food, drink and naughty puppets
Imagery of Thai shadow puppets line the space designated as the “inner palace” at Noi Thai Cuisine, with an interior modeled on the concept of the Thai royal palace.
BY NADINE KAM
Noi Thai Cuisine hosted a grand opening Celebration last night, with festivities continuing through Jan. 30 to benefit Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
It was a fun evening if you consider there was plenty of food and drink to go around in the beautiful space, Thai music and dance, and interactive puppetry, even if one puppet got a little out of hand in feeling up the guests. Naughty!
Ten percent of all proceeds from meals through Jan. 29 will be donated to Kapiolani. Then from 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 30, local celebs will be the servers, with all gratuities turned over to Kapiolani.
The restaurant is the first upscale establishment from the Bai Tong family of six restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. The original Bai Tong in Seattle was a favorite stop for Thai Airways crews at Sea-Tac airport.
During a trip to Hawaii, co-owner Chadillada “Noi” Lapangkura fell in love with the islands and longed to bring her family’s Thai dishes here, envisioning a royal experience. The restaurant is build with the idea of the Thai palace in mind. The space is divided into outer, central and inner palace spaces, including a protected “War Room,” which serves as a private dining/meeting room, as well as a Pavilion Room festooned with golden bo leaves symbolic of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha found enlightenment.
Minimums apply for meals in two private rooms, the Golden Pavilion and the War Room, accommodating eight to 10 people, with advance reservations
Among Thai specialties offered during the grand opening were egg yolk sweets tong yod (golden drops) and foy tong (golden threads). Their golden color symbolizes wealth, fame and fortune. Those flowers are carved from vegetables, by the way. And the sweets look a lot like those I saw when I was in Bangkok.
A little peek here.
There is also a chef’s table that offers an up-close view of the kitchen, where co-owner/executive chef Settapong “Pag” Nilket, head chef Jutamas Kanjanamai and sous chef Jamrus Singduang aim to present cuisine worthy of Thailand’s royal family, for whom they have cooked. Those who request this glass-enclosed private room will enjoy a special off-the-menu meal prepared for up to six guests.
Since testing the Noi Thai concept in Hawaii beginning with its soft opening in October, the family is proceeding to open next month in Downtown Seattle, near Pike Place Market, and a third is planned for San Francisco later this year.
Noi Thai Cuisine is on the third floor at the Royal Hawaiian Center Building C, above Cheesecake Factory, at 2301 Kalakaua Ave. Open 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. or lunch, 5 to 11 p.m. for dinner, and 3 p.m. to closing for happy hour. Call (808) 664-4039 or visit opentable.com. Information: Noithaicuisine.com
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.