Monday, March 26, 2007

Orange Moon

Yeah, I love Thai food.

Even so, I fully intended to take a break from posting about Thai restaurants for a while. Last week, I wrote about Tiger Tiger. Not long before that, I wrote about Modrý zub Noodle Bar.

Time for some variety.

Then, G said he was coming back to Prague for the weekend and invited the gang out for dinner. I was enthusiastic at the prospect of a good post with pictures of many different dishes. Oh yeah, and seeing my friends.

On Friday afternoon, I sent G an SMS text message.

“Where and when?”

"Orange Moon. 7,” he replied.


Requesting a change of venue based on my need for new material would not fly very far. Besides, these posts more or less follow my life, and not the other way around.

So, here we are again.

Orange Moon has a great, central location on Rámová, off Dlouhá, near Old Town Square. It doesn’t just do Thai cuisine. There are also Burmese, Indian, and Indonesian dishes on the menu. The internet version of the menu is only in Czech, but they do have an English language version at the restaurant.

The place pulls in a ton of expats and tourists. Two of the three tables next to ours in the upstairs dining room were occupied by groups of young American women. The central location in the tourist zone is one factor. Another is that the restaurant is around the corner from a big youth hostel.

There is also a dining room downstairs. Both get pretty full on a Friday night. I'd say I like it upstairs a bit better because of the brighter lighting. Downstairs is better for dates.

We ordered a round of starters. I got vegetable samosas (80 CZK). They were OK, nothing too special. There are two to an order. The outer shells were crispy. Inside, it was mostly potato and a little bit bland. They would have benefited from some yoghurt or mango chutney.

G and H got chicken sate with peanut sauce (145 CZK). The chicken was nicely marinated, But, it was then so overcooked, probably due to reheating, that it was getting close to chicken jerky. It wasn’t too bad, though, especially with the good, nutty dipping sauce.

M and L split the meat-filled spring rolls with Thai chili sauce (Pow Pyet Sot) for 140 CZK. I didn’t try them, but they do look a little greasy in the picture. I didn’t ask how they were, but all disappeared.

Most of us drank the cold Pilsner Urquell they have on tap. A half liter is 45 CZK. A .2 liter glass of Muller Thurgau is 40 CZK. They have nonalcoholic Radegast for 35 CZK. Just so you know, they also have a 10 CZK cover charge per person.

For a main course, I got the Thai Beef Salad (Yam Nuea) for 190 CZK. The waitress asked if I wanted rice with it when I ordered. I said no. It would have been a bit strange to have this cold salad on top of hot rice.

Anyway, I quite liked it. The dominant flavor was fish sauce, but it also had mint, cilantro, onion, tomato, cucumber, and red chili pepper. It was pretty spicy. The only real problem was the quality of the beef. Or the lack thereof. It was very tough.

G ordered the Beef Vindaloo for 195 CZK. Jasmine rice is an extra 30 CZK. The menu said it was spicy and put three flames next to it. I tried a bite, and waited for the fire to erupt. Didn’t happen. G said it was spicy, but it was more of a cumulative effect. He liked it. As for me, I’m not a vindaloo fan.

H tried the fried Singapore noodles with pork and vegetables for 160 CZK. She couldn’t finish it and a few of us passed the plate around. We all thought it was excellent. The meat had a wonderful, smoky, charred flavor that comes from cooking over flame. I’m not exactly sure how they do it, though.

L got the Green Curry Chicken (Kaeng Khiao Whan Kai) for 185 CZK with jasmine rice (30 CZK). I had just a small taste. It was a decent version. It comes with basil, bamboo shoots, eggplant (aubergine), green peas, and coconut milk.

M had the beef with Thai basil and chili pepper (Phad Khi Mao) for 195 CZK. I tried some. It had a lot of basil flavor. I only had a little, but it wasn’t so spicy. Again, the beef was tough and chewy. Like shoe leather. They get a lot of the flavors right, but they need better beef.

The final bill for seven of us, which included four starters, 14 beers, and three glasses of wine, was 2825 CZK, not including tip. Not too bad.

Now, I fully intend for this to be my last Thai restaurant post for a while. Then again, the road to Prague’s Thai restaurants is paved with such intentions.
Orange Moon
Rámová 5
Prague 1
Tel. (+420) 222 325 119


Pivní Filosof said...

Im not as expert on Asian food, as you seem to be, though I like going to Asian restaurants every now and again, and more often than not, I was very pleased.
I've been to Orange Moon several times, and I think their problem when it comes to how spicy the food is, is consistency. I remember trying once something with one flame next to the name, that was quite spicy, but another time, ordering something else, also with one flame, with no spice at all.
A friend of mine, who likes his spicy food (he's from SW USA and grew up with really fiery tex-mex) told me that the beef vindaloo (that had four flames last time I went there) made his eyes sweat.
Maybe that day, the vindaloo, was not spicy.
Who knows.

savannah said...

hello again! read yesterday's post re the nyt having still not opened my sunday paper (yes, it is monday now..i'll get to it eventally)... i can only say that i am enjoying your blog as a kind of "our man on the streets" sort of narrative, no pretense or standard contrivance/cliche, etc... thank you, kind sir, for all you continue to do!

Brewsta said...

Thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

I really like asian food (thay for instance) and I can say that this restaurant is not good AT ALL! The waiters are arogant as soon as they hear you talk czech. I really had an urge to complain about the service. I didn't because we had something to celebrate and I didn't want spoil it. The waitress virtualy THREW dishes at our table, her grim smiles and comments about our knowledge of asian cuisine were outraging. The food was bad. I clearly ordered Pad thay without eggs, when it came to our table there were scrambled eggs all over it, the food was overspiced, not balanced etc. For 3 years I have been returning to my favourite thay restaurant called orchid (na porici str) and now I have another reason for doing so! Orange Moon - never again!

Western Mass Mama said...

We went to the location at the Flora mall tonight. IT WAS AWFUL!! And expensive. Got the veggie spring rolls (the only halfway decent thing, though possibly bought frozen from somewhere else?), the beef salad and the burmese noodles. The salad and noodles were SOOOO salty and the noodles tasted awful. Can't describe the taste, though it was mainly oil, and just gross. The noodles consistency was also odd... like stale or frozen ramen noodles. My husband said it was the worse meal he's ever had, and I agree. This has convinced me that the only decent place to get Thai in Prague is NOI (which was great) and I will NEVER go back to Orange Moon. Ick!