The team from Karavaiki has done it again. Another big hit has just landed in Athens, serving Thai-inspired street-food in a spectacular spot that shouts Asia left, right and centre. We visited Tailandi during its first few weeks of operation and here’s the gist.
A little while ago I had stumbled upon Andreas Karpathakis, owner of Karavaiki and dear friend, at the opening of another resto in the north of Athens. And to my delight, he had shared the news of his crew going through the final stretch for opening up a new place – a Thai restaurant! Again, together with Dimitris Mihailidis and Aris Skantzis, as well as with with the culinary support of Ypatia Papastamati. And some funky graphics from creative director Lefteris Eleftheriadis. We chatted a bit, he showed me a few photos from the place – a former garage in what seemed like a derelict building- and agreed to meet upon launch.
Fast forward to today where I catch a bite on a Friday evening, sitting amongst a hip crowd in a funky setting, so unique than anything else around!
Τhe service works like clockwork. Of course its the first few weeks and everyone is finding their rhythm but that doesn’t stop cooks, waiters and other staff from putting on a big smile and warmly welcoming everyone.
As we take a moment to take it all in, we comment on the amazingly designed neon sign outside, the funky turquoise led lights and the square tiles on the wall. Everything looks so good! And so true to Asia.
Even the menu is designed with what one would find if they were strolling down a Thai market in mind. Thankfully, as much as we love them, the authentic plastic chairs haven’t made it to Athens and it’s much more comfy on the ones they’ve picked.
We’re thirsty and can’t wait to get on to our beers, so we order straight ahead. As much as we try to stay away from anything fried, we can’t resist the looks of fried smelt fish with tamarind jam and chilly, nor those of the crispy chicken wings with sesame and a fiery Thai sauce. Both super good!
With so many options on the menu, there’s everything from chicken to seafood and noodles. Although we skip on the classic Phad Thai (which is probably the dish one would judge any Thai resto above anything else), we make a pact that we’ll come back to do so. So instead, I order some peanut butter chicken skewers (so good!!) and my friend gets the minced beef over egg and rice (also good but too very heavy).
It’s been a bit over an hour and it looks like the dinner is not going to prolong for a lot more (is this the fast service, our speed eating or what?). The waiter comes with a treat from Andreas and what looks like a fried scoop of ice cream! It is topped with peanut butter caramel, milk chocolate and crushed peanuts… oh my god! Absolutely their number on dish!
As for the bill, that comes in one of these old credit card machines we once used to have back in the 80s. And as we pay through a virtual card on the phone, we pause for a minute to think of the effort these guys have put into collecting every single item here and every single recipe. Hats off guys!