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A beloved Thai desserts shop debuts savoury takeout—and it’s pretty sweet

A beloved Thai desserts shop debuts savoury takeout—and it’s pretty sweet

It shouldn’t be a surprise the people behind Patchmon’s Thai Desserts might be as skilled at making savoury dishes as they are at spinning out the jewel-like traditional sweets that have built the shop its following. Yet the tiny take-out spot’s Thai steamed chicken, an occasional daily special lately, comes as a shock to the senses: it’s both simple food and exquisitely complex.

The dish begins with a richly chicken-y broth that’s spiked with chunks of bitter melon gone sweet and mellow from simmering. The chicken itself—dark and light slices of juicy, meaty essence—throws updrafts of aromatic steam. You eat sticky, chewy, chicken fat -coated rice with this. And the sauce that chef Chanpen Thangton serves alongside is fresh and cold, thick with lime pulp and ginger, sour-tart tamarind and palm sugar, fish sauce and a golden thread of fiery chili. The acid hits first, followed closely by the heat, and then all five tastes engage. I wish they’d bottle that sauce.

The shop offers one savoury dish daily between Wednesdays and Fridays. (That might extend to weekends soon.) The menu is posted on Patchmon’s website. It’s best to order before 3:00 p.m. The dishes sell out disconcertingly early sometimes.

Ms. Thangton’s “Thai Curry Fish Custard,” another of the specials, is a banana leaf cup filled with white fish, napa cabbage and coriander, as well as red curry custard and a cap of creamed coconut. The structure is delicate, a sharp contrast to the fierce heat and bold citrus-ginger flavours of galangal and lemongrass.

For slurping, there are noodle and soup specials like Khao Soi: chicken and coconut flavours with citrusy zing and funky depth from fish sauce. It’s a soulful bowl of egg noodles, chicken thighs, sweet and crunchy chopped shallot, and a frizzle of crispy fried noodles.

And don’t forget the sweets that shop owner Patchmon Su-Anchalee pours her heart and labour into, like the rose-shaped gems of coconut pudding with the toasty-nut aroma of pandan, or the palm sugar and caramelized coconut treat called “Steamed Flour with Coconut Filling.” It sounds so simple, right? You know better now.

Patchmon’s Thai Desserts

Cuisine: Thai

What the symbols mean:

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Vegetarian options available

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Dining and restrooms are wheelchair accessible

Critic's Pick

Critic’s Pick. Our recommendation for a restaurant that doesn’t offer full service.

1 star

One star (out of four). A good restaurant. Recommended.

Two stars (out of four). A very good restaurant.

Three stars (out of four). An excellent restaurant.

Four stars (out of four). An extraordinary restaurant.

Deborah Reid spent almost 20 years at the stove in fine Ontario restaurants, and was a stagiaire in such international kitchens as London’s River Cafe, where she worked alongside Ruth Rogers and Rose Grey. She now writes and develops recipes. Deborah's work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Taste, Eater, Taunton’s Fine Cooking, and Sift magazine.