It was a saddening news when I learned that Gastropod would be closed and converted into something else. Having never tried the restaurant before the end of it, I had planned to visit the new “Gastropod”, i.e. Maenam. Since the opening of Maenam I have heard many good things about it, and now it’s my turn to pay it a visit.
With the 3 of us, we picked one appy and three entrees to share. The happened to be quite disappointing. The Thai Sausage was not only small, but it’s also way too salty and dry to my liking. And the presentation was quite a turn-off, too. It was served with a few endive leaves and a dipping sauce, but we weren’t quite sure how to eat it. Should we wrap the sausage with the endive? Dip the sausage in the sauce? Wrap then dip? Or dip only the endive in the sauce? Yeah I think we did a bit of all those. Moving onto the entrees, I personally quite liked the 3 dishes we picked. The Smoked Keta Salmon Salad, a salad of mint leaves, was very refreshing yet the chilli sauce added a kick to it. Never had something like this before. The portion of salmon pieces were also quite generous and the sourness of pomelo balanced the flavour of the whole dish.
The next two dishes worked super well with the side order of steamed rice. The Duck Red Curry was basically a piece of duck breast in a red curry sauce. The sauce was more on the sweet side, but I liked it with the duck. The soft boiled egg was also done well. On the other hand, the Mussaman Chicken was just too spicy. My friend, who can handle quite a bit of heat, also found it unbearable. The heat was a bit too overpowering that after a few bites you wouldn’t be able to taste anything else. I liked the idea of the dish, the combination of longans and chicken, but I only wished they could lower the heat level so I could enjoy it fully.
Overall, the service was OK. Dishes arrived promptly, and the server answered our questions and explained each dish as they arrived. Only wished that they would warn us about the heat in the Mussaman Chicken. By observation, I found it rather odd that there’s not one Asian server in sight.
The restaurant was decorated modernly. I especially liked the big mirror against the wall, with “Maenam” printed across the bottom half. The bar also gives it a lounge-feeling which matches the casual dining angle that it’s aiming to achieve with the new restaurant.
Maenam definitely isn’t about traditional Thai food. Adding a twist to everything, it gives you a new perspective of Thai cuisine. The challenge is you may need to pick the right thing to order.
1938 W4th Ave, Vancouver