Lunch at Kacha Thai in Walnut Creek

by foodhoe on September 14, 2011

1665 Mt Diablo Blvd, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 | 925.988.9877 | website | facebook
Open daily 11.30AM – 10.00PM | free wifi

Kacha Thai Bistro opened in downtown Walnut Creek last May from the same owners as Similan Thai in Danville.  It’s next to Home of Chicken and Waffles, which had me in danger of changing my lunch plans, but so far I’ve been able to resist.  The interior is bright and elegant with sleek dark wood tables and interesting artwork hangs on the walls.

We began with a cup of simple soup with cubes of tofu and delicate strands of savory seaweed.  On another visit we enjoyed a spicy Tom Yum.

The first time we visited, Dustin ordered the Pad See Ew ($8.95), one of my favorite Thai noodles dishes.  It’s a comforting pile of thick rice noodles which have been stir fried with beef, garlic, Chinese broccoli, egg, and soy sauce.  Sadly, they were out of the wide noodles, so they used the thinner noodles, and while they tasted just the same, there is something that I find more satisfying with the thick chewy wide noodles…

At lunch the Combination Plates for ($9.95) are the best deal, huge portions served with soup and salad.  This plate is with Chicken Satay and Tofu with Green Curry, which Tanuja requested to be spicy, brave girl.  There were three skewers of the Satay, which are perfectly cooked, tender and moist and coated with a flavorful marinade.  These skewers are always served with a savory peanut sauce along the refreshing mixture of cucumber and red onion slices in a light piquant sweet and sour dressing.

A closeup of the green curry, the lush sauce was very aromatic and coats the squares of tofu so nicely.  Tanuja said it was spicy, and I took her word for it.

Another combo plate with Chicken Pad Graprao, which is chopped then sauteed with basil and fresh chili garlic sauce and Vegetarian Egg Rolls.  I was mesmerized by the egg rolls which had an unusual shape that invites you to pick them up with your fingers.

I was feeling like eating healthy and ordered the Chicken Satay along with the Grilled Marinated Pork Moo Gratiem, thin slices of pork marinated with garlic and pepper, served with chili garlic sauce and brown rice.  The fatty pieces of pork were deliciously charred and served with a pungent mixture of chilies and minced garlic laced with fish sauce that charmed my tastebuds in a pleasing manner.

On our first visit, Chris ordered the Panag Nur, which I secretly coveted. Does this not look luscious?  The mild penang curry was rich with coconut milk and pungent basil and full of tender chunks of slow cooked beef.  I think that my ideal combo plate here would be the Panang Nur and those intriguing egg rolls…

I had the Tofu with Red Curry, the sauce was just spicy enough to make my tastbuds tingle and was so good spooned over rice.

Namita ordered a combo plate with Fish Cakes and a spicy beef dish.  The fish cakes Tod Mun were so pretty and mixed with the ubiquitous refreshing cucumber salad.

She said that the Spicy Beef wasn’t very spicy and shared a bite with me…  There were quite a bit of red chilies in there which set my lips tingling.  Seemed spicy enough for a wimp like me!

Namita explored the spicy condiments to augment her dishes.  One jar was filled with ground red chilies, another with pickled jalapeno floating in a slightly sweet vinegar, there one filed with a thick chili garlic paste.  The one that caught her eye was probably the hottest…

She definitely found her match with the pickled thai peppers (aka birds eye chilies).  These can also be found in Kerala which coincidentally is where her family is from.

From Wikipedia: The bird’s eye chili is small but packs quite a lot of heat. At one time it was even listed as the hottest chili in the Guinness Book of World Records but other hotter varieties of chili have since been identified. It measures around 50,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range for the hotter Habanero chili.  Dang, I remembered taking Kasma’s Thai cooking class where we would chop up 20 or so of these babies for the sauce… whew, no wonder I thought everything was hot.

Back to Namita, who was coughing after the first bite.  She proclaimed that these few pieces of chili bits on the rice were sufficiently hot and grabbed her Thai Iced Tea which helped to cool some of the heat…

They have a full bar, with signature cocktails and happy hour specials ($5 cocktails, $3 beers and $5 on selected appetizers).  Their dinner menu looks interesting too, and there is free parking in the Olympic Place parking lot.  I’m glad to have found this restaurant which has such a lovely atmosphere and delicious combination plates.  It will definitely be in the rotation.

Kacha Thai Bistro on Urbanspoon

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