Friday, March 2, 2007

SOMS – 2 previous visits, last visit on February 28, 2007

My friend Chari Arespacochaga loves SOMS. What’s not to love? When it was still just a hole in the wall near Rockwell, it attracted a loyal following, despite the fact that at peak hours you’d either have to dine al fresco – and by al fresco we mean subjected to vehicular fumes and the elements while sitting at a makeshift dining area propped against a perimeter fence – or take food out. SOMS serves Thai food at a very low price. It became so popular that it was able to open a branch in more hospitable environs not a kilometer away from its old home. Located in the corner of Reposo (Nicanor Garcia) and Milagros Street in Makati, the new SOMS features the same no-nonsense Thai food served in a far bigger space. The food is ok (don’t order any beef dish – the meat is invariably tough), the prices cheap and the servings generous. Their typical curry (pork, beef, chicken or shrimp in red, green or yellow varieties) costs P89 (with enough sauce to serve four but meat enough for just one), plain rice is P10 and a C2 is P30. Order a regular Coke, which comes in the hard-to-find and charming 200ml size.

My first visit to SOMS was a birthday dinner treat and the convivial company afforded me the luxury of enjoying its fare whole-heartedly. My second was an early lunch where I ordered the tom yum and bagoong rice. After being made to wait for 10 minutes, I was told that they were not yet ready to serve the tom yum. I ordered the green beef curry. Tough decision. On my third visit, I ordered the tom yum and phad Thai, which had too little sahog and at P125 a plate, there should be more sahog.

Thai food purists will balk at the sweetish flavor in most of SOMS dishes, rendering the curry an almost panghimagas character. Remove the meat, replace with sago, temper the salt, add crushed ice and voilà: guinomis!

Lamentably, the dining room reeks of cheap pomade and even cheaper cleanser. The decor is fantastically eccentric to the point of irritation and the men’s room was iffy (the urinals had moth balls to “freshen” the air and the wash bowl featured a soap dish in which a sorry-looking bar of Safeguard was swimming in used water). The air-conditioning is weakly provided by yellowing wall units and there are only 2 parking slots out front. The lunch crowd is advised to bring a chauffeur or commute by cab or jeep or trike. At night, cars may be parked on the side streets or even on Reposo.

SOMS’ fast and friendly service is its only redeeming asset. Manila is short on really good Thai restaurants and I wish SOMS were one of them. Sadly, it is not.

1 comment:

Moymoy said...

Paisano, ganahan ka diay mokaon. Sige next time manuroy ta sa Manila kay daghang kinaham nga kan-anan nga operating under the radar.

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