I've read a couple good reviews about Syphay on Calgary Trail (most notably, one by Sharon Yeo of Only Here for the Food, posted on Bazaar), and like every other Edmontonian, I have probably passed by it a hundred times in my travels, disregarding it because of its drab and dated exterior. However on Thursday night, during a trip back from the Folk Fest's warehouse, Z and I, along with a few others, decided to stop and scope out the situation.
Because ETS has limited our mobility, Z and I rarely make it too far down Calgary Trail, and I was curious about any other undiscovered eats near by. However the only other place we immediately noticed was Tropika, a Malaysian restaurant situated in the strip mall next door... it looked a little more lively than our destination, but we continued to make our way over to the old converted house next door.
Upon arrival we found ourselves in a very small room with four tables, and a view into the kitchen. A server greeted us and took us around a wall to the other side of the restaurant. This room was twice the size, easily housing seven tables. We gladly settled into the cozy space, a happy reprieve from the snowy outdoors. We ordered a pot of green tea (Zed a can of Coke... his favourite!), and waters, and proceeded to sort out our approaching meal. Eventually we settled on an order of Vegetable Spring Rolls (8 rolls; $7.95), the Tohm Yum Seafood soup ($10.95), the Matsa-Man Curry with tofu ($12.95), the Pad Ped Goong ($12.95), and an order of Coconut Rice ($3.50).
The spring rolls appeared in no time. Crispy and hot, full of veggies, and served with a spicy dipping sauce, these were the perfect start to our meal. Next came the fish soup. Z, not a shellfish fan, opted out of this one, but the rest of us dove in. The spicy broth provided a lovely kick to each spoonful, and small treasures of squid, mussels and scallops were hidden throughout. In seemingly perfect timing, just as we had finished our soup, our last two dishes (and rice) arrived. The dishes were presented in beautiful white and blue pedestal vessels, and everything possessed a wonderful aroma of coconut. The potato, carrot and tofu curry reminded me of the Veggie Chicken Curry we recently had at Padmanadi - the veggies were nicely cooked and the yellow and red sauce was just spicy enough. The Pad Ped Goong was just as good - full of shrimp, veggies and basil, it was fresh and satisfying.
Dessert was a choice between Sticky Coconut Rice Pudding or ice cream, and we decided on two orders of the rice pudding. The pudding was a nice finish, capitalizing on the coconut throughout the meal. Z ate the scoop of ice cream that arrived with the dessert, while I happily horded the rice and chunks of sweet mango for myself.
We drained our pot of tea, pleasantly surprised to have finally ventured into the restaurant, passed by and unnoticed for so long. So, if you are passing by, Z and I both suggest you stop by the colourful and aromatic Syphay for some spicy and satisfying Thai and Lao cuisine.
Syphay Restaurant (Thai and Lao)
M - F (11:30-2:30; 5-9) S (5-9) Su (Closed)