Celadon: Flavors of Thailand
The only way you can make me endure the crazy traffic and the very busy atmosphere of Bangkok is the promise of the most delicious bowl of curry or perfectly fried prawn cakes waiting for me. I almost clapped my hands when I found out that the newly opened Celadon along Lopez Drive in Rockwell is in fact a modern Thai cuisine restaurant.
“Celadon in Sukhothai Hotel is very beautiful and one of my favorite Thai restaurants. That is where we got the name. It’s all lotus ponds, and when you get inside it’s very nice. The food is very well presented and authentic. Celadon also means ceramic like the plates we use to serve our food. In the olden days, the Kings and Queens only use celadon plates. These are handmade and baked. It makes serving your food extra special. Celadon is also popular in exchanging gifts because it signifies a long lasting relationship,” explains Chef Cheryl Pineda.
Chef Cheryl PinedaFor a place heavy with meaning, you can also expect a menu packed with filling good food. We browsed through the list and immediately gravitated towards the usual Thai bestseller dishes but also found other items and descriptions that are quite interesting.
Lotus inspired details“Thai food is my favorite Asian food. It is very much like Pinoy food. Marami silang street food. Mahilig sila sa matamis at sa maasim-asim [they are fond of the sweet and sour flavors],” shares Chef Cheryl. I think she is not the only one who thinks that way because I personally know of so many people who are game to go on a Thai food trip. This is also probably the reason why more and more Thai places are sprouting around the metro.
Wall decor by Ivy and Cynthia AlmarioAs in the Thai way, the dishes just kept coming out of the kitchen until we had to stop because our stomachs can’t take it anymore. It’s like the Thai’s version of Filipino fiesta, which is only apt since Songkran was just around the corner during the time of our visit.
Thai Chicken Satay
Tod Man Kung
Kha Kluk KapiThe Kha Kluk Kapi or Shrimp Paste Rice (P315) was served in a square plate with all the elements segregated. Chef Cheryl says the best way to eat it is to mix all of it together but I prefer getting a bit of rice and choosing only the ingredients that I like, then mix all of it in my plate.
Thai Green Chicken Curry
Of course there has to be curry, the Thai Green Chicken Curry (P330) is by far my favorite. There is something about the spicy and creamy curry with eggplant and basil that makes it special. Or maybe because they served it in a way where it’s constantly heated so the consistent warmth of the sauce added to the over-all yum factor. Chef Cheryl says their servers never forget to ask their clients how spicy they prefer their sauce. They don’t want customers not to enjoy their food only because it came out very spicy for their taste, or worse, bland.
Pandan JuiceAs it is very hot, we had the refreshing Pandan Juice (P80) and to fight off some of the spice, we constantly picked bits and pieces off the plate of Krabi Salad (P255).
Krabi SaladEveryone is used to Thai food being cheap. But for something authentic like what Celadon serves wherein the Chef has to fly regularly to Thailand to source out and buy eighty percent of the ingredients, it comes out still affordable by virtue of value for money. Also, the green interiors, decked with butterflies designed by restaurant partners Ivy and Cynthia Almario, are certainly a far cry from the uncomfortable ambiance of eating food along busy streets.
Banana Fritter with homemade Coconut Ice CreamWrapping up our Thai fest was the Banana Fritter with homemade Coconut Ice Cream (P220). The bananas are really fresh and fried perfectly, which is rare because most of the time in other restaurants they tend to over cook it. The coconut ice cream was also a good innovation from the usual vanilla ice cream.
To cater to foreigners who prefer vegetables and the growing community of vegetarians, Celadon also has an all-vegetarian menu.
Chef Cheryl Pineda vows to never stop in her quest to keep on creating authentic Thai dishes inspired by her constant travels and immersion to Thailand. “My goal is to always serve the best Thai food that I have tasted and will taste, and bring it here to Manila,” she says, with a kind but determined smile that tells you she is sincere in this promise.
Photos by Hermin Belo