Thai Gardens

A short hop, skip and a jump out to the rice paddies of Umalas lies the delightfully authentic Thai Gardens – a peaceful alfresco joint with top-end Thai food and oodles of rustic charm.
As the name suggests, the central wooden joglo area is surrounded by shady green garden areas, dotted with wooden benches and splashes of colourful flowers – the perfect spot for a lazy lunch, chilled out afternoon grazing or a romantic evening meal. The vibe is informal and unpretentious, and coupled with it’s stellar menu, Thai Gardens has already attracted a devoted crowd of expats and locals who go nuts for the tasty fare, huge portions and icy cold draft beer. Although there are a number of Thai eateries around, Thai Gardens aims for total authenticity with its recipes, with everything made from scratch by proprietor Matt O’Neill – an Englishman who’s spent almost a decade in Thailand perfecting his recipes by learning from the locals.
It’s a scientific fact that after work beers taste best at the end of the week, so with that in mind I arrange to catch up with a couple of good mates who live in the area on a sunny Friday a week or two ago. A couple of frosty Bintangs kick things off in fine style, and it’s not long before we’re scanning the menu looking for some nibbles to go with the beers. We’re recommended to try a plate of the Isaan Sausages (70k++) – traditional semi-fermented pork sausages with accompanying chili ginger dipping sauce. The flavour is simply sublime – salty, sour and spicy all at once – the absolute epitome of Thai cooking. Hot on its heels come a couple of plates of the classic spring rolls, (vegetable 40k++, prawn 55k++) that see us through another couple of beers until we’re ready to bring on the mains.
I go for the Gai Pad Med Manuang (75k++) – a delicious mix of chicken with cashew nut, green onion and dried chili that gives it a satisfying kick without blowing your head off. The others go for a portion of the Chicken Larb salad (65k++), and the Yum Talay seafood salad (75k++) – both absolutely spot on, and bursting with zingy Thai flavour. Another round of cold beers along with a portion of the Kanna Mookrob (80k++) to nibble on follows – essentially bite-sized chunks of pork belly in salad tossed with a soy dressing. Beer snack heaven.
Thai Gardens is open daily from 10am – 11pm, and also delivers in the Canggu/Umalas/Seminyak area; so if you’re after ace Thai food in a beautiful setting, look no further than this little gem.
Dan Ashcroft
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Thai Gardens
Jl. Bumbak no. 41, Umalas
T. 900 2545 | www.thaigardensbali.com

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