Authentic Thai at Som’s
The Echoes team dines at the humble restaurant at Poblacion
In the outskirts of upscale Rockwell lies the unassuming authentic Thai restaurant, Som’s Noodle House. A few years ago, a retired chef from Sukhothai, an established Thai restaurant in the Philippines, opened an intimate alfresco eatery (or simply, a carinderia) at his residence in Poblacion, Makati. With a few chairs and tables lined up along the street, a simple menu, and authentic Thai food, Som’s Noodle House came to be. Through word of mouth, the hole-in-the-wall restaurant quickly gained popularity among locals, students, and curious foodies as it boasted of good food that’s easy on the pockets—quite a rarity in a business hub. Its reputation was further solidified when it was featured as one of Manila’s Best Kept Secret Restaurants.
And so, yours truly, together with Kenneth, Ralph, and Hazel, went to Makati, hopeful that Som’s Noodle House would satisfy our craving for delicious and affordable Thai cuisine. With this, we began our gastronomic adventure (the first, of hopefully, many more to come).
As Som’s is quite hidden and parking space (along the street) is limited, we all conveniently met up in Powerplant Mall Rockwell. This gave us enough time to survey the other Thai restaurants in the mall, which needless to say, were beyond our pooled budget for the evening. So, we headed to our real destination, Som’s, which was a leisurely 10-minute walk away. While Som’s maintained the alfresco set-up, it has also expanded and evolved into a slightly more sophisticated eatery, now well-lit and complete with air-conditioning and TV indoors.
We arrived a few minutes past six, still early for dinner so the place was not packed and the servers were attentive. Ralph, an avid fan of Thai cuisine, began to order for the group (with People’s Palace in mind).
For starters, we had Catfish Salad—a medley of shredded green mangoes, crunchy catfish bits, and peanuts tossed in vinaigrette. While I found the mangoes a bit too sour for my taste, I enjoyed the flaky and crunchy texture of the catfish bits.
Next up, we had the classic Tom Yam soup, with distinct flavours of lemongrass, kaffir leaves, straw mushrooms, chilli, and fragrant herbs. I ogled with excitement when the waitress served the bowl of vividly red soup as Ralph said, “Oh shit! How can something that looks that good taste bad?” Much to our disappointment however, the soup didn’t match our expectations. It had a confusing blend of sourness, sweetness, and spiciness and lacked the kick that we were looking for.
The Pad Thai, made of stir-fried egg noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, crushed peanuts, coriander, and calamansi, was unusually pink, probably because of the shrimps. Some of us found the dish tasty and flavourful while the finicky eaters were just lukewarm towards this.
Then we had Pandan Chicken, which I found rather ordinary. The meat was neither juicy nor flavourful, unless doused with the soy sauce and sesame seeds. However, the others seemed to enjoy the simplicity of the dish.
Finally, we had Green Chicken Curry with Eggplants. I must say that if appearance is the only basis for judging, this dish would undoubtedly fail. The coconut milk coagulated into a consistency reminiscent of vomit. Stirring it didn’t do any good. Thankfully, Ralph was willing to eat anything Thai while the rest were game to try something new, even just for the sake of this food review. Surprisingly, the dish was good! The chicken was tender and the curry hit the spot. The sweetness of the coconut milk and the mildly hot pepper married into a well-balanced dish. This was probably my favourite dish of the night.
We also had a bottle of Thai milk tea to share. Even Hazel, who dislikes tea (yes, even milk tea from Moonleaf), enjoyed Som’s homemade blend.
For our group of four, the total bill amounted to P1045, roughly P260 per head. Considering the location of the restaurant as well as the number of dishes we ordered, this is a reasonable price. However, the dishes served were nothing to rave about and were not comparable with other authentic Thai restaurants in the metro. All that said, we agreed to give Som’s Noodle House a decent rating of 7.
To please a group with diverse food preferences is a rather tall order. Thankfully, Som’s met the mark and made the trip to Makati worthwhile. After we had our fill, we then headed back to Rockwell Mall… for some good old donuts.
Photos by Kenneth Reyes