There are quite a variety of restaurants to be found on the lower ground floor of Empire Shopping Gallery. You've got your Malaysian cuisine, Spanish, Western, Japanese ... and then there's Bangkok Beat Bistro, bringing some Thai flavour into the mix. My family and I actually walked past this restaurant yesterday night, but ended up eating somewhere else. It must have stayed in my dad's memory, because we ended up having dinner here tonight (yes, we visit Empire quite often).
It's not your typical Thai restaurant. I'm used to the more traditional setting, and this is a fresh change of scene. The paintings are bright and vibrant, with a very pop art feel; I loved the funky atmosphere here. Bangkok Beat Bistro is a partner restaurant to Bangkok Jam, which can be found in Singapore, Taipei and Taichung. The restaurant in Empire is the first in Malaysia, and specially adapted to the local Muslim majority - you won't find any pork or lard in this joint.
For appetizers, my family and I ordered the fish cakes, which came with some sweet chilli dipping sauce. There are five pieces in total, and the taste is reminiscent of our local Malaysian otak-otak, but fried instead of grilled.
My dad ordered the seafood tom yum, a tangy and spicy dish. The seafood within was nice and fresh; prawns, cuttlefish and so on. It was good, and my sister ended up ordering a second bowl to share amongst us siblings.
The glass noodles was also a good choice, and I think this was the favourite of all the dishes we got tonight. It was served steaming hot, and tasty too, going well with the tom yum and salads that we ordered. The prawns that accompanied the noodles was also delicious, very fresh and juicy.
My brother went for the tom yum fried rice. He's a bit of a fried rice expert, as it is his favourite food of all time, and this got his thumbs up. I managed to grab a spoonful, and it's really got that distinct tom yum tanginess to it, with a good amount of heat. Great if you like your dishes to be spicy.
Both my sisters went with the signature beef noodles, being soup lovers. One of them has a friend who lives in Thailand, and upon sharing this photo with her, we were told that this is how beef noodles should look like, Bangkok style. The soup is very rich with flavours, a medley of herbs, spices and beef stock. This is one of those aromatic dishes that you drink in with your nose as well as your tastebuds.
Finally, the last to arrive was my own choice for the night: papaya and softshell crab salad! I really wasn't sure what to expect with this, just that I was intrigued by the combination described in the menu. This dish came a lot bigger than expected, and while I didn't get to finish it all, I had a lot of help from the rest of my family. Besides this, we also got one other salad, which was the classic mango salad with cashews. While the mango salad had a sweet and sour quality to it, tangy and strong, the papaya salad was a lot milder. I really loved the chunks of tomato I found in this dish, which added short bursts of fresh flavour amidst the crunchy papaya bits. The softshell crab was nice and crispy, though a little bit too oily for me.
This restaurant works hard to pull off the lively beat of Thailand's City of Angels. From the decorations to their mouthwatering menu, there's been a lot of thought put into this place, and the taste that comes with it helps to reflect that. I've personally never been to Bangkok, but my parents who have, are quite satisfied with their dinner here. The prices here are your typical casual restaurant fare - expect to pay at least RM20 per person, not including your drinks. Speaking of which, do give their lychee mint cooler a try. Very refreshing!