by Chrissy Iley
Chan Dara calls itself the House of Siamese Kitchen. I was attracted to it because I thought it said House of Siamese Cats and I assumed it was the ultimate cat café – Asian food and Asian purring.
It turns out there were no cats, although a kind of purring did ensue after I’d tasted their delicious Tom Yum soup. I’ve tasted coconut soup the world over and I can say hands down that this one is the best. I have no idea what they do to make it so different, it’s more coconutty and the spice more interesting. It’s like eating a new colour, something you never thought could be improved on, but it can.
Chand Dara in Larchmont is a cute little place with a lovely outdoor patio and an extensive menu of dishes that are ostensibly Thai but with a twist. Their coconut rice has a beautiful gooey texture and a smattering of red beans.
My friend enjoyed a grilled chicken salad with peanut dressing. The chicken was tastily marinated and it came with salad and hard-boiled eggs. The peanut dressing was exceptional.
They also offer a duck curry that comes inside a pineapple. The perfect sweet meets spice. They do Thai basil pasta, which is pasta stir fried with chill and Thai basil plus your choice of chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. I’m not sure where they get their Thai basil from but it is the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.
The same goes for their coconut. Their coconut ice cream is super coconutty and incredibly creamy, fragrant and deliciously textured, creamier than a sorbet but less sweet than ice cream.
So next time I feel like looking for a Siamese cat, I might settle for a coconut sorbet. It’s that good.
Chan Dara Larchmont, 310 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004. Tel: (323) 467-1052. www.chandararestaurants.com.