Pad thai rolls are the quickest and easiest way to enjoy Thai food on the go
Nav Modern Thai's new menu is all about convenient dining.
Nav Modern Thai Cuisine
16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday) and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Friday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Thai food engages the senses: the colorful sight of ingredients mingling; the feisty smells from those incredible spices; then, after all that teasing and tempting, the final big blast of flavor. Nav Modern Thai Cuisine doesn't shy away from such intensity. In fact, putting that bit of "modern" in their name allows them a little more freedom in punctuating those flavors.
After establishing itself as an affordable and satisfying source of Thai food, Nav's next mission is clear: convenience. Chef Francis Lim tells us that the grab-and-go style of their SM Mega Food Hall branch has been so successful that they wanted to adopt it in their Kapitolyo flagship. And with the parking situation (or lack of) on the now bustling United Street, it's a pretty clever strategy.
This squid has an amazing spiced sauce.
Pad Thai Rolls
He takes his established hits and turns them into neat little packages that unravel into delicious surprises. He shows us the Pad Thai Rolls (P180), a dish he was hesitant to make at first because, as he puts it, "It's carbs on carbs." Those who love the Vietnamese goi cuon (fresh rice paper rolls with vermicelli and herbs) will, however, easily fall in love with this nifty and convenient plating for Thai noodles. Be liberal with the peanut and tamarind sauce. It's bright and nutty and genius.
Crispy Catfish Rice
Nav's new rice dishes are fashioned like "rice toppings" in large, solo-sized bowls. Crispy catfish with mangoes is a favorite Thai salad, but it finds new meaning mixed with rice (P250). The crunchy fish changes the pace for the soft grains, and we love that there's enough of it to last until the final spoonful. Amid the shouting match of flavors from the smorgasbord of ingredients in the Bagoong Rice (P250), the sauteed shrimp paste comes through the loudest, but make your way through the bowl and you get noisy bursts from the bayleaf, lemongrass, and sweet pork.
The best part about the rice dishes is that they're flavorful on their own, but they still work incredibly well with everything else. Nav's Naked Chicken Pandan (P250) is no slouch when it comes to making your taste buds do a happy dance. He brines the meat in pandan then serves it without the leaf. Anything that helps us enjoy it faster is a welcome change.
Naked Chicken Pandan
Khao Soi Fried Chicken
The chef is a curry master so you have to get his Khao Soi Fried Chicken (P250). The chicken is served in yellow curry with crispy noodles that we can still totally enjoy with rice. The heat level isn't insane, but it's definitely pronounced enough to make anybody giddy. This dish is proof that anything with coconut milk is a must-try.
Prawns cooked with basil and crab fat
Thai Fried Chicken
In other fried chicken news, Nav also has a Thai Fried Chicken (P250), which has been marinated in shrimp paste to create a great depth of flavor. You can taste the bagoong in the skin and it's a saltiness that seeps well into the meat. Nav has plans of putting up a sauce station near the entrance for people to check out should they require a stronger kick in their dishes.
If you're already a fan of Nav's desserts, you might be pleased to know that they're coming out with a cha yen or Thai iced tea version of their bestselling Thai Thako (P120). Chef Francis is extra excited about it. He points at the green, pandan-infused tapioca-specked jelly and and reiterates it throughout the meal. "We will have a Thai milk tea flavor soon!" It's a healthy attitude to have. Nav proves that change is always a good thing.