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Rama V has been serving Thai food to eager diners for a long time so it has obviously worked out a formula that appeals to an upmarket clientele from the surrounding embassies and also a small group dining parties. Patrons have several dining options with a casual outdoor setting just off the front entrance, the air-conditioned interior and outdoors, in private elevated wooden villas overlooking an illuminated pond. Off-street, complimentary parking is a real bonus considering its location opposite the side entrance to the United States Embassy. Recent renovations have seen the establishment of a bar service area.
Restaurants which have been around as long as Rama V obviously offer dishes that suit the collective palates of the patrons dining here. Thai restaurants are not as common as they should be in the city considering Thailand is a neighbour and there are even less offering smart setting like Rama V.
A page-long selection of starters is offered with a few platters including the Sukhothai – portions of chicken stay, pomelo salad, fish cakes and deep-fried spring rolls, all of which are all well prepared. The satay has a curry flavour while the pomelo salad is a tasty contrast of sweet and sour tastes from the chunks of semi-sweet pomelo and fresh river prawns, small chunks of grilled chicken and a citrus-based sauce. Dipping sauces are served on the side.
Some would say the test of a good Thai chef is the tom yam soup and the chef here passes muster with a suitably spiced broth enriched with decent portions of seafood. One of Thailand's most celebrated curries is massaman with several styles offered. This normally thick peanut-based southern Thai curry is tasty with flavours of cumin, nutmeg and mace but is not as thick as many other such curries.
One of the most enjoyable dishes is a grilled beef with tamarind flavours and accompanying sauce. Various fried rice and noodle dishes are available along with the regulation steamed rice.
Desserts include two Thai standards of mango sticky rice and water chestnut in iced coconut milk. There is also a surprisingly long selection of other desserts.
Spicy Thai food requires a good supply of cold beverages and Rama V doesn't disappoint with juices, draft beer, bottled beer and wines by the glass and bottle. Complimentary water is not automatically provided so patrons will have to ask. Imported Singha beer is offered along with some tasty imported beers such as Kronenbourg. There is a respectable selection of wines at very reasonable prices considering the fine dining setting.
Respectably attired staff are helpful and mostly attentive to the requirements of their guests. Staff ask about the delivery of dishes to ensure that starters arrive before more substantive dishes to ensure that the meal is not rushed especially for those seeking a relaxed meal.
While fine dining Asian is not normally as expensive as fine dining Western, it can come at a price and Rama V's prices are definitely not hawker prices. However, for the ambiance, setting and location in Kuala Lumpur's embassy precinct, Rama V is quite reasonable for what it offers. Expect to pay around RM25 for starters, RM38 for an entrée platter, RM20 for soups, RM25 for salads and less than RM50 for mains except seafood, which is a little more expensive. Desserts are less than RM20.
Local beer is priced at less than RM20, imported beers including Thai Singha, RM25 and wine by the glass and bottle are very reasonable compared to similar establishments in the city. Happy drinks prices are available as are promotional credit card discounts.