The little outparcel building in front of the Costco in the Millenia area is becoming quite the United Nations of fast fooders. There’s a Tijuana Flats representing Mexico (and the U.S. via Texas), a Sus Hi Eatstation for Japan, and now a Thai Express, representing Canada.
Well, yes, Thailand, too. But Thai Express is a Canadian-born franchise, which you might deduce from the Quebecois company’s Facebook page, which is in Frenchand the Millenia location is its first in Florida.
When I first walked into the compact space I was a bit concerned that this was going to be a Thai version of an assemblage restaurant. But it’s not. It simply offers basic Thai dishes quickly, just as the name suggests.
But instead of having the items on a steam table ready to be scooped up, the dishes are wokked á la minute, as they say in Montreal, right in front of you.
And as fast food goes, it’s good.
I started with the Tom Yum, a chicken broth-based soup with loads of rice noodles, some onions and scallions.
For my main course, I went for the basic Pad Thai, which the Thai Express website describes as “the national dish of Thailand!”, which causes me to wonder what the national dish of Canada would be. I had mine with chicken and ordered it to-go because I knew I wouldn’t be eating the whole portion. But I came close because it was nicely seasoned and had that good peanutty note.
Because I had ordered my food to go, even though I ate it at one of the tables in the dining area, the soup came in a cardboard bowl with a well fitting lid and the pad Thai was in a stereotypical Chinese-food-style folded container. If I had ordered it to dine in, the food would have been served in Melamine-like dishes, which is a bit nicer than the cardboard.
The dining area is subtly stylish and bright, thanks to the two walls of windows. There are separate tables and a larger communal table. I would call the space tidy if the staff would spend a bit more time wiping down tables after guests leave.
I wouldn’t pit Thai Express against most of our local full-service Thai restaurants, but it’s ok in a pinch when you have a hankering for some Thai á emporter.
Thai Express is at 4693 Gardens Park Blvd. (fronts on Millenia Blvd.), Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-802-4426.