By Anne DesBrisay
I wouldn’t ever do this in my own kitchen. This is a dish you leave home for.
Pla Sam Rot: described on the Thai Flame menu as “Deep fillet crispy topped with sweet and sour sauce.” Translated literally, pla sam rot means “three flavour fish,” generally cooked whole and smothered in a bright and lively, colour-charged topping that simply banishes winter.
It was looking for the old Taste of Japan restaurant in a little strip mall on Robertson Road (its windows sadly papered over) that led me here. I had had a sense that Taste of Japan was gone, possibly long gone, but I couldn’t remember. Sure enough, there it was, lights out, but (now) not forgotten and now with a neighbour worth exploring.
Thai Flame is a newish Thai restaurant, two doors away from the old Japanese, run by a Laotian couple who once ran the That Luang restaurant on Wellington West.
I asked for fried fish for lunch, with something tangy, sour, spicy, and sweet and this is what arrived. Trout, fried whole to crisp, and covered with a sauce sweetened with pineapple, sour with tamarind, salty with fish sauce, hot with Thai red chiles, and green with Thai basil and cilantro. The flesh of the trout remained soft within its crisp crust, and the sauce was simply joyful. I ordered some rice and managed to make a bit of a dent in the dish. But most of it came home, with extra rice provided from the kitchen.
It became a spring supper for one, my boys all still at that wintry game of night hockey. No plam sam rot for them.
Open: Monday to Friday for lunch, daily for dinner.
Thai Flame, 1902 Robertson Rd., 613-695-9188.