Rarely do new restaurants dazzle me. Seldom am I so taken by an eatery that I dine there four times in one week. But I have found a rare treat in Bunn Thai Bistro. They offer a Thai and Asian fusion dinning experience with a vibrant feel that has delighted this girl’s palate. Bunn uses organic, natural, and local ingredients and some Thailand treats that my taste buds had so missed. I started with the lemon grass tea, a delicacy I discovered in Thailand and have not found made correctly here. Gary started with his Thai staple, Sticky Mango Rice and was pleased to announce it was the sweetest version of this enchantment he had tried. We moved on to the Bunn dip basket with toast, cucumber slices, celery, romaine lettuce leaves, carrots and tomatoes all dunked into a warm coconut and chicken dipping sauce. I was amazed and ready to try everything on the menu.
Owners Tommy, Sis and her husband (real names are Arna and Champ) told us how their family has owned a restaurant in Bangkok for over 200 years, so there is a tangible history and family pride that goes into each dish. We talked about how to order a common Thai meal. They suggested it should have a soup, a curry dish, a spiced salad, noodles with fish and vegetables and a couple of stir-fries. They should be ordered communal and shared, as the harmony of tastes and textures is as important as the guest with whom you share the meal.
The lunch special is served from 11:00am to 3:00pm and has two entrees for only $9.50, served in smaller portions; this is a suitable way to sample many of their selections. I choose the Creamy Coconut Tom Yum soup that blew my mind it was so scrumptious with mushrooms, red peppers, and chunks of tofu. Gary had the salad and the peanut dressing was fantastic atop fresh organic baby greens, shaved carrots and crotons.
Our main course came; I had the Thai fried rice with chicken, brown and green onions, eggs, Chinese broccoli, peas, carrots, cilantro and tomato. It was so full of flavor and the rice was the perfect consistency. I also had the Kung Pao Chicken with hormone fee chicken stir fried onions, bell peppers, dried chili and peanuts. The Thai flavor added to this traditional Chinese menu item tasted fantastic. Gary wanted to start his tour of the curries as they have three on the menu. Red Curry had the long sweet burn with bamboo shoots, broccoli zucchini, bell peppers; basil leaves and carrots swimming in a luscious red curry coconut sauce. He also tried the Pad Thai that was extra sweet (they have sugar on the table if you want to add more). A Thai lime wedge enlightened this traditional dish with fried tofu, tamarind and palm sugar sauce dusted with peanuts and fresh bean sprouts.
We came back for dinner and had the Mar Hor a new sensation of sweet and salty seasoning of ground chicken rolled in a ball and speckled with peanuts and served over fresh pineapple rings. It was marvelous. Then we tried the Corn Fritters made with whole corn kernels, garlic and egg and seasoned perfectly. They were served with a sweet sauce and a hot chili sauce. Surprising and wonderful. Gary started with the deep fried coconut and banana balls with vanilla ice cream. Crushed bananas are coated in coconut flakes and deep-fried, I had to try this and it was outstanding.
I had the Papaya Green Salad, a super spicy dish made with shredded papaya, carrots, tomato, green beans tossed with chili, garlic and peanuts in a spicy lime and fish sauce and topped with grilled shrimp. This was my favorite dish as the textures, flavors and heat inspired me. Our main dish was Heaven On Earth, pan seared tilapia with jumbo lumps of real crabmeat in a savory creamy panang curry coconut sauce with vegetables and kuffir lime and basil leaves. The dish was the product of a true master in the kitchen. This is my new weekly hang out pending I sample everything on this menu.
The Bunn Thai menu is vegan, vegetarian and gluten free friendly. Simply tell them your special dietary needs and they will accommodate you (they added extra sugar for Gary, extra heat for me). Bunn Thai Bistro is located at 968 west Grand Avenue in Grover Beach, call them at 805-473-2824. They are open every day but Wednesday from 11:00am to 3:00pm and 4:00pm to 9:00pm.