As far as Thai food goes, in Montreal, this resplendent country’s restaurant culture seems not to have a middle ground. Thai food venues are either adorned in silks, gilded buddhas and precious metals or laid bare, with stripped down tables, mismatched spoons and plastic menus. In other words, in Monty, the culinary treasures of Thailand either come really cheap or really expensive… or they simply don’t come at all.
With that said, MakMak, a brand new low-end Thai restaurant to drop onto the scene, isn’t going to make any Marxist moves to shake up the system. At the same time, its budget status doesn’t defeat the new Montreal restaurant. Here, cut-rate doesn’t mean cutting back on style altogether. The humble space, if nothing else, aims for a décor, however amateur. The eclectic area, save for the hot sauce on the tables, features a decidedly un-Thai style — brightly coloured whimsical place mats, kitschy Valentine decorations, and luminescent doodads adorn rookie food photos.
The menu too has a sense of humour, pointing, by way of dish names, to the ubiquitous sex-trade industry in Thailand. The cheekily labeled “Lady Boy,” brussel sprouts in curry, is at once any child’s most hated food and any parent’s nightmare for their child. Tranny references aside, the menu runs the gamut of Thai items, but does it with care and, for lack of a better word, clumplessly.
The Pad Thai is not more easily consumed with a fork and knife because of its cheap gluey texture; rather, the balanced sweet and sour rice noodles wind onto a set of chopsticks like thread onto a spool. At the same time, the chicken with pineapple is not a breaded sticky mess like something you would find at a mall kiosk. The plate is a fresh mélange of skinless breast, hand-cut pineapple chunks and crispy cucumber. To satisfy your fresh meter, all the dishes are prepared with heat options — 1 being mild and 6 being sweat lodge — so you know everything is made up “a la minute.”
MakMak is not going to start a culinary revolution. Still, for affordable Thai cuisine, MakMak is certainly no HackHack.
Address: 4219 Notre Dame St. W, Montreal, QC
Area: Notre Dame
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 11:00 am – 2 pm
Mon. – Sat. 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Price Range: $$ (Affordable)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, Cash
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