'Unlike any other Thai you'll find in Aberdeen': Padthai Hotpot & Grill Revealed
by Rory Buccheri (@rebefoodrory)
picture courtesy of the author
Tucked between rows and rows of shops in Union Street you'll find Padthai Hotpot & Grill, a unique gem where a cosy environment meets a new, exciting experience for you and your friends.
The Gaudie has gone on a mission to find out more about the type of dining experience they offer. We stopped for a chat with the restaurant owner, Stacey Supawadee, and president of the Thai Society at Aberdeen University, Dona Wayne, who works as staff in the busy kitchen.
Not many know, but at the beginning of February 2022 Padthai H&G opened its doors to hungry customers wanting to try something about Thai cuisine that they could not get anywhere else in Aberdeen.
"There are many Thai restaurants that offer a Pad Thai menu. But a hot pot? That is unique to what we do here", said Stacey, the proud owner of the restaurant.
"I used to have another restaurant inside the Aberdeen market, Pad Thai, running for 10 years. When I opened this new one, I thought: I want to eat hot pot and grill, something that I love eating back home in Thailand. I wanted to bring it to Aberdeen."
Her favourite thing about this establishment is "letting people experience the food, letting them know about other parts of Thai cuisine", but also "getting to share Thai culture and doing something different and unique in the city".
Padthai Hotpot & Grill, as the name suggests, not only offers the classic Thai options you'd find on other menus, it also prides itself of having a hotpot and grill experience for customers to enjoy. But what's that all about? Let's find out.
First of all, you are sitting at a table equipped with a large grill, where you can grill your own food, and a hot pot, where you can add ingredients to two base soups of your choice. For our night out, we chose a clear soup and a creamy tom yum.
We added cabbage, egg, babycorn and glass noodles to our clear soup base, and shiitake, cauliflower and other veggies mixed to the tom yum. It's great fun to chuck all ingredients in.
From left to right: the hotpot and grill station; the clear and tom yum soup with noodles; work in progress, adding all ingredients to our hotpot.
The second step is deciding what raw ingredients you want to cook in your grill.
The best way to do this is by choosing a set, which will come with either meat, fish, vegetables, or a mix of all three!
Then, the fun begins. You get to decide what to grill, how to grill it, what sauce to put on top...and you get to experience the joy of sizzling food right in front of your eyes.
For this experience, the merrier the better: you can sit with your friends around the grill and chat as you flip your own creations. You may be surprised to find out how many of your friends get so lost in conversation that they almost burn their food (in that case, I am that friend).
'Set A' on the menu: including a platter of vegetables, and various meat (pork balls, slice, chicken thigh).
One of the most magical things of this type of experience, as Dona expressed, is that "it’s a community space. Instead of being on your phone, you get to share this moment with your friends."
Stacey added that it's also a fantastic opportunity for families, where kids get to experience the joys of cooking together while also contributing independently and enjoying a fun part of having dinner.
When you dine at Padthai H&G, you get more than your regular Thai restaurant experience. Mind you, they also offer a delicious menu with all the classical hot dishes you'd find elsewhere. But, let me tell you, if you shy away from the steam of the hot pot and the sizzle of the grill, you are missing out.
It's practical, it's empowering, and it's a heck of a lot of fun to get to pick, mix and grill your food.
If you have not visited the restaurant yet, you will find it on Union Street, semi-hidden but with a black banner telling you where to go.
You will find plenty of comfy seating upstairs and, if Stacey's dreams come true, soon there will be another floor of the building to be equipped with tables, grills, and all the right ingredients for an unforgettable dining experience.
Walk-ins welcome, no booking needed. You can check out their website here.