From my seat, I could see a toboggan hill, trees, mountains and blue sky.
Not such a bad view for my lunch in the middle of a busy day.
All the more incredible is that this place is just two minutes from downtown and two minutes from Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, et al.
It is the Yam-Woon-Sen Bistro at Fireweed Market Society’s space in the Shipyards Park building.
Considered to be a really, really nice warm-up shack, you would think this kitchen churns out hamburgers and French fries and such. But you would be mistaken.
This is a Thai food restaurant. You can order Red Curry that is generous with the meat, delicately spiced and yet sweetened with coconut; you can have Fresh Spring Rolls that are stuffed with carrots, avocado, bean sprouts, cucumbers, noodles, basil, green onions and cilantro; and even indulge in Deep Fried Bananas for dessert.
Flipping through a guest book, you can see the surprised comments of patrons who never expected to find these exotic treats in a park … in the Yukon.
It is open for lunch only, Mondays to Fridays, except Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. But Suzanne Gagnon hopes to launch a “dinner club”.
“It is gorgeous here at night with the lights in the trees, outside, and the fireplace,” she says. “It has an ambiance that is very cozy.”
A lot of people have signed up, but they need more to make it financially feasible since they need to rent the room.
Meanwhile, running a restaurant from a rented space has its advantages. Gagnon’s daughter-in-law, Fon Honhorn, says the food is fresh every day since it needs to be brought in every day.
“If anything is left over, we bring it home to eat,” says Gagnon.
Gagnon’s son, Kimpton, says this comes with the added benefit of good, healthy eating. He says their trips to Thailand always see a drop in pant size for him.
It is important to point out that authentic Thai food is healthy, but it is difficult to make since there is some technique involved and the all-important effort to find the proper, fresh ingredients.
But they do have the technique down as Suzanne has run a Thai-Canadian restaurant in Thailand; and Honhorn is from there.
Since my usual LDC is too busy at work these days, I was joined for lunch by my assistant editor, Josephine Holmes. Neither of us were familiar with Thai food, so we weren’t afraid of being embarrassed.
“There’s no wrong way to eat this food,” Suzanne re-assured us. “But there are some funny ways.”
“Maybe you don’t want to put the rice into the curry,” says Kimpton, helpfully.
It was so difficult to decide on what to order; it all looked good.
You see, Yam-Woon-Sen Bistro doesn’t just have a menu posted … it has samples at the ordering desk to look over.
So, we tried it Thailand-style and put them in the center of the table and shared, just as Honhorn showed us.
“G-kow hi aroy,” she said to us delightfully (explaining that it meant, “Enjoy and don’t be shy”).
We did enjoy this new experience very much. “There are flavours in this food I’ve never had,” said Josephine.
Honhorn explained that the food is not exactly authentic, since it is served very hot in Thailand. If we wanted authentic, we could help ourselves to the chili powder on the table.
Checking out the shrimp salad (which could have been chicken, beef or pork), we met the restaurant’s namesake: Yamwoonsen is a rice noodle salad.
“It’s my favourite,” says Honhorn.
“And we thought it would make a really nice name,” added Suzanne.
Takeout customers are encouraged to call ahead at 332-2993.
This review is not meant to judge the quality of the food or service. It only describes the experience offered by the reviewed restaurant. The owners were informed in advance of the review and the meals were provided at no cost.