Lunch Time Pressure: Viphalay

I’d heard much ado about Viphalay (10724 95 Street NW), from a friend, a newspaper and a chef. Dickson and I agreed on this new-ish Thai and Laotian restaurant for a lunch meet-up last week so I was finally able to experience it firsthand.

With bars on the windows, I really didn’t feel welcome approaching the eatery. Next to a school, with a tiny parking lot shared with a handful of other businesses, the location left much to be desired. But walking into the space, I was immersed in a much different feeling. The interior was modern and elegant – red walls accented the bar at the rear of the restaurant; the inset ceiling, lined with bold red and black paint, brought an unexpected jolt of vibrancy to the mostly white dining area; and lastly, the delicate spotlights that shone on the periphery of the room created a subtle but classy mood.

Interior

The restaurant was less than half full when we walked in just after 12:30pm. We were asked if we had a reservation, and when we responded that we didn’t, were promptly seated anyway at a table along one wall. The place setting included a wine glass, which seemed unnecessarily fancy, but then again, so long as the drinking vessel is clean, I shouldn’t complain.

We took some time to peruse the menu, and despite being momentarily tempted to order the lunch special (which seemed the most economical way to sample their fare), I ended up with my benchmark dish of Pad Thai ($12.99). Dickson opted for the Tamarind Chicken ($11.99) and a side of coconut rice ($2.99/bowl).

I would gather that for most on a noon hour jaunt, time is of the essence. Of course, not choosing a “15 minute guaranteed express lunch” from Kelsey’s or the like means that I was, on some level, making a conscious choice to gamble with an unknown time factor. At the same time, as the restaurant was seated with half of its maximum capacity, Dickson and I expected some expediency with our meal.

It took a good thirty-five minutes to deliver our food, leaving us with about fifteen minutes to eat. I want to press that our waitress was great throughout our meal – attentive and polite to the point of pushing formal (presenting our bill with two hands and a bowed head made me a little uncomfortable), but she couldn’t alleviate the time stress we felt because of the slow kitchen.

As for the food – we thought it was average. The pad thai was more sweet than spicy, and the number of shrimp included were a paltry three – I would choose the same dish at Bua Thai or Syphay any day. Dickson’s tamarind chicken was all right, but with a flavour that was mildly sweet but not wholly distinct, neither of us would recommend it as a standout entrée.

Pad Thai

Tamarind Chicken

I may visit Viphalay again, perhaps for supper or for a weekend lunch date, but I surely won’t be back when an acute awareness of time will impede my enjoyment of the meal.

Viphalay
10724 95 Street NW
(780) 423-3213
Tuesday – Sunday, lunch 11am-2pm, dinner 5-9pm, closed Mondays

One thought on “Lunch Time Pressure: Viphalay

  1. I went to this restuarant and I absolutley agree the service: impecable.
    after frequenting Bua Thai back in the day I decided to take a trip to Thai land, and when I came back and found a new Thai and Laos place I got eager and tried out this highly recomended eatery.
    I must say that I strongly disagree:
    The Pad Thai by far has out done every Pad Thai I have had in Edmonton. Although I am a spic lover, Pad Thai doesn’t need to be spicy, I love that when talking to my server he told me that “we can make our food as hot as you wish and a bit milder if needed”
    Thai foods, tend to start off either sweet or salty and its up to the family to decide the spice level.
    My food came out in an orderly fashion, and my soup was served in a beautiful boat shaped dish and my dessert-ill just end it with that I am dreaming about it to this day.

    I highly recommed this restaurant great atmosphere, free parking and great food.

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