Restaurants Reviews and Such

Khao House – Sherbrook Street

I noticed a few weeks ago, that Have a Nice Day, the restaurant in The Good Will Social Club, had been replaced with Khao House. This is not a second location, but a new location for the restaurant that was originally located on Sherbrook Street. I’m not sure what brought about the decision to move, but I like the fact they dd. I really liked the food at Khao House, and I find myself stopping periodically for coffee at The Good Will Social Club. So, it makes for a good mix. 
The Hours for Khao house are the same as for the Good Will Social Club, but the menu varies as the evening gets later. 

Khao House Ramen
This Khao House Ramen will have you coming back for more.
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I received a comment on the blog the other day about whether or not my decision to order the BBQ Chicken Soup at Thanh Huong might not have been as accidental as I thought. The commenter suggested that perhaps I had enjoyed it so much the first time that I wanted it again. 
There my be something in that. I know this time my ordering decision at Khao House had a bit of outside influence to it. A few days back there was a post in the Manitoba Food Bloggers group asking for recommendations for the best Ramen in Winnipeg. When I entered Khao House, I noticed a couple of Ramen on the board. Having this post in mind I ordered the Pork Miso Ramen.
Now, I make no claim to being an expert on Ramen. However this was fantastic. The broth was rich and deep. The pork was tender and moist and the noodles were good and chewy. What stuck with me, though, was the broth. The flavour lingered in my mouth for several minutes after I finished the dish. Not in the way that a large amount of garlic stays on your breath, but a gentle, satisfying flavour that left me feeling warm throughout.
To me, the most telling part of this dish was that as I was walking home I got about a block and a half from the restaurant and was hit with a really strong urge to turn around, head back to Khao House, and order another bowl of that ramen. In the short, internal argument that followed, my waistline and wallet won out over my desire, but I continued my walk home feeling more contented after a meal than I have for a long time. 
With beverage choices from The Good Will and food from Khao House, this one location worth visiting repeated, and repeated times. 
Late last year I heard a lot of talk about a new restaurant opening up on South Sherbrook Street. It was a small little place without many seats that would be serving Asian Fusian cuisine. The name of the place was Khao House. The first time I tried to visit happened to be at a time when they were closed between lunch and dinner, there was a note explaining that service had been so large, that they needed to replenish before opening for dinner. So, I took note of the hours and decided to come back at a later time.
Hearing how busy the place is, I decided that my best bet would be to be there the moment the doors opened. I suppose I could always make a reservation, but where’s the fun in that. So, I showed up on the stroke of 4:30 pm and sure enough there was no problem getting a seat.
Khao House is located, appropriately enough, in an actual house. When you enter the space is not unlike a large living room. Along the front windows there are stools at a counter, and scattered about the room there are a few two and four top tables.

Cutlery containers at Khao House.
No need to ask for cutlery vs chopsticks, as both are provided along with fish and soy sauce.

My first time around, I chose to sit at the window counter, and watch the traffic as it passes by on Sherbrook. One thing I like about the menu is that it isn’t very large. There is a nice variety of items but not so many that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Khao House Spicy Shoyu Ramen.
Spicy Shoyu Ramen.

The Ramen was one of the items that I had heard a lot about, so I made that my order. The noodles have good consistency and chew to them, and  the egg was well prepared, just at that point between soft and hard boiled. It made for a quick and easy light supper.

Khao House Escape from the Cold

It took me awhile before I made it back to Khao House a second time. However, I thought that since yesterday temperatures were approaching absolute zero, it might be a good time to find a seat without too much trouble. Turns out I was correct. This time I was seated at a little two top at the foot of the stairs.
This time I went with a starter and a salad. For the starter I chose the Kalapao. This is a steamed bun, with pork sausage, black fungus mushroom and egg. Unlike the Ramen the egg in this dish is hardboiled. Much easier for eating with chopsticks.
I found the bun a little on the doughy side compared to similar creations I tried, but the filling was top notch. Even better it comes with house made chili sauce. This sauce contains, both, a lot of flavour and a goodly amount of heat.

Khao House kalapao
Kalapao with a real good chili sauce.

When my Kalapao was finished, I was brought my salad. This is Laap, a meat salad. I like my salads, especially when they come with lots of meat in them.  The main meat in this salad is beef liver. Now, I’m not a huge liver fan. This comes from childhood, when it was served up in it’s toughest and least flavourful forms. However, that’s not the case here. The liver is tender with the strong flavour muted somewhat.
I tried it with a some of the hot chili sauce and some of the fish sauce. I liked the salty character that the fish sauce brought to the dish, as it took away even more of the liver flavour’s strength.

The Laap from Khao House
The flash distorts the image somewhat, the beef liver was much better in colour than shows here.

As I ate my way though the Laap I noticed a patter emerging on the plate, and as I finished I discovered a Norman Rockwell print as part of the plate design. This brings a touch of North America to the largely Asian cuisine, and makes Khao House seem just a little bit homier.

Khao House Norman Rockwell plate
A Norman Rockwell print as part of the plate design

Last night the restaurant was having a special on cocktails. As well, they were offering a hot chocolate special, a good idea on a cold night.
The service is quite good. The staff is knowledgeable about the food and looks after things such as water refills quite readily. The only slight problem (one of my pet peeves) is that yesterday’s server responded to every comment out of my mouth with the word “perfect.” Having said that, you should head down the south end of Sherbrook and give Khao House as try.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.