On the shelf in my kitchen is a well-worn cookbook called The Art of Simple Food. I have turned to the work often over the years, inspired by its premise that good and delicious cuisine should be prepared and served effortlessly.
It would seem the owners and staff at Modern Orchid have the very same tome onsite at their brand-new location in Dartmouth Crossing.
The lunch menu is uncomplicated, with three core Southeast Asian inspired selections priced at an affordable $8.95, including Chicken or Beef Pho, Beef Noodle Soup and Curry Noodle Soup (chicken, beef, BBQ pork and seafood).
Both my dining partner (the ravenous Ms. N) and I opted for the “Combo” platter ($10.95), comprised of a main dish accompanied by a small, but hearty Curry Vegetable Soup, a fresh green salad, a savoury spring roll and sticky steamed rice.
Peppered with tidbits of vegetables, my Singapore Spicy Vermicelli was a tasty treat, well seasoned, but not over-the-top hot.
Ms. N echoed the sentiment with her moist and meaty Thai Chicken Cutlet, a plate of proper proportion that had been so tenderized that her knife and fork cut through with ease.
While both meals went down well, settling gently in the belly, it was the aesthetic that took us both by pleasant surprise; like the best art, the style was as important as the substance, and the spaces in-between the servings made it all-the-more scrumptious.
Similarly, the clean, basic décor and quick, friendly service only added to the satisfaction, keeping the focus – where it should always be – on the food.
Still, design can be deceiving and behind the outward simplicity of the experience lay the complex ingredients of great effort and skill. However, the pay-off is a boon for patrons looking for an easy-going and reasonably priced lunch-hour.
171 Hector Gage, Dartmouth Crossing
Open for lunch daily from 11am-4pm