New Thai restaurant promises tiki bar fun on the Westside

Tiki Thai takes over the former Chin Chin space on Howell Mill Road

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Inside Tiki Thai

Photo by Praim Siribothi

A collection of hospitality veterans have banded together to try something new. Ivan Raintung (Mulan), Bell Chabchit (Osha Thai), chef Santi Buaphaeng (Silom Thai), and executive chef Varee “Nam” Somanee (Blue Elephant Thai in Bangkok), along with Erny Liauw and Praim Siribothi, have taken over the former Chin Chin space at 1715 Howell Mill Road and turned it into a trendy spot for dining and imbibing. Called Tiki Thai, it serves fusion fare with authentic Thai flavors and craft cocktails with a tiki bar flair.

“Serving food and drink is my passion,” Chabchit says. “When people love it, I’m happy.” His experience working at Tuk Tuk Thai Loft and 1Kept influenced the Tiki Thai menu. In addition to traditional dishes such as Tom Yum soup with real coconut meat and Nam Tok (Thai beef salad), the restaurant will serve Panang seafood pasta and green curry pesto pasta, among other options. “Not many Thai restaurants know how to use pasta,” he says. Another unique offering is a smoked turkey leg simmered in coconut milk and served with curry fried rice called “the Caveman King.” There’s also a “lobster roll” sushi roll.

Photo by Praim Siribothi

The Oceanaire (spicy scallop, scallion and avocado with red tobiko and serrano pepper)

Photo by Praim Siribothi

Orange Paradise (salmon tartare scallion, aioli, avocado, and a sesame chip)

Photo by Praim Siribothi

The Caveman King smoked turkey leg with curry fried rice

Photo by Praim Siribothi

Drinks will be experiential, served on golden trays with different “decorations.” They’ll be infused with Thai herbs, such as the Tom Yum Collins with lemongrass and kafir lime, as well as sparkling wine. Asian beer will be available, and special wine tastings will be offered quarterly. The bar will be open late and eventually feature its own menu of late-night snacks. “It’s going to be a blast. People are going to love it,” Chabchit says.

Atlantans are already taking note; even some of the Real Housewives of Atlanta attended the August grand opening. The 85-seat space features chandeliers, recessed ceramics displays, and modern lighting. A hand-drawn gold wall mural tells a traditional Sanskrit story about a god fighting a giant. Chabchit’s brother led the interior design.

The bar

Photo by Praim Siribothi

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