The team behind Bob Likes Thai Food has just opened a new venture. Thai Confusion, which showcases the casual fare of Thai tapas-style eats, is now serving lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks in Gastown.
Thai Confusion takes over the space the was previously The Abbey and, before that, Wild Rice, on West Pender Street. The 90-seat restaurant aims to welcome customers to their tables to share a mix of familiar Thai eats, alongside bar snacks and casual bites that embrace western culture.
Jessica Zecher of Thai Confusion explains the concept of Thai tapas (known as Grub Gam in Thai) as “a popular way of eating in Thailand while out with friends having drinks.”
Zecher says owner Tai Keattivanichvily and the team didn’t do much to the former Abbey space, though they did update the decor to include murals inspired by ancient temple paintings. Included in the layout are two mezzanine areas ideal for bigger groups. The room has a modern but warm vibe, thanks to the honey-coloured wood paneling on the walls and the darker, more rustic woods of the tables and chairs. Look for colourful pops of Thai culture tucked throughout the space.
Diners will find familiar comfort eats like Pad Thai on the lunch menu, as well as options. “We have the same authentic flavours as one gets at Bob Likes Thai food, but we’ve added dishes that include western ingredients like baguettes, in a Bahn Mi style sandwich or bacon wrapped lychee stuffed with pineapple,” offers Zecher.
The lunch menu is simple and aimed at getting customers in, fed, and leaving satisfied without clocking in overtime. The restaurant stays open from 3 to 5 p.m. to offer drinks and snacks, then kicks into dinner service, which centres on the share-plates of the “Grub Gam” concept. (Psst: You can still order their tasty Pad Thai at dinner by request.)
When it comes to what you can drink at Thai Confusion, there is much to choose from. In addition to what Zecher calls a “concise, thoughtful cocktail list,” imbibers can pick from a wine list boasting Vancouver Island wines, and six rotating beer taps, featuring brews from Strange Fellows, Bridge, Hoyne and Tod Creek.
“We are aiming to create a casual, comfortable atmosphere to gather with friends,” adds Zecher.
Address: 117 West Pender Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch), 5 to 9 p.m. (dinner); open between lunch and dinner for snacks and drinks. Friday and Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. (dinner)