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There’s a tubby Buddha in Aroi - you’ll see him on the stairs as you enter. It’s a good sign. You’ll be well fed here. And at a fair price.
On your entrance, you’ll see lots of well-dressed staff. Another good sign. They'll take good care of you. You won’t even have to ask for your water glass to be re-filled. And there are smiles all round.
You’ll also notice lots of customers here in the Carey's Lane venue. You may even have to wait a few minutes for a table. Another good sign. You are in an excellent restaurant, serving Asian street food, all mains for a tenner.
Aroi started in Limerick about twelve months back but this is the Cork Aroi, boy. Both are proving very popular and there has also been much praise from the critics for chef Eddie Ong Chok Fong.
Aroi's menu is on your table when you arrive along with the chopsticks (don't worry - knives and forks and spoons too!) and it looks neat and tidy but there is much reading in it, great choices under headings such as Curry, Stir Fry, Grilled, Rice, Wok Noodles, Noodles Soup, and Salads. Twenty four dishes in all described in detail for you, the hotter ones marked with an “S”.
Each of the mains costs €10.00. But do check out the sides as well. There are about nine of them, most of them costing a fiver, great to share if you are part of a group. By the way, the lunch-time menu is the same and the usual deal here is one mains and a gelato dessert for ten euro.
We had previously been impressed with some of the curry dishes, including the Red Duck and the Yellow Fish, so we went for something different on this occasion. Nuea Pad Khing (stir-fried beef strips, scallion, ginger, chilli and wood mushrooms), was one under the general Stir-fry heading. Superbly cooked, this went down well.
The other mains was the Char-grilled duck served with Thai green vegetables and Tamarind sauce. Again, both the meat and vegetables were perfectly cooked, a joy to eat.
And then there were the sides. Went a bit overboard there! Rice in a separate bowl came with the beef and, in addition, we ordered: fish cakes, full of flavour in their own delicious sauce; superb crispy duck rolls, again with a delicious sauce; and a small stack of the crispiest chicken wings with dipping sauce.
After all that there was little room for gelato - their only dessert! No shortage of drinks here, by the way: wine, beer, soft, teas and coffees. No shortage of anything really! Excellent food, excellent value for money.