One Fine Meal: TydeTate Kitchen serves delightful, homespun Thai comfort food

TydeTate Kitchen packs all its Thai comfort food in takeout boxes. Clockwise from upper left: chicken fried rice, saku bites, spring rolls, Thai beef salad and pad Thai. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
TydeTate Kitchen packs all its Thai comfort food in takeout boxes. Clockwise from upper left: chicken fried rice, saku bites, spring rolls, Thai beef salad and pad Thai. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

The pandemic has done little to slow Atlanta’s building boom. In the restaurant world, that apparently means more and more food halls.

How, then, does one navigate this sudden surge in new places to eat?

If you’re wondering what to try at the newly opened Chattahoochee Food Works, on the upper Westside, I suggest you start at TydeTate Kitchen, a walk-up counter created by four cousins to showcase the sort of Thai comfort food their family loves to make at home.

Named for co-owner Sai Untachantr’s two young boys, Tyde and Tate, it started about two years ago, when Untachantr and her brother, Bank Bhamaraniyama, decided their mom’s frequently requested curry puffs — puff pastries filled with minced chicken, sweet potato, onion and curry powder — could be the focus of a catering concern.

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TydeTate Kitchen’s saku bites (tapioca dumplings) are a wonderful starter. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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TydeTate Kitchen’s saku bites (tapioca dumplings) are a wonderful starter. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

As the pandemic bore down, business grew, and they gained exposure by doing pop-ups. When the family got the opportunity to be a part of Chattahoochee Food Works, it made good economic sense, said co-owner Matt Bhamaraniyama, 29, who has worked in restaurants since he was about 15. He has done everything from bussing tables to serving to bartending — working at Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, Nan Thai Fine Dining and Chai Yo Modern Thai, where he was the opening manager.

“We thought it was time for us to do something for ourselves,” he said. (Pak Raparpesh is the fourth partner-cousin, and the kitchen manager of TydeTate.)

I got a tip about TydeTate just as it was transitioning from a shared kitchen to its new space in a bustling corner of Chattahoochee Food Works, right next to a capacious patio and the food hall’s central bar. It seemed only fair to give it time to find its sea legs.

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TydeTate Kitchen is a family affair. Shown here are Matt Bhamaraniyama, Pak Raparpesh, Joe Bhamara (Matt’s father) and Sai Untachantr. Matt, Pak, and Sai own the restaurant with Sai’s brother, Bank Bhamaraniyama. Wendell Brock for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
TydeTate Kitchen is a family affair. Shown here are Matt Bhamaraniyama, Pak Raparpesh, Joe Bhamara (Matt’s father) and Sai Untachantr. Matt, Pak, and Sai own the restaurant with Sai’s brother, Bank Bhamaraniyama. Wendell Brock for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

On Memorial Day, I stopped by and ordered a feast: spring rolls, saku dumplings, pad Thai, chicken fried rice and Thai beef salad. Then, I retired to the patio to taste each dish, one by one.

I was blown away by the stellar cooking, beautiful presentation (in takeout boxes, no less) and the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Who would have thought that one of the city’s better Thai kitchens would be lurking quietly in the corner of a food hall? Not I.

At any Thai restaurant, the litmus test for me is the pad Thai and the spring rolls. TydeTate gets high marks for both — delightfully crispy rolls, filled with cabbage, carrots and glass noodles, and a perfectly balanced pad Thai, with noodles that impart just the right texture (not too limp!), and a sauce that packs just the right amount of sweetness and tang. I had no trouble emptying that box.

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TydeTate Kitchen makes an exemplary pad Thai. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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TydeTate Kitchen makes an exemplary pad Thai. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

The saku bites — the restaurant’s take on classic saku sai moo dumplings — were stunning. Thanks to the addition of butterfly pea flowers to rice flour, the dumpling skins were transformed to a magical shade of purple. Stuffed with caramelized palm sugar, crushed peanuts, minced chicken and pickled radish — and served with tender romaine leaves for wrapping, cilantro for garnishing and tongue-torching whole red chiles for piercing the sweetness — they are delicate, with just a hint of danger. (In other words, go easy on the red-hot peppers.)

The beef salad — grilled flank steak, yellow pearl-drop tomatoes, red onion, scallions, aromatic herbs and spicy chile-lime sauce over romaine — was another knockout. My one quibble here was that the chicken fried rice, though nicely executed, was just a tad bland. However, by the time I revisited it, as leftovers for supper, the flavors had mingled. All it needed was a muscular shot or two of hot sauce.

Watching the family work together in their tight space, my mind drifted back to the streets of Bangkok, where magnificent flavors are born from modest circumstances. In every sense, TydeTate captures the essence of honest, heartfelt Thai cuisine. I already yearn to return.

Matt Bhamaraniyama, who owns TydeTate Kitchen with his three cousins, takes an order at the Thai comfort-food restaurant. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
Matt Bhamaraniyama, who owns TydeTate Kitchen with his three cousins, takes an order at the Thai comfort-food restaurant. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

TYDETATE KITCHEN

Menu: Thai comfort food

Alcohol: no, but there are numerous options from neighboring food-hall vendors and a central bar

What I ordered: spring rolls, saku bites, chicken fried rice, Thai beef salad, pad Thai. The service was friendly and seamless; the food was seriously good.

Service options: will take call-ins, but prefers to make dishes to order; hopes to add online ordering and delivery at a later date; check Instagram for updates

Outdoor dining: yes, the stall is situated next to a comfortable and expansive outdoor space

Mask policy: staff, yes; patrons are not required by the food hall to wear masks, though many do

Address, phone: 1235 Chattahoochee Ave. NW, Atlanta; 678-327-4978

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Website: tydetatekitchen.com

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