Aji 555, Real Thai Cuisine is located in a house that is within the limits of Surquillo and San Borja. Far from taking you on a journey to Asia -except for the painted Thai dancers in the entrance wall-, it is like entering a private house with a bar at the entrance and some tables in the living room.
We took a table close to the small garden where they cultivate their own plants that serve as ingredients. A very nice waiter approached us and offered some house refreshments. We had a Thai Tea with Lemon (s./12), unlike regular ice teas, this was slightly bitter; a Tea Thai with Milk (s./15), an orange frothy tea that was refreshing, not heavy and delicious, and a Carrot with Coconut Milk Juice (s./15), that was very tasty and smooth as well.
We also tried their Chilcano with Kaffir Lime (s./12), a citrus fruit native to Asia, but available in the garden, and very much used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is difficult to describe its taste as it is still citric and it gives the chilcano a special touch. We enjoyed it. We also had a Pisco Sour with Kaffir Lime (s./18), relatively small in size, slightly green in color and slightly bitter. Certainly different from the traditional pisco sour and with a particular taste that we enjoyed as time passed by.
It was time for food so we ordered the menu. Ají 555 has a large menu with all the typical dishes one may find in any Thai restaurant. There are the noodles, soups, rice dishes, the stir-fried, and of course, the curries. You can choose chicken, pork, meat or fish as the base for your order or simply go vegan. There are also food options for celiacs. The menu is available in English and there are photos of the dishes so you can’t go wrong.
We had the Pad Thai Gung (s./49), rice noodles that came in large quantities, mixed with all kinds of seafood (fairly large in size), fried tofu, cashews, peanuts, asparagus, and with a tamarind base. It is a popular dish amongst Aji 555 customers, we were told.
It was time for the curries so we had the Pla Chu Chee (s./49), fried fish covered in red curry, kaffir lime, and coconut milk, and the Chicken Green Curry (s./42), a thick greenish curry with few pieces of chicken, both somehow disappointing.
Our next and final dish, the Keh Massaman (s./69), a lamb curry with chopped pumpkin and jicama –a Thai tuber similar to the yacón- and cooked with lots of wonderful spices, made the visit all worthwhile. The lamb was tender and very tasty while the thickness and flavors of the curry were perfect; all in all, it was superb and definitely the best dish we had. All curries come with a generous bowl of white rice.
I honestly expected more of Ají 555 -from the décor to the food, passing through the cutlery and other details-, plus the prices we found way above average. On a positive note, service was excellent, portions were generous, and the quality of the ingredients was excellent. I will still come back for those dishes I liked and perhaps should try others. If you are a fan of Thai food, be aware their charming Chef Manager will soon be offering cooking lessons.
Aji 555 Real Thai Cuisine
Av. San Luis 2879 San Borja
Opening hours – Tuesday to Sat. 1 – 3.30, 7 – 9.30, Sunday – 1 – 4 pm
Appetizers – s./ 4.50 -36
Salads- s./ 35-45
Soups – s./ 19-65
Curries – s./ 42-69
Fish – s./ 45 – 120
Stir-fried – s./ 35 -48
Noodles – s./ 36-49
Additionals – s./ 4- 12
Tom Yam Tale (Cover photo: Marco Simola/Traveling & Living in Peru)