Restaurant websites are notorious for being wholly unhelpful. They are ugly and hard to maneuver with awkward scrolling and autoplay music; it’s shocking how often the address is missing.
But then there’s OCha (means “yummy” in Thai), whose Pinterest-style layouts of food and a gif of a knife slicing into a red chili make it hard to be mad that it doesn’t list what days the restaurant is open. And it was those brightly lit pictures of artfully staged fruit-topped slushies in mason jars and vivid green curries with basil leaves scattered around the bowl that look more like a magazine shoot than anything representing a restaurant meal that brought me to Centreville.
The white walls feature peg board displays, each with its own theme: clocks, platters, mugs and air plants conveying studied minimalism with just enough quirky personality.
And then there’s the food. Roti, an Asian flatbread, runs through the waffle machine, becoming somehow flaky but sturdy enough to scoop up a green coconut curry with strips of bell pepper. It’s cheery and pleasant, with notes of sweetness and spice.
Another dipper for the curry—and you can pick between the handful of saucy options—are strips of chicken. The coating is thick and crispy, thanks to panko, and can stand up to the peanut-y red chili curry. A larb salad with hunks of tofu mingling with red onion and topped with a Thai jasmine rice powder is bright and tangy, though I’m not sure what the powder brings, besides a little grainy texture. Squiggly egg noodles sit with slices of sweet barbecue pork and enough crab to bring a bit of flavor to the mellow bowl of broth.
OCha is not shy about turning desserts into Instagrammable spectacles. There’s a cheese tea in pinky milk flavor: It’s like drinking Bubblicious bubble gum topped with liquefied sour cream. Our waitress says only about half the guests actually enjoy this, and they’re mostly teenagers. One of the slushies showcases liquid dyed purple from butterfly pea flower, and it’s poured over a lemon-lime version in a mason jar at the table. This is built for pictures, maybe not tastebuds.
But it’s a fun time, as the message on the marquee board reads: “Eating makes me happy, so here I am.” // 5037 Westfields Blvd., Centreville; ochathaikitchen.com