Tag Archives: Thai

Thai Thani

The Thai government seems very intent on ensuring the quality of Thai food outside Thailand. There’s a website with a list of Thai restaurants in London run by some government agency, and they’ve given star ratings to the restaurants on that list. (Incidently, our favourite Thai restaurant in London, Addie’s Thai Café, got a 5 star rating by that website!) Thai Thani has also been given the same stamp of approval by the Thai government, (actually, we’re not sure if it’s awarded by the Thai government, but whoever it is, it’s definitely something very official sounding) and was something we were looking forward to going to when we were in Orlando.

 

We first went there for a very late lunch, so the restaurant was almost empty. Having eaten practically nothing the entire day, we ordered, surprise surprise, a lot of food. First up were the fried calamari, very tasty, but had too much batter for us to properly taste the calamari. The other starter we ordered was stuffed chicken wings. These were superb. The stuffing was juicy and meaty, and the Thai sweet chili dip was awesome. The Tom Yum soup was also one of the best we’ve had, and overflowing with mushrooms.

 

We loved the Pad Kee Mao at Addie’s Thai Café in London, so this was definitely one main we wanted to have in Thai Thani. The version here is very tasty, but a little underwhelming as compared to the whack-in-your-face strong, bold flavours of the Pad Kee Mao we’ve grown to love in Addie’s. There wasn’t a lot of heat as well, but perhaps we should have emphasized more strongly to the kitchen that we wanted our food ass-kickingly hot.

 

The final dish we ordered was the Weeping Tiger, another dish we order all the time at Addie’s. This version wasn’t served in a sizzling hot plate, but there was a staggeringly huge amount of beef on the plate it was quite a shock to our (by now quite full) system. The beef was very nicely cooked, but we really missed the sizzling plate that we’ve gotten used to having this dish served in.

Overall we were very happy with this meal. Food in Orlando isn’t very interesting, as the city is geared almost entirely for tourists. We’re not sure if any people actually live in Orlando, as it just seems like housing=hotels all around us. We were in Universal Studios a couple of days later, and we actually, believe it or not, walked nearly the entire length of International Drive down south, back to Thai Thani for dinner. It took us probably about 2 and a half hours, and was quite unnecessary, since there’s a direct bus that will cover that same distance in under half an hour, but we wanted some exercise before another feast, so we took the long and tiring way.

This time round, we made sure to ask if our server was Thai, and emphasized that we were familiar with Thai cuisine and flavours, and wanted her to tell the kitchen to prepare our food in the way the Thais have it. Our second meal there turned out to be as memorable, if not more memorable than our first. So make sure, if you find yourself at Thai Thani, to not hold back, and demand for the full, most authentic experience, and sit back and enjoy the meal.

Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10

Chiang Mai

48 Frith Street
London W1D 4SF
020 7437 7444

Chiang Mai is named after the Thai city of Chiang Mai. We’ve had several experiences with Thai food in London. Unfortunately they have been mostly disappointing; as we disagreed with the way it is adapted to suit local taste – more on that later. Location wise, this restaurant definitely got it right – it’s near the main action in Soho.

 

However, the food was really hit and miss. We started with a sharing platter of Thai snacks – batter fried prawns, chicken on skewers, spring rolls, crab cakes, pork ribs and a mysterious crispy honeyed noodle thing sitting in the middle of the plate. The dipping sauces were really good, and everything on the plate was decent, and did enough to whet our appetites. The tom yum soup was quite nice too.

 

Unfortunately this is where the compliments end. For mains we had Pad Thai and Green curry. We didn’t enjoy the Pad Thai at all. It was the horribly adapted version for Westerners that we were dreading. There was a conspicuous use of ketchup in the Pad Thai which was extremely off-putting. Shame on them. The Green curry was a ridiculously small portion, and we definitely felt that we could do better with the instant green curry pastes we have in our kitchen.

Overall, just as with most Thai restaurants we’ve been to, starters are done far better than mains. The exception is of course Addie’s Thai Café, which we absolutely love. That is the place to go for very good authentic Thai food that won’t blow your budget.

Service: 7/10
Food: 6.5/10

Busaba Eathai

2 Store Street
London WC1E 7DF
020 7299 7900
http://www.busaba.com/

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday 12-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12-11.30pm
Sunday 12-10pm

We’ve been to Busaba Eathai about 2 years ago, but strangely we don’t remember very much about it. Somehow though, we didn’t think that the food was bad, but that was as far as our memory would bring us. We decided to visit it again, to give it a second chance, also because so many people seem to think so highly of it. It was raining really heavily on Sunday when we went there, so it was quite lucky that we chose to go when we did, since it was just a short walk away from Church.

We were there before they opened, but since it was raining so heavily outside the waiter let us into the restaurant while they had their staff meeting.

 

The concept is very similar to Cha Cha Moon, with its large communal tables, and quirky fonts in its menus. We didn’t have to share our table with others since it was quite quiet when we were there.

Anyway, we were there with D and QJ, so we had 4 mains in all. A’s beef kwetio (sic) had a good broth, with nice tender slices of beef, but the kwetio was appalling. It was too hard and not cooked through properly. It wasn’t even pretending to be al dente, but was completely undercooked. It clumped together awkwardly and was just unpleasant to eat.

 

K’s Chiang Mai noodle was good. It reminded him of the lamb curry dish he had in Cha Cha Moon but this was miles better. The curry was excellent and nicely spiced, with a lot of flavor, very unlike the tasteless lamb curry at Cha Cha Moon. However, he too had issues with the noodles. While A’s noodles were undercooked, K’s noodles were completely overcooked and way too soggy. The lamb was good though.

D had Pad Thai, which was alright, but not the best we’ve had. It definitely couldn’t match up to the standard of Addie’s Thai Café, but it was a commendable attempt at Pad Thai. QJ’s vegetarian Asparagus Fried Rice was also above average, and we liked very much the ‘wok hei’ taste in it. ‘Wok hei’ is this yummy, slightly charred taste, that you get in stir fried food when its been cooked above a very strong flame, which was what we got with the fried rice, so that was a few points earned for Busaba Eathai.

We shared a Calamari starter. This was a very different style from what we’re used to, and the ginger made it very unique.

Overall we weren’t blown away by the food. We didn’t exactly come with very high expectations to begin with, since Busaba Eathai never ever advertised itself as authentic Thai food, and we place a lot of weight on authenticity. Indeed, the food is hardly authentic Thai food, but as imitation Thai, watered down for the undiscerning palate, it was a commendable effort.

Service: 6/10
Food: 6.5/10

Addie’s Thai Cafe

121 Earl’s Court road
London SW5 9RL
020 7259 2620
http://www.addiesthai.co.uk/

Opening Hours
Lunch:
Monday to Friday 12-3pm
Dinner:
Monday to Saturday 6-11pm
Sunday 6-10.30pm

We’ve been on the lookout for good Thai restaurants in London for a while now. Many of the Thai restaurants we’ve been to have been disappointing. We always feel that the food has been modified too much to suit Western tastes. We’ve never had, for example, a good Pad Thai that didn’t come cooked in tomato ketchup, or a curry that was truly spicy and kick-ass.

So when our good friend D recommended Addie’s Thai Café to us, we were naturally very skeptical. He assured us though that the food was very authentic, and if we didn’t like it, the meal would be on him. This got us pretty excited, and we did the mandatory google search for online reviews. We were very delighted to find that the opinions about Addie’s Thai Café online were mostly positive, and so we couldn’t wait to try it out for ourselves.

The restaurant is situated quite prominently near Earl’s Court Tube Station, and I was surprised by how renovated it looked. This is never a good sign for me, as I always feel that the authenticity of an Asian restaurant is somewhat linked to its tasteless décor. Thankfully, Addie’s Thai Café delivered on all accounts, and I just might have to revise my opinion on this.

A had a Milky Way, which was iced milk tea. This came in a nice tall glass, and we were all very intrigued by the distinct floral fragrance in the drink.

 

For starters we had the Money Bag Pastry, which was still sizzling as it was delivered to us. This was crispy and was quickly gobbled up. Being very adventurous, I insisted on ordering Goong Chair Nam Pla, which was a dish of raw prawns and fresh chili. What came was indeed a plate of raw prawns. This took a while to get used to, as we never thought that prawns could actually be eaten raw like that. Once we tried it though, we were absolutely sold. This dish was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever had, and I loved it. The spiciness of the sauce helped disguise the raw texture of the prawns, and it was an extremely successful dish.

We ordered too a Stewed Soup, which came in an almost bottomlessly huge bowl, filled with all the best bits that the pig had to offer – ribs, stomach, soft bones.. The herbs floating around in the soup got a little annoying to remove after a while, but we didn’t mind it as we simply couldn’t get enough of this delicious soup.

Our mains were also excellent. We ordered a Weeping Tiger, which was a Thai styled sizzling sirloin beef. This came with a wonderful sauce that went very well with our steamed rice, and the beef was tender and juicy. Our green curry was also top notch, and A noted that it tasted extremely home-made. The Pad Thai was indeed without any trace of tomato ketchup, and it was too very well received, though it could do with perhaps a little more bean sprouts and peanuts. D usually orders the Pad Kee Mao when he goes to Addie’s, and this was also very good. I loved the thick fried noodles, and the level of spice was perfect.

We decided to try one of their desserts – sticky rice with taro and ice-cream. This was nice, but definitely not the star of the night. I wished that they had mango or durian sticky rice, as that would have totally sealed the deal for me. Nevertheless, we think we’ll definitely be going back to Addie’s Thai Café quite a lot in the future for our authentic Thai fix.  

Additional Comments: Reservations are recommended, and make sure your party arrives on time!

Service: 7/10
Food: 8/10