London: a hubbub of delicious multicultural foodie delights. You want it? You can get it. But sometimes there’s a bit too much choice, right? How are you supposed to distinguish the dump from the b-ling? (Geddit? ‘Dump-ling’…) Well, that’s where we come in. And just for you – because we’re nice like that – we’ve sampled the delightful cuisine that is Thai across the whole of London. Not only that, but then we’ve gone and written it all down for you. So all you need to do is sit back, relax, and be transported to white sands of Ko Tao…minus the mosquito spray and suncream.
This Thai-Malay restaurant is one of the South Bank’s hidden gems. Located mere minutes from the Shard – but down a street that will have you wondering if you’re in the right place – it is a find not to be forgotten! Champor-Champor’s exotic smell (yes, we mean smell), wall littering of beautiful tribal artefacts, silks and statues and glittering candlelight will transport you to another world. A world far better than that of London Bridge, dare we say. And that’s even before you’ve tasted the food.
To start, the pan fried tandoori prawn with mango yogurt salad and thai salsa is a must have. And so is the seared scallop, pancetta, apple salad with spiced lime juice and milk dressing. To be honest, so is most of the menu. But if you’re not much of a fishy fiend, the spiced lamb neck fillet, tamarind, sweet potato mascarpone, cucumber juliennes is also a good place to start. Follow that with either a traditional grilled chicken thigh green curry, asparagus, butternut squash, or the more adventurous lamb shank braised in blue Sumatra coffee, red wine, dried red chilli and you’re in for a winner. And then come back another time and sample the rest of the menu, because frankly, it’s stunning. Oh, and our mouths start watering as soon as the thought of the steamed taro and black rice pudding with mango ice cream pops into our head now, so, er, yeh – get that too! Bohemian, intimate and wildly unique, Champor-Champor is Thai food galore!
62-64 Weston St, SE1 3QJ
If there’s a time and place to feel like Thai royalty, it’s at Patara. We made a visit to the newly opened Hampstead branch, and when we say we say it felt like we were in Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok, we mean it. Patara’s exquisite taste in design does not just stop at the interior. From the beautiful crockery to the cutlery, to – as you would hope – the food, attention to detail is paramount. So much so that (and we never thought we would say this over here at Secret London), it almost looked too good eat. Tough, we know. But still, we managed all the same…
Opting for the Patara banquet because 1. we love food and 2. we wanted everything off the menu, we weren’t quite prepared for the explosion of flavours that were coming our way. The stunning handcrafted flower shape dumplings with caramelized chicken, peanut and sweet turnip were sweetly (and mouthwateringly) delicious, while the prawn and crispy beignet tossed with cashews, lemongrass and roasted chilli dressing was powerful and poignant. For main, a must try is the coconut braised beef with lime, mint and lemongrass, the most royal of all the dishes – seriously, our lovely waitress told us that actual Thai royals eat this – perfectly cooked, and falling apart and into our mouths with ease. Washed down with one of their signature cocktails or a bottle of wine, accompanied by excellent service and followed by dark chocolate pudding with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream, this is certainly a meal fit for a king. Or your average Joe with excellent taste in food and an appreciation of the finer things in life. You pick.
82 Hampstead High Street, NW3 1RE, or various locations
3. The Begging Bowl
Don’t be fooled by the name, folks. While we may be moving away from the ‘finer dining’ experience, that’s not to say we’re moving away from finer tasting experience. Not. One. Bit. The Begging Bowl offers only a few of the usual suspects (for example, stir-fried morning glory…which is a common Thai VEGETABLE) but with a recommendation of choosing a selection of 5 dishes between two people, there’s something for everyone.
Slightly more unusual dishes – but equally delicious, we assure you – are the ash baked celeriac, gola peanut curry charcoal grilled on a banana leaf or the whole deep-fried sea bass, sweet & sour tamarind sauce, green mango, deep-fried chilli, Thai shallots and roasted rice. Western ingredients are given an Eastern touch, and the simple yet exquisite dishes are SO good that you will most certainly will be begging (bowl) for more!
168 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15 4BW
Featured Image Credit: Glamour