110 Old Street, EC1V 9BD, Shoreditch, London
Price: £40-45 per person (drinks excluded)
The problem of any Thai restaurant in London is that once you tried places like Kao Sarn in Brixton, it is very hard for any of them to meet the expectations. I can say though that we visited Thai Thai with a clear mind and the best intentions. But even with the best intent, the overall experience with food there was pretty disappointing.
When we entered the restaurant we were welcomed by a very polite table attendant who thankfully was also our pleasant and efficient waiter. The interiors of the restaurant were sober and relaxing with few oriental hints to what the average European person would consider Thai decor.
The following is what we ordered yesterday night, when we tried to mix some classics with some new dishes.
Tod Mun Ra (Thai fish cake)
Fish served with spices and kaffir lime leaves served with ground peanut and sweet chilli sauce.
The colourful dish was served on a black rectangular plate that made the bright colours stand out and happily invite you to taste the food. Although the taste was there – the combination of ginger and lime leaves was very pleasant – the fish cakes weren’t really fish cakes but they looked more like squashed fish balls. On top of that their texture was slightly spongy and rubbery. It brought the whole plate down, not really something you would expect in a refined restaurant.
Pu Nim (soft shell crabs) – Deep Fried soft shell crabs, topped with garlic, pepper, salted chillies and spring onions.
Uh, what a disaster. The plural of ‘crabs’ in the menu is a bit misleading. You actually get one fried crab. With the whole soft shell…but with no meat in it. I do not know if any of you travelled to Beijing, China. Allow me to share a little image of my journey there. It was 2006 and I was part of a jolly group of students. We were walking among the hutongs in the city centre, when we noticed a group of children running around with some peculiar skewers in their hands. I wasn’t sure what they were made of first, I could only see it was something deep fried. We turned a corner to encounter a food stall selling skewers of…scorpions. The whole things, with their shells, piled up in three or five on a skewer. Now, I consider myself a pretty adventurous person, always ready to try new delicatessens, but this one…none of us in the group had the guts to try. Especially the ones still moving on the skewers…
This is to say that when last night we were served a deep fried full-legged, empty crab, the association of thoughts was quick to make.
I did try this one though….and I could only taste the half-crunchy shell – not much crab meat in there. The legs weren’t soft at all. I left the rest on the plate.
Talay Pad Chaa – Stir fried scallops, prawns, mussels and squid in a rich lemongrass, garlic, peppercorn sauce.
The mains were a better experience compared to the starters. In this case the scallops were well cooked. However the sauce wasn’t anything special, more or less tasting like any pepper sauces you can have in any Chinese restaurant.
Beef Mussaman Curry – Coconut Milk infused with roast peanut, potatoes and tamarind mild and tasty (as per menu description).
Probably the best dish of the evening. Nothing presumptuous, pretty sweet and mild, not a lot of meat in there though. Mussaman curry is a pretty nice dish, kind of difficult to get it wrong.
The general shock though was caused by the fact that the mains are not served with rice…and a bowl of egg fried rice costs £4.50.
Pad Pak – Stir fried mixed vegetables with oyster sauce
Very average side. Simply stir fried vegetables with some oyster sauce poured on them.
Coconut mousse with mango ice cream heart
The dessert were not made in house, so generally I would not describe them. It is worth mentioning though that this one was served…completely frozen. I had to wait good five minutes to eat it, the alternative was to break the plate with the spoon.
I know you might be wondering why I talk about a simple Jasmine tea. The special story about this one has to do with the waiter – a different one unfortunately – who took desserts orders.
My partner asked him which ones among the three or four teas on the menu was the lightest. The answer was: “It just depends how long you keep the tea bag for, if you take it out sooner, the tea will be lighter”. I don’t think any comment is needed on this one.
Therefore, as said, not a wonderful experience in glamorous Shoreditch last night. I definitely would not recommend…unless you want to experience some exotic shivers thanks to meatless crabs!