Tuesday, 3 January 2012
I do quite a bit of keeping up with the latest goings on in my old haunts of London. There is the wonderful Brockley Central and south east London food blogger Hollow Legs is worth a read too.
When Hollow Legs titled her post about a Thai restaurant "Fire in the Depths of London" I knew that I had to go. She described the pub as being opposite a "ropey-looking estate", but she failed to mention that the pub looked very ropey as well!
When my policeman friend arrived he remarked that the place was familiar. He'd been there in an official capacity to break up a scuffle. Everything was screaming don't enter, but we pressed on in and down to the basement.
The brightly coloured dining room / karaoke bar was empty when we arrived and we had to check they were open. But the place had a certain Thai style and I was already starting to warm to it.
We ordered a som dtam (ส้มตำ) which is my favourite Thai dish. Fresh, crunchy and warming it was slightly heavier on the lime juice than I'm used to but still pretty good. If a place makes a good som dtam the rest of the food is invariably good. I was hopeful for what was to come.
Our second dish was sai krok (ไส้กรอก) which is a street snack favourite. A Thai style sausage made with glutinous rice. The rice inside the sausage makes them filling little snacks. The sausage had a nice rich flavour with refreshing slices of pickled ginger on the side.
The third dish was another cafe favourite of laab ped (ลาบเป็ด). A salad of minced duck. The laab was my least favourite dish of the four. It wasn't bad, but it didn't have anything about it which particularly stood out.
Lizzie had called the Kai yiew mar kra pow krob ( ไข่เยี่ยวม้ากะเพรากรอบ) her favourite dish. We couldn't see it on the menu so in my broken Thai I gave it a crack and am pleased to say that we got the right thing! The blackened century eggs had been fried to give them a crispy coating. The eggs were the star, but went well with the minced pork and slightly sweet sauce. This was my favourite dish of the day.
Readers of the blog will know I love the authentic Thai flavours that I'm used to from Bangkok. The Heron was the best Thai I've eaten in London. The dishes tasted authentic without being standout examples. For the best Thai food outside of Thailand I'd still rate Chat Thai more highly. But it's not really a to compare places in London and Sydney. You can't exactly catch a cab between the two!