Som tum sua
Every now and again I search for 'the best Thai restaurant in London' hoping to find this city's answer to Chat Thai in Sydney. My most recent search discovered Thai 101 Kitchen in Ravenscourt Park. I sent the suggestion across to my friend Ed who grew up in West London and I thought might be my best bet as a dinner companion.
The idea was left hanging for a couple of months and then an opportunity arose; dinner to plan our upcoming trip to Malawi.
The restaurant was pretty busy when we arrived and there were lots of Thai voices buzzing round the dinning room. Definitely a good sign.
Not long after we ordered some pork crackling arrived at the table. It's unusual for cheapy Thai restaurant to give away complimentary snacks, but we weren't going to complain. As we finished the crackling a bowl of prawn crackers arrived. Another welcome addition, to our hungry table. And then the penny dropped, the kitchen was struggling to keep pace.
With two pages of my favourite salad - som tum - on the menu we had to order one. I love the classic som tum Thai, you can't beat the classic in my book. What actually arrived at our table was the sum tum sua (£7.25). We had dived in before realising the mistake and were scared to send it back for fear how long the replacement might take to arrive!
At the end of the night our waitress apologised for sending us the wrong dish and it didn't appear on our bill. A nice touch.
Ed is a big lover of laab so we ordered the laab ped (£7.50). Laab is an economical dish in Thailand and quite frequently consists of liver. The offal is usually omitted outside Thailand, but this dish was heavy on the liver. A little too heavy for my taste, in almost equal proportions to the duck meat.
It had great flavour and a fair kick of chilli too.
The Isaan sausages (£6.95) are another street food favourite of Ed and mine. The sausages were accompanied the salty pad pak boong / morning glory (£6.50) another one of my favourites.
We decided to chance or arm with the slow service and order a couple of desserts to share. The shaved ice was a sweet bit of fun. We decided to try some of their homemade ice creams as well. Ed selected the durian and taro ice creams. I enjoyed the taro, but the durian was a little over powering for me.
Homemade ice cream - durian and taro
I was a little over hungry to fully enjoy the food at Thai 101. It would have been better if the dishes all came out together, and more promptly, so that we could have enjoyed sampling them all at the same time. I'd be prepared to give Thai 101 another go, the only problem being that it is quite a long way away.....
352 King Street