101 Thai, Hammersmith, London
- limster Apr 20, 2008 09:55 AM
Som tom (green papaya salad) is as spicy as requested; a nice balance of acidity from the green papaya and the dressing, although I would have wished for a more lime flavour. Punctuated with nutty, aromatic bits of dried shrimp, the sharpness of raw cabbage, bursts of cherry tomato, and firm cool cucumber. Sticky rice was a necessary accompaniment, both to soak up the juices and also to clean the palate. I wished the rice was a little less dry, but it's not a huge issue.
Larb gai (minced chicken salad) was about the same in quality; a good heat and tang, again more lime leaf fragrance wouldn't hurt, but is otherwise very good, with shallots and other aromatics in the mix. (No liver in this rendition, perhaps worth asking.)
The Isaan style sausage has that shadow of sourness that I like, and comes with the standard sides, including peanuts, cucumber and ginger, flavours that come together easily.
Prawn cakes (special on the thai only board) are beautifully fried, and have a nice prawny flavour to them, the texture is similar to the fish cakes/tod mun pla, bouncy and faintly chewy, ripping on the teeth.
The taro custard was fine as a dessert, served with coconut milk and caramelized shallots, but I preferred the coconut milk dessert, with jackfruit, little gobs of tapioca flour (think boba) stuffed with sharp crunchy waterchestnut and other baubles.
On the whole, a good and honest Isaan place even if there are little flaws in some ofthe dishes that put it behind the best of its kind.