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Thai in London

I have searched this board and it seems Thai 101 in Hammersmith is the critics choice. Does anyone know any other good thai restaurants in central/east or even south London (zones 1 and 2)? Is Thai 101 still good/the best? What do you reccomend eating as i usually am a tom yum and pad thai type of gal. I want to be a bit more adventurous.

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  1. I LOVE 101 and take all my Thai-loving friends there, who all leave impressed. The focus is on North Eastern Thai/Laotian cuisine. I would recommend any of the salads, esp the duck. Last time I was there, I had a Lao dish of deep fried fish (can't remember which one) covered in this spicy, peanut sauce with loads of fresh herbs - it was delicious! There's always loads of specials written in Thai, which I've been meaning to try.

    I've tried Esarn Kheow in Shep Bush once, which was nice but not on par with 101. I've heard good things about Addie's in Earls Court.

    Where in South London are you? How about Baan Thai in Brixton? I've tried the following which I've all liked.

    Rosa's - Spitalfields
    Thai Rice - Notting Hill
    Mangosteen - Carnaby Street


    1. I second Nii's recommendation for Thai Rice in Notting Hill - it is by far the best in that area. I still haven't made it to 101 in Hammersmith but it is on my wish list.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Gourmet Chick

        Patara on Greek St in Soho is always good - has some unusual takes on the more traditional dishes you would usually expect.

        1. re: pj26

          i agree w/ Nii abt 101, it's amazing, and yeah the salad's are prob the highlight of the menu but i think as long as you order anything from either the specials board or the north eastern stuff at the back of the menu then you really cant go wrong.

      2. Echoing lots of the other posts there, at 101, it's probably best to order off the Isaan menu which is at the back of menu. I was quite happy with the classic som tom - a very spicy green papaya salad. You'll need some glutinous rice with that to wipe your palate. The Thai sausages are also very nice (with ginger, peanuts etc). I think it's also worthwhile ask for translations of the thai menu on the wall. Desserts can be nice.

        8 Replies
        1. re: limster

          I finally made it to 101 Thai Kitchen the other night, and I'm afraid to say I was disappointed. I know they were advertising for a new chef fairly recently, so maybe the food has gone downhill.

          It wasn't bad, but the food lacked the freshness and vibrancy of real Thai food. Mr GG isn't that adventurous, so we ordered Thai fishcakes and steamed vegetable dumplings to start. Neither were anything more than competent. The fishcakes were a bit greasy and didn't taste that fresh - this was somewhat of a theme.

          Som Tum is one of my favourite dishes, and I was excited to try their version. The green papaya tasted old to me - it was strangely tough and while the spicing was good, the flavours were balanced but the papaya just wasn't very fresh. I know you can get decent green papaya here - I had a much better Vietnamese version in Song Que on Mare Street in Hackney.

          We also had prawns in a sweet and hot sauce - again, spicing good, but the prawns were tough and overcooked. Stir-fried beef in oyster sauce with green vegetables - OK, but a bit sweet. Pad Thai (Mr GG's favourite, so had to have it) was again, competent, but didn't stand out.

          Not a bad meal, but not the authentic Thai experience I was hoping for. Maybe we ordered badly? I think I need to visit these places with Chowhounds rather than Mr GG so I can sample the menu more widely!

          1. re: greedygirl

            Why would the less common dishes be better if they can't do good Pad Thai or Fish Cakes? You would expect these to turnover faster, be fresher and thus be better.

            1. re: PhilD

              GG - really surprised by this. The freshness of the veg/fruit and herbs was one of the reasons I loved 101. I'm going again tonight, so I'll report back. Such a shame after I've raved on about this place.

              1. re: Nii

                I probably made it sound worse than it was. It wasn't terrible, but I expected it to be great and it was just average. Not a patch on any of the food I've had in Thailand.

                I'll be interested to see what your eperience tonight is like.

                1. re: Nii

                  did you end up going back? i was wondering if there were any other reports saying it had gone down hill....

                  1. re: t_g

                    Yeah, I went to 101 and I've got to say it was another satisfying meal. I opted for dish our waitress recommended - fish kidney curry, which I was told was an authentic Southern Thai delicacy. It ws really good with a myriad of flavours and spices, but it was VERY spicy. It came with a bowel of lettuce carrots and mint which balances the intensity of the heat. My cousin chose the catfish salad which was delicous. I also tried this Thai jelly drink which I've never seen or heard of before. It was smooth with a taste almost like Coke with fine jelly threads throughout.

                    I was almost fearful of returning after reading the review from GG.

                    I think the next Thai place I'll try is Montanah in Norwood. Thanks for the rec btw!

                    1. re: Nii

                      glad to hear it's still great! i think the key is to order like you did + get those isaan things at the back of the menu + the things on the specials board.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Haven't had a chance go back for a while, so I'm very thankful for the update and also for hearingsome of the items that haven't been reported on. Yes, it's always easier with a bigger group to have a larger sample of the menu. Was curious how the other dishes on the Isaan menu was holding up.

            2. I can recommend another plaqce in Hammersmith, it's called the Hammersmith cafe, here's the link.
              I know what you're thinking-"what the hell is this?" It's a greasy spoon cafe that is run by Thais (Hammersmith is a very Thai area I think), and they do fantastic thai food in the evenings, not sure if it's just a normal cafe in the day. There's always a lot of people in here though, the locals know about it, so here's a tip from a local:
              )It's also BYO-stands for "bring your own"-you can bring your own alcohol with you and pay a small corkage fee-you pay for soft drinks in there however. There's a few off licenses nearby for beer, or bring your own good bottle of wine etc.
              The seafood Penang curry is awesome, the Green Thai curry is the nicest one I've had in London. I did have a takeaway Pad Thai from there but wasn't so impressed with that, I think Pad Thai is very hit and miss wherever you go.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bootsyjam

                My husband and I went to the Hammersmith Cafe last month and really enjoyed it. I loved the 50s caff formica atmosphere and BYOB is always a bonus. It reminded me of Night and Day in Portobello - cafe by day, Indian by night.

                1. re: themags

                  thanks guys! I will try get out to Hammersmith as it seems to be the place to go!

                2. re: bootsyjam

                  I fondly remember the long gone (I think) "Bedlington Cafe" in Grove Park, Chiswick. I believe that was the first BYO, cafe by day, Thai by night which opened in about '92. I suspect it was the inspiration for many of the other Thais like this in west London.

                  At the time I thought it was great Thai food, I suspect our tastes have all matured since then.

                3. is there a reason Nahm hasn't been mentioned?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: batfink23

                    Not at all, love to hear more about it.

                    1. re: batfink23

                      Nahm has been mentioned ... usually in connection with being pricey. Maybe that's the reason it's not talked about more?

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        ....admittedly some years since I ate there but it was really good (and expensive) both times I went.

                        As an ex-Sydney resident I do have a soft spot for David Thompson and his menu at Nahm always takes me back to the fantastic days of Darley Street Thai - probably the best Thai restaurant in the southern hemisphere in its day.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          yeah ive lived in sydney + have a lot of love for david thompson too (esp his thai food book which is surely the bible of thai cooking now right) but nahm is just so expensive

                          1. re: t_g

                            Agree about the cost, iIRC our first meal at ``Nahm was almost identical to our last meal at DST, the "price" was the same, but in london it was pounds so 2.5 times more expensive...!

                        2. re: zuriga1

                          Nahm is incredible - if your budget permits, it is worth the extra expense.
                          The amazing meal that I had at Nahm in November 2007 was one of the highlights of my trip.

                      2. It's probably a schlep, but Mantanah in Norwood was amazing. Unlike any other Thai I've had in London and I keep meaniing to go back - even though it would mean a mainline rail journey a long way from home. I'm a great fan of Busabaeathai and nahm, but this was different and exciting. I can't remember what we ate, just that it was all good, rather clean and very spicy. Don't expect much of the room itself. This has made me resolve to try it again soon.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: juneavrile

                          Re: different from Busabai and Nahm, was the difference in quality or the type of thai food (e.g. focus on a different region)? Thanks!

                            1. re: t_g

                              Cool- that sounds great, will have to try one of these days!

                          1. re: juneavrile

                            Haven't been back to Busabai or Nahm for years, but I recall the food at both places was very Westernized and not authentic at all. It's like Wagamama--or do people here actually think Wagamama is good, authentic Japanese food? That place is so bad I get annoyed just thinking about it (and how successful it is), but I digress.

                          2. Sorry to re-bump this old thread but I thought I'd weigh in with my opinion having moved to London with my wife from Thailand earlier this year. We were passionate enough to specifically look for somewhere to live close to Thai 101 and Thai Smile Supermarket, so here we are with Thai 101 practically at the end of our street! The thing is that Thai 101 has not once lived up to the amazing menu, service and specials. Every dish is something we loved in Thailand and thought we'd never see in London... but never tastes quite right. This goes for the central dishes as well as the Eastern salads and laaps and southern fish gut curries. Everything is great but just not quite right. We now take inspiration from their wonderful menu, to go down to Thai Smile and try to buy the ingredients to make the same dishes ourselves. Mixed success!

                            The more well-known Esarn Khaew up the road in Shepherds Bush is far less fun with a much more reserved menu (and a moody host) but they surpass 101 with their Som Tum every time. They just know how to get this classic right. Their Isaan sausage too.

                            Thai Rice is also worth a mention for noodle soups - their boat noodle soup is the best we've found in this city, and as anyone who's tried living in Thailand will know, you need good boat noodle soup every now and then.

                            Patara Greek Street is another good Thai choice, but does the high end. Sadly they don't meet the tastebud nirvana of Patara in Bangkok (even though London is the original), but they come close. If you want to impress someone with Thai food that obviously cost money to put together then their Veal Osso Bucco Massaman Curry is gold.

                            Addies we've not tried - heard rumours in the Thai community that it's not that good and is mostly just popular for the nightclub it has.

                            Mantanah in Norwood was our most recent trip and as said before in this thread 'it is amazing'. Should we have spent all this extra rent to live next to 101 when Mantanah is in such a cheap area and the individual dishes are the very best? Now I wish I was living down in SE25. They're serving the best Thai food in the area, both interesting and with just the right flavours. Their atmosphere is friendly and local and I can't wait to return. Their curry of pork and young jackfruit was just one of many sublime dishes from their menu which includes copious vegetarian options as well as special sections for North, East and South Thailand.

                            Finally, the ultimate London foodie experience for Thai is a weekend trip to Wat Buddhapadipa in Wimbledon - London's Thai Temple. If you show before 11am with some food and reverence for the monks you can stick around until 12.30pm and then help yourself to a table of delicious home-cooked food from London's Thai community. It helps if you're Buddhist.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: teaTomE

                              Cool - thanks for the awesome tips!

                              re: Patara -- have you tried any of the other branches within London and is there a branch to branch variation? I remember getting a whole fried fish for £16 at the Mayfair branch, which was quite tasty and probably the only "nice" place in Mayfair to get a whole fish for that price.

                              There was some talk of Nipa a while ago -- love to hear your impressions of the place if you have been. Also, have you tried the take away lunch stuff at Sri Thai around Shepherd's Bush? It's been on my radar but haven't tried, so any added info would be great!

                              1. re: kriley

                                interesting to hear that mantanah's really good! i read this review - http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com/2... - which put me off treking all the way down there. guess i'm going to have to reconsider

                                1. re: t_g

                                  Interesting blog. What do people have against "Nahm"? I ate there a couple of times and the food is very good - maybe not as good as his old Sydney restaurant (ingredients are apparently an issue) - but still at a very different level to most London places.

                                    1. re: limster

                                      A native of.....California...? She has never been one of my favourite bloggers, and she clearly has a strong opinion. Pim does seem to have taken a rabid dislike to the place. I also didn't like the room nor the service, but found the food was good - I thought the attached comments were interestingly polarised.

                                      I will hopefully get to his new "Nahm" restaurant in Bangkok soon, it will be interesting to see the number of Thais there.

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        I don't know much about her, but she's Thai and grew up in Thailand; not native to CA.

                                2. re: limster

                                  I've not heard about Nipa or been sadly. As for Sri Thai, we've dropped in there once and the owner is lovely. I didn't realise they did take away lunches. If they were more consistent with weekend opening then maybe we could try it, but during the week we're never in that area.

                                  I've tried three Pataras now - Bangkok, Soho (Greek St) and the old S&P that is now Patara in South Kensington. I'd rate them as 5, 4 and 3 stars respectively - both in terms of the food and the setting. The Mayfair Patara I've not tried. It is the original under that brand name, although the South Ken S&P is much older and is the true beginning of S&P's foray into London restaurants.

                                  In case you don't know S&P is a massive food company in Thailand that sells top-end preprepared food and has a few cafes as well where you can get this food. The nearest UK equivalent I can think of would be M&S Food. Imagine M&S teaming up with a top chef and launching a high-end set of restaurants to experiment and perfect their food and this is pretty much what Patara is for Thais.