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Apr 22, 2009 08:22 AM

101 Thai Kitchen (Hammersmith) [London]

I just ate at the best Thai restaurant in London.

When we first walked in we were pleasantly greeted by second brightest and most garish interior of any restaurant I've ever been to. Thankfully the 1st (3rd and 4th) brightest and most garish interiors are all at my favorite Thai restaurants in New York. I knew we struck gold! There's just something about a Thai restaurant that's painted the brightest and most non-matching mix of colors you can think up that says quality.

Our waiter was very friendly and obliged our Thai spicy. We ordered the laab gai, the som tum, and the mixed seafood soup which is basically a tom yum with a variety of seafood rather than just prawns.

Everything was AMAZINGLY good.

The laab gai came first with a bowl of lettuce and fried crispy fish maws to make wraps. Oh yes, their sticky rice is also VERY good. The laab was some of the best I've ever had, but it was pretty much lacking in spice. Not in a bad way, but in a way that made me think they had still knocked down the spice level.

I was wrong!

The som tum and the soup were both packed with chillies, but still deliciously flavored. They both had a perfect balance of salty, citrusy, and spicy. The som tum portion was also quite generous. Really incredible stuff. Not Srip or Chao Thai level, but great som tum. The laab is IMO better than Srip but not Chao. The soup was great but not on par with Nusura or Chao, but muuuch better than Srip (which IMO can't do soup.)

I can't wait to go back. It's very far for me, but it didn't take terribly long (we went from Canada Water after we found that Cafe East closed early because it ran out of food and that it's sister restaurant at the old location closed early in order to help stock up Cafe East for the next day.

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  1. glad you agree dude, it's definitely the best thai food i've had in london also

    1. also man you've got to give the stuff at the back of the menu + the specials board a go

      2 Replies
      1. re: t_g

        Their specials board was basically a game menu (complete with adorable little pictures of what you'd be eating while it still roamed freely with other wild boars and pheasants... awwww....) I think the other board was juices or iced drinks.

        1. re: JFores

          oh ok, last time i went it had a green mango salad, a jellyfish salad, and some sort of dish that was a mix btwn a stir fry and a curry (not a v good description i know)

      2. Interesting. I must have visited on an off-night as everything I had was average. I ordered the som tum when I went as it's one of my favourite things and it wasn't very good at all. Not a patch on anything I've had in Thailand.

        6 Replies
        1. re: greedygirl

          Really have to go here since everyone on Chowhound seems to rave about it. Greedygirl sadly I think you are going to struggle to get Thai food as good in Thailand anywhere in London...

          1. re: Gourmet Chick

            I think the stfuuf at 101 is nearly on par with what you'd find in Thailand. I think GG had an off day. I only hear good reviews on this place.

            GG - try again!

            1. re: Nii

              I also had a decent experience but obviously the place is great for those hard-to-find items.

              I actually prefer the Thai food at the Churchill pub in Kensington / Nott Hill, despite the limited menu. They don't seem to mind making it genuinely spicy, I'm guessing when you serve a pub crowd there are less likely to be complaints about that sort of thing.

              1. re: kidtofu

                i think you'll find addies thai in earls court and thai origin on ken church street superior to the churchill arms.

                if you want to spend a bit more, try nipa in the royal lancaster hotel. beautiful views of the park and 'posh' thai food.

                1. re: howler

                  I had another great meal at 101 last night.

                  I ordered the special - pigs ear salad with sticky rice. I loved the hard texture of the meat mixed with all the sweet/sour/hot flavours of the mint, sweet basil, coriander and chilli. 101's sticky rice is the best.

                  I could go back there every night. I'm still on the lookout for more great Thai places.

                  1. re: Nii

                    same! esp closer to the east side

        2. One of my faves and they do marvellous takeaways as well....

          4 Replies
          1. re: LotsC

            not a huge expert on thai food - but based on this rec took 3 relatives there a few weeks back

            we ordered about 8 dishes off the thai menu

            fast forward 2 hours and i was in the kitchen personally thanking each cook for a spectacular meal

            everything was wonderful, up to and including the durian ice cream

            1. re: feelinfoodie

              I went here a couple of weeks ago, and also had a fantastic meal. Very helpful staff, even with some language barrier issues. We had the special som tam (really enjoyed the pea aubergines and dried salted fish in there), the Isaan sausages (amazing sour tang, great consistency and some good charring on the outside) and then the larb gai, as I can never resist it. The larb was also seriously tasty, though by this point, the chilli was even getting to me and my tolerance levels are seriously high. To finish, some nice thai dessert that I can't remember the name of and some taro cake. All in all, a really great place and I'm itching to go back. I think I've finally found somewhere that does good thai food in London!

              1. re: Sharmila

                went back here for the first time in a while and had an AMAZING meal. the menu's now changed, they've moved the isaan stuff up to the front and have added a few things - e.g there are now 5-6 different types of som tum you can order. also, at the front of the menu they've put a sheet of paper that has an english translation of the specials that are up on the chalkboard.

                anyway, what my friend + i had was:
                - a southern dish that consisted of steamed rice in the middle of the plate surrounded by lots of raw ingredients (lemongrass, carrot, chili powder, crushed shrimp, roast coconut). you then poured some sort of tamarind sauce over it and then combined everything.
                - a pork rib curry w/ pea aubergines
                - a fish salad w/ fresh ginger + herbs, this wasnt the same as the laotian fish salad that i've had other times but was just as good, but w/ a lighter fresher taste since there was no curry paste.
                - a glass noodle salad w/ minced chicken + prawn

                everything was fantastic (and so affordable! this all cost £33 which included 2 beers) and the waitress was v helpful, assisting us w/ putting together a balanced meal.

                so yea still highly recommended + if you havent been there then i would get along

                1. re: t_g

                  been back here a few times in the last few weeks - man this place is killing it. there specials board is different every time i go and it's always interesting. 2 new things i've had recently that i loved were raw prawns w/ dipping sauce and bamboo shoot salad (this was served hot + was incredibly spicy + delicious). also for dessert they had that dish w/ little rice flour balls in coconut milk (not sure what this is called) anyway - also delicious.

          2. you sound like you know your thai we too have ate at churchills but are far from experts we just really enjoyed our meal but to the point we are going to new york for the first time in november and would appreciate your recomendations while we are there.thanks trev smith

            3 Replies
            1. re: emtrs99

              Having moved to Cambridge i am really missing the London Thai scene. i definitely think the Churchill is underrated, their entire family of restaurants seem to do well - I went to the Prince Albert in Twickenham and had a great Pad Khee Mao there too.

              Apparently the best Thai in Cambridge is also at a pub, called the Wrestlers...we shall see!

              re: NY, I'm sure there are infinitely more experienced voices here but we had a spicy, delicious meal at Jai Ya Thai.

              1. re: kidtofu

                I had another AMAZING meal at 101 lst night

                I had the Papaya salad with marinated raw blue swimming crab. I've never had raw crab, but it was simply delicious, completely fresh and tangy which complimented the hot, fiery chillis and mint. The chunks of crab meat on the claws and legs were so meaty and tender. I was enjoying it so much, I must have looked like such a heathen.

                I followed it up with duck in a red curry sauce - it's the balance of flavours at 101 which sets it apart from the rest - just perfect!