Here’s a question, food fans – if you HAD to choose one, which would be your favourite cuisine? So much choice, I know, but you’ve got to pick a favourite.
If your ever-hungry Dish Detective was posed that question, there would only be slight hesitation before proffering a four-letter answer – ‘Thai’.
It’s the intense flavours, the fragrances, the fact the ingredients always taste so fresh. I know that particular check-list can apply to many cuisines, but there’s just something about a good Thai restaurant…
It’s not an ‘after-the-pub-kicks out’ meal; it’s not really a ‘works office outing’ dining experience of raucous laughter and bottomless drinks either; it’s a more intense, intimate, romantic, cosy affair – perhaps best enjoyed with just one other person. If restaurants were musicians, a Thai would be Barry White or Sade, not Oasis or the Sex Pistols.
So it was, on a chilly evening, my partner and I dodged the showers en route to Fah Thai which opened on Albert Road last September.
Formerly the Bangkok restaurant, Fah Thai is under new management and has attracted the sort of online reviews which beg a visit.
It is easy to see why. First impressions shouldn’t always count, but in restaurants they often do. As a result, a stylish interior, complete with under-stated decor and candles, and a very warm welcome combined to create a feeling that this was going to be a very good meal. And that is a good feeling to have, is it not?
Based on past experiences in Thai restaurants, a selection of starters was an absolute must – I’d deliberately not had a huge lunch just to ensure my stomach was emptier for the evening’s delights.
The two of us shared three starters – no piggy noises please, purely in the interests of research – namely the chicken satay (four skewers), two fish cakes and two duck rolls. All weighed in at £6.99 each, which could be considered slightly on the expensive side for starters. But the quality, the freshness, and the flavours shone like a beacon.
If ever given an hour left in which to live and told I can choose 10 dishes before shuffling off my mortal coil, chicken satay would be on my deathbed banquet for sure.
There is a high chance Thai red curry would be on the list too – certainly if it was anything like the dish the ever-friendly waitress brought out for my main course (prawn, £9.99). One red chilli (for ‘mild’ warmth) was positioned next to it on the menu, but for a heat-seeker like myself, one was nowhere near enough. Asking for a temperature slightly below the three chilli rating – and requesting an extra jug of water at the same time – the heat level was perfect. As were the flavours, smells, herbs, and there was a generous amount of wonderfully tasty crustaceans too. I highly recommend this dish. My partner, not as familiar with Thai restaurants, chose something they’d never tried before – the chicken masaman curry (£8.99) with potatoes, onion and coconut. Again, it was a filling meal in itself, let alone on top of a triple helping of starters. Trying a few bits of chicken myself – research purposes, of course – I found it tasty but not on the same (high) level as my own meal.
Summing up, the Fah Thai delivered as good a Thai eating experience as I can remember (and, when it comes to filling my stomach, I possess a particularly fine memory). With 19 main courses to choose from, plus a range of starters, salads, soups and vegetarian courses.
So remember, if you’re ever feeling a bit peckish, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ever-squabbling Gallagher siblings. But sometimes, you just can’t beat a bit of Barry.