Acutely authentic northeastern Thai cookery finds a no-frills home at this King Street canteen.
This no-nonsense Hammersmith establishment feels a bit like a scruffy canteen. Ageing padded metal chairs look like cast-offs from a convention centre; tables are arranged in long lines, and some wobble. From the back of the two-tone pink dining room, portraits of the Thai royal family watch over proceedings.
As is the case in many of London’s most authentic Thai restaurants, the cooking here is largely from the Esarn region of north-eastern Thailand – including multiple versions of green papaya salad, accompanied by anything from salted duck egg to sausage. You’ll also find a collection of southern Thai dishes such as sour prawn curry, or turmeric-marinated sea bass. These are prepared by ‘Auntie Bee’ who hails from Hat Yai, a city near the border with Malaysia. An Esarn classic of shredded bamboo shoots with the fermented fish sauce favoured in the region was characteristically pungent (in taste and aroma), served with a decent squeeze of lime, plenty of chilli and a few mint leaves to add freshness.
Staff don’t stand on ceremony here, informing diners when the table must be vacated for the next sitting, yet they’re not unfriendly; locals, spanning every age group, are treated with congeniality.