This chain of budget Thai eateries is experiencing a growth spurt. After years of just three branches, several more are cropping up around London. The Panton Street outlet is ideal for Leicester Square, and spacious enough to accommodate the inevitable tourist rush. Staff continue to seat patrons tightly around the large communal tables, despite plenty of empty seats nearby. Otherwise, service was generally upbeat and efficient.
The menu – both food and drink – has also been growing, but is still compact and offers a decent variety of salads, soups, stir-fries, curries and noodle dishes. We enjoyed the new refreshing ‘muddled’ drinks of coconut water (mixed with either raspberry or lychee juice), and iced earl grey and raspberry tea.
Stir-fried pepper ostrich sounded interesting, but wasn’t: the meat coated in a heavy cornfloury sauce that obliterated any natural flavours of the bird. Chinese broccoli with shiitake mushrooms came in quite a mean portion, with only a few slivers of flavoursome fungi. We would also avoid the new ‘Thai roti’, which was dry and grainy.
But the old favourites are still worth returning for, such as a soothing, galangal-rich tom kha noodle soup with chargrilled chicken and slippery glass noodles, or aromatic pandan chicken.