Brave the karaoke singers and the cramped basement of this Bayswater boozer for a taste of genuine Thai cookery.
Located in a shabby boozer round the back of the Edgware Road, the Heron is certainly a rough diamond. Yet look beyond its busy carpets and dark, slightly dingy interior and you’ll discover some of the most authentic Thai food to be found in London.
Blaring Thai pop signals the way to the diminutive basement dining room, populated almost exclusively by Thais. The kitchen specialises in north-eastern cooking, offering an impressive range of spicy salads, sour curries, stir-fries and much more besides – this is not the place to come for a standard Thai green curry. From the ample list, the sour sausages (sai krok esarn), served in bite-sized bobbles, produced plenty of garlicky tang.
A hot and sour salad of stir-fried minced pork and crisp-fried rice ball pieces had the perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour notes, plus enough dried chillies to numb our lips – ask for it mild if you can’t handle the burn. Cobra beer (the Chang and Singha were both off on our visit) helped to cool the heat.
Expect things to get lively after 9pm as the dining room doubles as a karaoke lounge. Service couldn’t be friendlier.