The name is coincidental (it belonged to the caff previously occupying the restaurant’s original Spitalfields site), but it seems appropriate for this cheery, low-key endeavour, run by an English husband/Thai wife team.
The scarlet frontage is echoed inside by red stools and lampshades; otherwise it’s all pale plywood furniture and corrugated-effect panelling. The basement has slightly bigger tables. It’s not comfortable and there’s zero atmosphere, but the emphasis is on speedy, casual budget dining, whether it’s local workers at lunch or Soho explorers for dinner.
The lengthy menu covers all the standards – fish cakes, spicy-sour soups, salads, stir fries and curries – with dishes marked with one, two or three chillies to indicate heat. Portions are generous, so you could cut costs by sharing a starter: ‘fresh’ spring rolls (similar to Vietnamese rice paper rolls) produced four hefty pieces. Green vegetable curry included proper Thai aubergines and big chunks of tofu; we’ve had better but it was a perfectly acceptable rendition. Best of all was a mouth-tingling, eye-wateringly hot som tam (shredded papaya salad with prawns, long beans, cherry tomatoes and cashew nuts and copious lime) – despite being only a two-chilli dish. To drink, there’s an assortment of teas (hot and cold) and Chang beer.