Culinary attention directed at Leeds is so often focused on either the area’s many south Asian curry houses or trendy burger joints that it can be easy to forget that there are other options available, including a fantastic choice of Thai restaurants. Sukhothai is arguably the most successful example with branches thriving in the trendy suburbs of Headingley and Chapel Allerton, as well as in the city centre and in Harrogate. The eatery is a great option for mid-priced takeaway food for a treat to enjoy at home, but it’s always better to sit down and tuck into food fresh from the kitchen if you have the time. Opulent and authentic, without being chintzy or dated; the Sukhothai business model is one of high-quality south-east Asian cookery, impeccable service and seemingly a promise to never let a diner leave without feeling full.
It’s possible to stroll in and mindlessly order a ‘safe’, albeit utterly tasty, Thai green or a pad Thai, but when food as delicious and diverse as Sukhothai’s is on offer it’s highly advisable to sample as much as possible. The menu is huge enough that you could probably visit every day of the year and still not have had everything, which is why the reasonably priced and well-portioned set menus come in handy. It’s not the lazy option, and you’ll be rewarded with a table groaning under the sheer weight of lots of little plates of food, arranged on a tiered plate stand to look like afternoon tea.
Starters range from crunchy prawn crackers and crispy spring rolls, to steamed meat or vegetable dumplings, chicken satay and a spicy chicken soup. The main courses offer a selection of marinated then stir-fried meat and vegetables, as well as fragrant, juicy curries to suit a range of spice preferences. The set menu also includes a hot drink and either Thai custard or vanilla ice cream. With prices averaging around £20-£24 per head, depending on the choice of menus, plus drinks, it’s a cost-effective way of trying as many dishes as possible in one sitting and learning more about the often subtle flavour differences that distinguish the different regional cooking styles and blends of spices.