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.
Basement karaoke room of the Heron
1 Norfolk Crescent
|Opening hours:||Meals served 1-11pm daily|
|Transport:||Tube: Edgware Road or Marble Arch tube or Paddington tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses £7.50-£18 Meal for two with drinks and service around £50|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:2
This has moved and the Thai has changed hands. It is not meant to be anywhere near as authentic.
Does Timeout know where the Heron of old has gone? I may have to call the Thai Embassy at this rate!!
Last time I was there they did mention that they were moving.
what a load of rubbish.
the soups are really expensive and tasted ok. the actual restaurant is dark and dingy...feel like a prison as its dark, small and very loud. Not all that clean, dread to think what the kitchen was like. The entrance is also via a very smelly pub. One of our waitresses was quite rude when I asked for sweet chilli sauce! No customer service skills. Overall food was merely ok, ive eaten at much better restaurants than this that charge the same price. Even the menu is plastic and they are charging £12 for a soup! Go for dinner if you fancy being out of pocket and disappointed.
My partner and I tried The Heron yesterday. What an oddity!
It's in the basement of a pub by Edgware rd. The food *on the whole* was delicious -- real deal Thai street food, as I remember it from my travels to Bangkok. There are absolutely no orientalist decorations; no elephant statuettes, etc., -- just a couple flatscreens showing Thai MTV and Karaoke. It's an outwardly cosy and unpretentious setting.
But here comes the down-side. The waiters are clueless and horror show rude. Example: "next dish!" was how the waiter snapped when ordering, and "do you want it or not?" when offering dessert. The coup de grace, however, was the steamed seabass in lime and chilli (which is pictured above). When they brought it out, atop some flaming silverware (it did cost £20 afterall) carnage ensued. They used one two many paraffin candles under the dish. Within minutes a blazing fish-shaped inferno licking 5" above the table had us both fleeing our seats. The other diners froze. The staff rushed to our table with a bundle of dishcloths. And as one lifted the fishy bonfire the other retrieved a candle into a porcelain bowl with a spatula. The lifter then backpeddled, splashing liquid fire over the table, the seat, and on the arm of a woman at the next table. Every one was silently aghast. We looked on as a puddle where our fish was burned. I asked if the woman, now stroking her arm with tissue paper, was alright? She nodded awkwardly. As the puddle eventually self-extinguished, the staff returned with our fish. No apology, just a "leave it or lump it" silence. Eventually we settled back down and I went for a slice of the seabass - raw, completely uncooked!
Try them if you dare!
I hunted down this restaurant for 'authentic Thai' because I looove Thai food. The food was delicious, but the service, ambiance and the fact I caught a fever after leaving because I was freezing the whole time I was in there put me off! I do feel it's over priced as well, I don't mind paying more for good food but I don't know what I was paying for here.. Rude service in a run down basement? The food wasn't good enough to make up for everything else. :( A real shame.
The venue of an outstanding evening with myself and my boxing camp. Recommended to us by a local Thai business for a night out. We had a fantastic evening with top notch food and entertainment in the form of karaoke. All complete with the added bonus of a bill that was more than modest. The Thai staples were as good if not same as in Siam. It's obviously an adventurous menu at a low price so do expect all the ingredients of a flavourful home cooked meal than a cordon bleu supplied restaurant. And boy does it have some flavour. It really is making the best out of whats available which is what the Thai's do best. *Steamed prawns with vimecelli - star dish! The reviews are well deserved and will be hard to top for the genuine thai enthusiast. We'll be back again!
Some would say this is the best Thai food you can get in London, if not anywhere outside Thailand. I've spent a good few months in Thailand and I'd probably say this is possibly the best Thai food I've had anywhere.
This restaurant is definitely a phenomenon, one of my favourite places to eat but you have to be adventurous if you're not used to mad Asian cuisine. The raw crab salad is sensational, the spicy fish dishes have an amazing depth of hot, sweet, citrus and lime flavours all in one. It is remarkable. Personally I find the price extremely reasonable by London standards and compared to other specialist restaurants it is very cheap. Outstanding!
I lived in Thailand for many years and I will say the food and decor takes me right back there. The food was very tasty and very real but my only complaint is that I feel the price is too high.