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Restaurants, Thai Brixton
3 out of 5 stars
(49user reviews)
KaoSarn (Tricia de Courcy Ling / Time Out)
Tricia de Courcy Ling / Time Out
KaoSarn (Tricia de Courcy Ling / Time Out)
Tricia de Courcy Ling / Time Out
KaoSarn (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out

Time Out says

There’s no shortage of well-priced eateries in Brixton Village Market, but KaoSarn is one of the biggest crowd-pullers. The place is regularly packed inside and out with a mix of stalwart Brixtonites of all ages, and young hipsters soaking up the Market’s vibe – and it deserves to be busy. The food is not only cheap, but bursting with authentic Thai flavours. As at many of the surrounding dining venues, the decor is basic, with mismatched furniture and much of the seating ‘outside’, spanning both sides of a corner site at the edge of the market. The menu too is pared down, with a handful of classic curries, noodle dishes and stir-fries – all well prepared. An impressive salad of plump king prawns slicked in dark red roasted chilli sauce and lime juice (pla koong) was packed with fiery heat and citrus tang. Another of sautéed ground pork with roasted rice (laab) had been liberally laced with fresh mint and coriander; though milder than you’d find in northern Thailand, the dish still packed plenty of aromatic flavour. Soft drinks include fragrant own-made lemongrass or ginger tea, and there’s also the option to BYO. Service can be a little matter of fact, but staff are unfailingly friendly.




Address: Brixton Village Market
Cross street: Coldharbour Lane
Transport: Tube: Brixton tube/rail
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Users say (49)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:11
  • 1 star:16
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This simple Thai in Brixton village does what it says on the tin - tsty Thai food, in a very simple little restaurant. Service is fine, if a little brisk - it's BYOB, so as much as that's a good thing don't expect a long relaxing meal, as soon as you've finished your food you'll be rushed out. However, the food itself is reasonably priced and the Pad Thai I had was very flavoursome. 

Really disappointed with how this place has deteriorated over the last 5 years. It used to be the best thai south of the river but recent visits have meant I'm going to be looking elsewhere from now on. 

On our last visit, my boyfriend and I got there an hour before closing. The food came out in about 10-15 mins, and the staff started obnoxiously cleaning up and closing around us as we ate, plonking chairs on tables, shouting at each other across the room, mopping the floor. There was another group nearby and they exchanged glances at us and left shortly. It was super clear they wanted us to leave despite there still being 30+ mins before closing. 

The food itself was a massive disappointment from visits a few years back. The once crisp, tasty and fresh dishes were bland, soggy and chewy. The portion was bulked up with rice. Both my boyfriend and I had diarrhea the following day. Severely disappointed and sad to be moving on from KaoSarn after so many years. 


In an area filled with food KaoSarn still manages to make its mark. The food is good, very reasonably priced and the service is fast (not overly friendly but efficient). You may need to wait for a table, but don't fear, staff will bring you a glass so you can enjoy your BYO drinks while you wait. 


When you’re looking for a no fuss, cheap and cheerful Thai because, let’s face it, you’re a little bit dusty from the night before...

What we had:

  • Som Tum Thai papaya salad
  • Satay Gai - satay chicken skewers with peanut sauce
  • Gai Yang, Khao Neaw, Som Tum - grilled half chicken in Thai marinade served with sticky rice and green papaya salad
  • Prawn Pad Thai

The service at KaoSarn is brisk, no-fuss and keeps it simple with easy go to dishes like Pad Thai that are satisfying and cheap and cheerful. The spice level here is relatively low so it’s good for those who can’t take a lot of spice but still want their Thai fix. The main dish that is great value for money is the grilled half chicken - it’s flavoursome, succulent and you get a little bit of everything. The Pad Thai here is fairly solid however I would have liked a bit more of the charcoal or “wok” flavour, but then again the flavours at KaoSarn are much more muted to accommodate of the British palate.

Tip: there’s usually a line; however tends to move fairly quickly due to their quick service.

Good For: cheap and cheerful, quick meal, outdoor area, small groups

"Service can be a little matter of fact, but staff are unfailingly friendly."

Wow, I must have been eating in a parallel universe; KaoSarn in Brixton market has the worst, laziest, rudest service of any restaurant. They make WongKei seem like Le Gavroche, and WongKei specialise, indeed pride themselves on their rude service.

Oh, and the food is bloody atrocious. Dumbed down versions of Thai staples: using Italian basil instead of Thai; pre-cooked, frozen satay; goopy, soggy pad Thai noodles; no condiments. Very, very bad.

The worst customer service I've ever experienced anywhere. I ordered something for take away and asked for it without the egg. I opened the container when I got home and saw there was egg in it, and I had to go all the way back to the restaurant and ask them for a new one. Instead of apologising, they were very annoyed and told me just to take the egg out and eat the rest. I told them I can't, as I'm allergic, and they grumbled but finally made me a new dish. When they handed it to me they loudly complained about having to make a whole new dish when I could have easily just taken the egg out myself. The food was alright, you can get the same quality anywhere else so the rudeness really isn't worth it. Will not be going back there.  

Awful. Got a rogue piece of chicken in my meal...I'm a vegetarian. No apology, still tried to charge me, rude manager who shouted over me and didn't want to listen when i explained that I didn't want to pay full price for my meal. (Shouldn't have to pay at all - the chicken went in my mouth). Won't be going there again haha. Think I might be banned now anyway for refusing to pay. Really enjoyed the manager sticking her tongue out at me when I left too ha. AVOID!!!

Rather disappointing. I've been here quite a few times and i ve seen a gradual decline in the quality and care in making the food. The food came out of the kitchen within a couple of minutes of placing the order. Yes Asian cooking can be quick, especially when wok fried, but it should still look as though you want to eat it. My massaman curry came with the coconut milk still floating on the top and despite the beef being tender, tasted of nothing but coconut. £9-10 for a main course is too expensive for this level of fast-foodness. Satay is similar to takeaway.


Cheap and delicious. It´s not a big portion tho. The staff is quick but nice and the price is honest. The red curry prawn is very tasty, definitely worth it. 

Definitely one of my go-to restaurants in Brixton Village, for quality, efficiency and a bit of al fresco dining. Granted, it’s not the friendliest of places, but it doesn’t really bother me that the waiting staff aren’t falling over themselves to ask me how my food is every five minutes. In fact, I’d say that’s a plus point! It’s a shame they can’t do a vegetarian version of the massaman curry, but I always enjoy the green curry (always spicier than I expect it to be) and the spring rolls are really good too. And it’s BYO, which is perfect! Expect to queue in nice weather though.

I've been in this place a hundred of times already and I will be back! Most of the time I order Tom Yum Goong soup which is absolutely delicious. Pad thai noodles are my favourite one! Try it, if you will have a chance to eat there. Place is really popular so sometimes you can see people queueing but it's doesn't take to long to get the table and it is worth it!!!

It's is such a lovely place. Little family business. It didn't happen to me there that someone was ever rude to customer. Everyone is always so smiley and happy to help. Massive well done xx 

The worst restaurant experience of my life. Service was truly awful. The manager is the rudest, most obnoxious person to ever have the displeasure of serving anyone. Repeatedly told us to "move" and "make room" for people who never preceded to show up. There are literally thousands of better places to spend £30 for a meal. AVOID!!!

AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. When Brixton Village first opened this was the place I would recommend everyone to go. Now though, due to the service being the most appalling I have ever experienced, I wouldnt eat here if it was the only place open. Reservations are not honoured, last time I was there I was literally poked out of the way by the manager while asking how long my table would be. The response to my question..'you wait!' They only allow you an hour to eat and if youre not finished they'll dump the bill on your table and clear your plates, whether there's food on there or not. Everything that was lovely about it has gone. There is no interest in customer satisfaction here. Just turning tables. With so many lovely places to eat in Brixton Village, dont waste your time with such rude people.

Absolutely awful service and average Thai. The staff were ridiculously rude and asked us to leave to free up the table the moment our plates were taken away. I wouldn't mind but nobody was waiting. I explained to the guy that we weren't hanging around and that we had sat down, ordered and eaten both our starters and mains all within the space of 18-20 mins. We still had wine left which we were trying to quickly drink but this didn't stop the waiter coming back three times in five minutes to tell us that his boss said we need to leave. The next table couldn't believe it either. I will never go there again.

Delicious and excellent value. Service does leave something to be desired, but I've found the staff brusque and efficient rather than rude.

If I served food this mediocre and with service so poor, I'd be ashamed of myself. Used to be pretty good when it opened in 2011, but is basically boil in the bag stuff now. They snatch the plates away the second you've eaten and throw the bill at you. They tried to charge me £35 for sticky rice instead of £3.50 and argued when I pointed out a simple mistake. That's after they yelled at my friend for asking if they had a tofu option. Go anywhere else in Brixton, but if you like Thai food, you can't beat Yum D in Market Row. They even smile when you order...

This place is fantastic and there is always a queue to get in. I've been here on a number of occasions and the staff have been lovely considering how busy they always are! Good quality food and BYOB = a perfect combination for a laid back evening in Brixton village.

Think twice before venturing into this place…the service was atrocious to say the least. A table was booked for a birthday and we arrived and were seated outside and we noticed there were large drops of water splattering onto the table from the ceiling. We politely asked the waiter if he could place a little bucket or something to collect the water and we were greeted with a dirty look and he waltzed away. The manager then came over and we were then told “I’m not a builder, this is Brixton Market Village and not a 5 star hotel!”. Well blatantly it’s not a 5 star hotel because it’s in a market which we were fully aware of but we were pleasant about it and we were met with just rudeness and attitude. The manager then took our order and came back a few minutes later and we were told that everyone must order a starter and a main even if you didn’t want one! (again we were told this with such attitude and hostility). Someone then stepped in and told the manager that it was someone’s birthday and they shouldn’t be so rude. The manager then came back with “I hope you have a s**t birthday”. We then decided to leave as we didn’t want to stay and risk getting our food tampered with!. I then told the manager that he shouldn’t speak to customers so rudely and was then told “just go, we don’t need customers like you”. It’s a shame as I had heard the food is tasty at this place but I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything like this before, they certainly will not be winning any customer service awards but for entertainment I would give them a 10 out of 10!

Also downright racist of Nick to assume that staff must be Chinese if they are rude.

This 'Nick' is really very funny. So what made you think they are Chinese? So you married a Thai and think you know all Thai? Rubbish comment.

Can't say I was very pleased. The food was ok, and definitely not expensive, plus we saved money on no corkage fee. But the service left a lot to be desired. First, they seemed quite annoyed with us that we preferred to wait for an outdoor table, even though one was available inside. When we did sit down, we ordered quickly, and within a couple of minutes they were bringing out my main, even though I'd ordered a starter. When I said I was supposed to get a starter, she took it back only to have someone bring the starter and main together a minute later -- at this point I made a comment about not knowing if they'd come at the same time, which was greeted honestly with a bit of a glare. So I just let it go, I didn't even mind having them together, but I have to say I do prefer places to tell you when they'll come together, rather than just assume its ok. My husband then didn't get his rice for about 10 minutes after his main came out -- whenever I'd try to get someone's attention to tell them, they'd just ignore me, I don't see how they could not have heard me its not a very big area. The lady at the table next to us had to finally actually grab their arm to get them to come over. And when we'd finished, we wanted to sit for two minutes to finish our glasses of wine...but the woman sorting out tables was standing over us pointing another couple to the table -- while we were still sitting there! A bit awkward, we just got up and swigged the wine. I understand they want to turn the tables over, but I have to say sitting for two minutes after you pay your bill is not out of order, and it was quite rude. All in all, the food was ok, but not better than other places we've tried, which have much better service. Definitely won't be returning.

Superb food, prepared with care. Far beyond your average Thai fare. My only complaint would be lack of space! Otherwise excellent. Surprised about comments about service; although a little brisk the lady who looked after us made us feel very much at home. Indeed, this seemed the charm to me- the food is prepared almost infront of you by a small group of dedicated cooks who give it an unmistakably authentic touch while creating complex and exciting flavours.

Although the sign on the door clearly stated it opened at 12pm, my wife and I turned up at 12:30 looking to eat and we were met by a man guarding the door, turning countless people away in a very rude manner. One group of people were turned away for the fact they had a child in pushchair, when ,in fact, the eating area was free of people, and they hadn't even taken their 1st customer of the day, and space was not clearly an issue. I cannot fathom how a business can run and rely on its reputation when potential customers are treated in such a rude and unprofessional manner. I will take my business elsewhere in future, shame on you Kaosarn, shame on you...

Ignore the negative comments from pretentious new 'Brixtonites' and try KoaSarn for yourself. I Love this place. It's one of the only eateries in London where I've actually eaten food that tasted authentic. Yes the restaurant is small and modest, and customer service probably isn't the staff's first priority, but if you want a quick, tasty, reasonably-priced Thai meal, it's the place to go in south London. Personally, I value great food over customer service anyway! Make sure to book a table to avoid disappointment and BYOB.

Cant see how this got a 4 star review. The venue is cramped and crappy, the staff are rude and unwelcoming. The food was okay but not great. We had our table booked but they couldn't get rid of us fast enough, they were taking our plates away as soon as we put our forks down. We were in and out in about 30 minutes, hardly an enjoyable meal with friends. I strongly recommend going somewhere else

Have eaten here twice now. The first time for lunch I had the hot soup, which was delicious although overpriced for what it was. Last night, we visited again and I was dreadfully dissappinted. The red chicken curry was mediocre, had no ingredients apart from the very basics (chicken and a simple, thinner sauce than what you'd expect), the chicken was dry and seemed pre-cooked. it would have cost less than &2 to make and cost us over £7. I regularly make Thai food myself so I can confidently say this came way below par. I would expect the same quality from a Wetherspoons menu. My partners massaman curry was tastier and the meat was more tender meat but was very basic too. We paid £38 for a horribly simple meal and soft drinks. We will not be returning.

Been reading the reviews, i have been to this restaurant for many many times, it is very busy, with only 1 hour slot. the food comes very quickly and it's delicious for sure. The waitresses are nice, maybe i have been there so many times....based on value, food and service, scores 4 stars.

Completely disagree with Ray here. I've been about 4 times and been underwhelmed each time. The food is OK....I'm a big fan of Thai food and the cuisine at KaoSarn is decidedly average. Plus the portion sizes are very small. The last time I went I had booked a table, and the waiter/waitress told me to come back in 15 minutes as it wasn't ready. We came back and he/she said it was too busy, to which I replied 'but we booked a table?!' The reply was 'if do not like what we do at KaoSarn, you can leave'. I obviously haven't returned. But let me stress this altercation wasn't the main reason behind this bad review, I truly think this restaurant is overrated. It goes like a fair mainly down to it's location. If you're a fan of Thai food go to 'Yum D' in Market Row (the other section of the villiage), where the food is echelons above what is served at KaoSarn. It has a real homely feel and the portions are very generous. Highly recommended.

just there the other night > have not been for a while the food was just as good or may be a little better

Fantastic bustling experience, took me back to Bangkok! Delicious cheap food, very busy in the evenings but tables and chairs outside help ease the pressure. Maybe not the best Thai food in London but certainly the best value for money. Remember the Brixton Village toilets are just around the corner not int he restaurant itself but you'll be directed there by the ever-helpful and smiling staff.

Ate there with a friend last Thurs eve. Wonderful, distinctive tastes and flavours. This is the real deal when it comes to Thai food. It's a caff so don't expect silver service. We found the staff very friendly.

book ahead or turn up really early (before 6.30) or you will be turned away - even if there are spare tables which are unbooked (they like to save these for larger groups who turn up). staff like to talk and look at you or mutter something and then look at you. only one member of staff was friendly and attentive. the others were dismissive at best. skewers looked as if they were steamed / microwaved as opposed to grilled. mains are cheap, but don't expect many prawns in your curry (we only had 2). the fried chicken was a generous portion, although abit dry. the dipping sauce is extremely spicy so beware. if you ask for tapwater they will ask "still or sparkling?" no doubt will be added to your bill - which is handwritten in thai - so make a mental note of prices when ordering. overall - average "home" style food, not worth going out of your way for, but ok for a quick bite before going out for the night.

Not really sure what the hype is about this place. very average food, certainly not the best Thai restaurant in London. Like said in the review, it's more like ( or worse than ) a random street vendor in Bangkok, fine it's cheap, but you also being very rushed while eating, certainly doesn't worth the travel if you are not living near Brixton.

was looking forward to this place due to it's recent reviews and popularity on TimeOut. I was disappointed though, sad to say. While the staff were nice, the food was very average, the doors were ajar and because the location is on the very outskirts of market, we had to leave our jackets on. Furthermore there was also confusion with bill (the receipt was hand written, very brief and confusing) as the people next to us got the very same bill but had ordered differently to us. Now it is quite cheap will be not be getting two modes of transport to come here again.

Don’t believe the hype about ‘Brixton Village’, the re-badged, skanky Granville Arcade of my youth (pace Jay Rayner et al). The space is as scruffy, chaotic, slightly sinister and moribund as ever. Had lunch there recently (11/2011) at the much vaunted Kaosarn. While the Thai food was fine – succulent chicken satay and Moo Ping pork skewers, glutinous sticky rice, neatly spiced and perfumed beef massaman – it was utterly overwhelmed by the dimly lit, greasy tabled, claustrophobic and dismal ambience of Kaosarn. This is a joint to grab a very quick snack in and clear off pronto. Oh, and by the way, like most of the other restaurants in the Village, there is no lavatory. Ermmm.

I personally, having visited this restaurant on two occasions would suggest that it be avoided...the food is good enough, but the staff are exceptionally rude and determined to create a bad atmosphere, on the basis of my experience yesterday, where I was quite literally scorned by a member of the family for asking to sit in a window table, with no reservation card on it, and told to "sit where I'm told to sit"! This establishment doesn't deserve to receive such high ratings if it means they are under the mistaken belief that they can treat customers so badly. Understandably, I walked out on this occasion, and asked them why they were being so rude. I only wished I had done so on my previous attempt to have a pleasant meal there, when I had to wait for an inexcusably long time for my food, while having to endure table after table of other diners being served before me. When I politely pointed out that I had been waiting for rather a long time for them to even TAKE My Order, they were very brusque with me indeed. Not good enough, folks!

Hands down the Best Thai food I've eaten outside of Thailand at astonishingly low prices. Fantastic, fast and friendly service and it's bring your own alcohol too! GO! NOW!

Awful service, I would never go back there. Food is good value, but service is really, reeeeeeeeeeeally slow! Loose the grumpy waitress and I'd give it 3 stars!

Went here for dinner on friday night, we had a huge array of dishes, each as delicious as the last. Fast friendly service and who can not like the buzz that is the Brixton Village. 2 courses for less than £12 each, whats not to like?

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So glad i checked out the reviews! We were going to go here on Monday but quite appalled at the reviews. This place really need to pull their socks up. Jay Rayner maybe a visit from you will do the trick given you raved about the place a while back?!!!

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I am not sure why this place has rave reviews, as i thought this was spme of the worst thai food i have had in london. what's more it wasn't fresh. i ordered pad kra prow, which was supposed to come with a fried egg on top. i have rarely seen this outside of thailand so was really excited. the egg was overcooked and like rubber. when i asked if i could have a fresh fried egg i was told that that was not possible as they cook the eggs in the morning and then leave them in the oven to put on top. given it takes three minutes to fry and egg adn the way they do it in thailand is to crack the egg into the wok over the stirfry i was really taken a aback. the ret of our food tasted like the sauces came out of a jar. really undeserving of its stars and positive reviews. maybe it was good once and has been a victim of its own succses or relies on the faact that most of the people in brixton market are now tourists

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Although the food was ok, it nowhere near made up for the absolute lack in people skills and manners found in the staff. This was the worst eating experience I have ever had in my life and I have been to some well dodgy places. I have never experienced staff so obnoxious and rude and will never step foot in that place again.

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Nice outdoor seating area next to smelly bins. The food was so-so but fairly greasy. - I'd say inferior to a high street chain, like Ekachai or Wagamamas and they're the same price or slightly more expensive. They're obviously working the usual tax evasion scam as they only take cash (machines are a fair walk away). They don't have a license - only a limited soft drinks menu. The matriarch is pretty rude however the girls on the tables are nice enough. Won't be going back though - inconvenient, bad value for money, don't approve of "cash only" places.

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After a few visits to KaoSan I feel the need to write a review which is something i never do. The service is so shocking I have to tell people about it. Because it is BYOB the staff rush you in to ordering to ensure you're not hanging around for ages; this may be necessary if a table are indeed hanging around for hours getting wasted but when you've only just browsed the menu its just off putting. Last night was a friends birthday, we pre booked and ordered food before being told we had to order starters and a main or we had to leave. When we told the owner who was serving us we weren’t told she very rudely replied that people queue for her food and that we could leave. Her attitude was terrible. We reluctantly ordered more food as she snatched the menus away; we couldn’t believe her attitude and our astonishment didn’t go unnoticed, she stormed back to the table and asked what we were saying to which we calmly replied that she was being rude, in a bid to diffuse the situation the birthday girl lightheartedly reminds the owner its her birthday, to which she immaturely replied “well I hope you have a shit birthday then”………………………….?! That is why I had to write this.

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It's probably the worse Thai I have ever had. I ordered a food of a soup and a green curry. To be fair, it didn't take as long as other reviews say but when it arrived I wish it hadn't... The soup was edible but pretty bad and the green curry it smelled horrible and I could only have half a spoon to realise I could not eat it, it tasted as if it had been burnt together with a horrible and strong taste of plastic The food was edible but still horrible. I certainly won't be go this place agan...

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Food here is really below average to be honest. I had a noodle soup and it is just too simple (basically some sweet soup with tiny amount of bean sprouts and two fried prawns) - especially the pork meatballs in the soup are terrible by Asain standard (no ingredient in it and taste just like boiled pork). My boyfriend had red curry dish, his comment is 'awful '- I totally understand, because even he can cook better Thai curry than that. This place is definitely over rated, we are very disappointed- the food is more like a cheap take away thai- lalthough it is a quite cute family restaurant.

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