This second branch of the family-run KaoSarn Thai restaurant in Brixton Village Market takes the street market vibe of the original and attempts to transplant it into a high street restaurant. Not suprisingly, this isn’t a complete success; part of the charm of the original was its seemingly improvised setting, complete with tables in the walkway of the old covered market. However, the charm of the staff remains the same, and goes some way to explaining the queue of people waiting for a table on our visit.
Like the first branch, KaoSarn Battersea is also BYO alcohol, which helps keep the bill down and is another factor in its success. The menu has expanded partly as a result of a better kitchen, with gas rings; in Brixton they’re working in an all-electric kitchen, which is far from ideal when cooking Thai dishes.
New additions include khao soi, a Burmese and northern Thai dish of egg noodles in a coconut and chicken soup, spiced like a yellow curry, which tasted – in a good way – mild and creamy with a simple spice mixture.
Another new dish is best described as ‘number 33’ – a whole sea bass deep-fried then laced with a mixture of hot and sweet, salty and sour red onion and papaya that went well with some palliative coconut rice.
The classic dishes that KaoSarn is known for are still done well. The grilled half chicken with sticky rice and som tam (a spicy papaya salad) gives a pleasing mix of textures and tastes, with piquant details such as the chilli dip; chopped and tempered in oil, with a bit of salt and sugar added.
Not quite as ‘scene’ as Brixton, then – but the simple Thai dishes and BYO policy is a big enough draw.
110 St John's Hill
|Opening hours:||Open 5.30-10pm Mon; noon-3.30pm, 5.30-10pm Tues-Thur; noon-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Fri, Sat; noon-3.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Clapham Junction or Wandsworth Town rail|
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Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:9
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:11
I have been to Kao Sarn many many times since they first opened in Brixton. It used to be good value, tasty food and a nice buzzy atmosphere if at times a bit hectic. However I went back to this branch in CJ this week and it has seriously deteriorated. The quality of the food has changed (green curry now has practically no kick at all) and some of the portion sizes have literally halved! The tiniest pad thai I have ever seen!!! More disappointing however was the appalling service - I am used to this place having a fairly quick turnover but to have your food whisked away while you are still eating and the bill thrust in front of you when you have been there less than an hour despite having ordered staters and mains was outrageous. When I pointed this out to the waitress and explained that I had seen recent poor reviews re the service I was simply told, 'yeah, we don't really care'. Sums it up perfectly. Shame.
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!!!
Food was lovely, but the service was appalling. I have never been spoken to so rudely and being shouted at in the middle of the restaurant is not acceptable. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone until the owners sort out their attitude and service.
Yeah, just call to book a table, but it was already full for tonight (Friday). Apparently you have to book table a week in advance. And well, the woman at the telephone was really quite rude. Hope at least the food can impress me.
A great local, the food is always delicious and the need to book is testament to its popularity. An affordable addition to St John's Hill.
Awful place. Our starters were greasy and tasteless, but the real problem was the main. My main was listed as a pepper chicken dish with rice and spicy sauce - the rice was served in the plastic bag it was microwaved in and the spicy sauce was bog-standard sweet chilli dipping sauce. My chicken, though, was KFC type deep fried chicken which was actually raw inside. The waitress took the chicken away with no apology and without telling us whether she was going to replace the dish. By the time we'd finished my companion's (mediocre and over salty) pad thai, we asked her what was happening with my main to be told that they were not sure whether to prepare a new version. At this point we got the bill. I don't expect to be served raw chicken in a restaurant, but what was particularly disapointing was that the staff made no attempt to explain, apologies, or attempt to rectify the situation. Don't go
This is the best Thai food outside of Thailand - a taste sensation. Love this place and I think it is better than the Brixton restaurant but love both! Can't recommend more highly. Great to sit outside on a summers evening, inside upstairs also fab, down the back is fine but prefer the former. BYO is great, prices very affordable. I have been with my work friends a few times and we are all looking forward to returning. Staff have always been pleasant to us and the manager Gisele always polite to us and recommends great dishes- she is quite a character.
Enjoyed the food but the experience was completely tainted by the attitude of the staff, who were very disinterested and rude. Staff, in my opinion, make a restaurant. For that reason, I will not be returning to this place nor would I recommend it to others.
Such good value for money! Amazing food & service, affordable, perfect for a group BYO. Would highly recommend.
I have lived in Thailand for several years, I'm married to a Thai and have eaten Thai food all over the world so when I say this I think I know what I'm talking about. We visited yesterday afternoon - it was not busy with maybe 5 or 6 other people in the restaurant. The service was pleasant enough - we ordered a pad thai, two starters, a main course and a side of sticky rice - with three soft drinks that came to over £35. Thai food is seldom that good outside of Thailand so I was not expecting anything special, but the food here was ABSOLUTELY the WORST Thai food I have ever had ANYWHERE and a total rip-off in terms of value. We left having eaten less than a third of what we had ordered and will NEVER be going back ! Verdict - Shite!
I visited this restaurant for the first time this week. We were rushed to place our order, we were spoken very rudely by a very masculin looking female member of staff. The service was very average and the food was nothing to were home about. Your best off trying Tamnag Thai in Crystal Palace. Needless to say I will not be visiting this restaurant again.
Good food but TERRIBLE service - disgusting the way that the lady manager speaks to customers, I do not recommend this restaurant at all.
A large group of us went to Kaosarn on Saturday night and had a fantastic time. The food was absolutely delicious, the staff super friendly and extremely helpful with different dietary requirements. It is such great value for money and being BYO keeps the cost down as well. I will be recommending it to everyone I know and going back myself.
Food was great but this was overshadowed by the fact that as we left, we were told to never come back as our 10 pound tip wasn't enough and was "cheap," according to the old woman that runs it. We are never going back to this appalling service and treatment and in future will tell our local friends to stay away!
Incredibly rude staff - they called me and me abuse down the phone, saying I was rude and that my father should be ashamed simply because I failed to cancel my booking. Based on the below average reviews they have been geting, customer service should be high on their agenda. That is not a way to treat a customer. Wouldnt recommend.
Can't fault the food, but the service was appalling. Our quiet Wednesday night birthday celebration for three was rushed from the start and then we were made to feel like criminals for wanting to finish our drinks. Turfed out by a woman with a sadistic smile and told if we were going to be so cheeky "then don't bother coming back". We wont be.
I went with three Frenids the food was the best I have hot and well presented and the service was really good. We never book and was told they were fully booked and said we had a hour to eat we finnish Just after the hour we was not rush and made very welcome,
I'm a huge fan of Kao Sarn in Brixton Market, but the menu is more extensive here, and it's much calmer and relaxed. It's the best food I've eaten outside of Thailand, the real deal with incredible, subtle flavours. Being BYO makes it a huge bargain too. I particularly recommend the seabass, and the fried shrimp starter. Both are oustanding. Personally I absolutely love the no-nonsense service - can't stand it when service is cloying or smarmy. Would highly recommend.
Food is nice but not spectacular. Service is appalling. The rudeness of the woman who seemed to be in charge was beyond belief. With a lot of other good value Thais around there is no point in going here. From looking at the reviews below this seems to be a bit of a theme with this place.
Love it! Delicious, fresh food, and really friendly staff! Also, it would be cheap even without the BYOB! Hugely recommended.
Been to the Brixton one loads - this one is definitely less 'scene' than there but still excellent and offers a calmer dining experience. Food is difficult to fault and BYOB is just always a winner recession or otherwise! Go and eat here.
Food is ok ...... I suspect that this place is popular becauise of the BYOB rather than the food quality. The service, however, is TERRIBLE, I have never known such rude waiting staff or actually ever been spoken to in such a rude manner. We will not be returning here again.