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Thai Oyster Festival at Suda Thai

Oysters, some love them, some won’t even get near them and some have never tried them.

I love oysters, especially those large platters that the serve in Parisian brasseries with your choice of different species, shapes and sizes.

Oysters with Thai flavouring are a whole different way of enjoying fresh oysters. Instead of the usual lemon, tabasco or shallot vinaigrette, instead you add a few slices of lemongrass, some crispy shallots and a thai vinaigrette. It is delicious and complements rather than overwhelm the taste of the oysters.

This is what we had for starters at a recent meal at Suda Thai. These were Maldon Rock Oysters and were fresh, plump and succulent.We shared a plate, 3 each, could have had quite a few more but there was more food to come.

Suda Thai Covent Garden

We then had a couple of the other starters that our server recommended, the guay-teow Luisan (their signature SUDA fresh rice wrap with braised duck and Thai herbs) and the delightfully named Pratad Pu Cha (Suda crab and chicken fire cracker).

Suda Thai Covent Garden

Suda Thai Covent Garden

Crab Fire Crackers

Suda Thai is the more casual outlet of the Pattara family of Thai Restaurants. They are staffed by Thai Chefs and use authentic Thai ingredients for the items on their menu, resulting in authenticly flavoured Thai food.

At this point, I should mention their extensive cocktail list. We tried a couple of fruity, icy drinks while waiting for the next course.

For mains, we had some crispy sea bass, lightly battered and deep fried, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. I was expecting a whole fish and not in pieces and the sauce was quite sweet.

Suda Thai Covent Garden

We also had some Roast Duck Red Curry, coconut milk based curry with tender pieces of duck and hidden in there are a few lychees and grapes. To balance the meal, we had a plate of stir friend morning glory or as their menu calls it, Chinese water spinach stems. We had these mains with a bowl of red rice.

Suda Thai Covent Garden

The portions were very generous and we couldn’t manage pudding. On a previous visit, we did have the banana fritters which are highly recommended.

Suda Thai has a prime position in the newish St Martin’s Courtyard, set back from Floral Street. It is a street with some boutiques and other eateries like Jamie’s Italian and Italian Wine Bar Dalla Terra. The main restaurant is on the first floor and has a wall of windows overlooking the courtyard. It’s a great place to people watch.

Repeating my previous review, I like the food here as it is authentic and standards have been maintained even after a long break between visits. The menu has variety and not just the more common Thai dishes that some other places offer. Prices are moderate and you can get a simple lunch for less than £10 and a more complete meal for about £20. One of the better casual places to eat in Covent Garden.

SUDA Thai Cafe Restaurant
St Martin’s Courtyard
off Upper St. Martin’s Lane
Covent Garden
London WC2E 9AB

Tel: 020 7240 8010

http://www.suda-thai.com

Slow Food Kitchen was a guest at Suda Thai.

 

 

 

Mango Masterclass at Suda Thai Restaurant

What better way to kick off the Mango month than by hosting a Mango Masterclas.

This is the time of year when the Thai mangoes comes into season. Iif you’ve never tried one keep an eye out in Asian supermarkets. It has quite a more delicate flavour then the Alphonso Mango, very fragrant but has a bit more tang.  They look like this:

Suda Thai Restaurant, Covent Garden

Suda Thai in the newly built St Martin’s courtyard in Covent Garden is part of the Pattara family so you can expect great authentic Thai food.  You enter into a small dining area on the ground floor but do not be deceived as the space on the first floor is at least 3 times the size. An open kitchen on one end, stretching pass a circular bar in the middle and well spaced seating area at the other end, flanked by large glass windows overlooking the courtyard.

Suda Thai Restaurant

As we sat down, we were offered a selection of Mango cocktails and some lovely mango inspired canapes.

The first dish of the Mango Masterclass was the famous Thai green mango salad (Som Tum) but with a twist. The addition of crispy fried seabass to the salad and gave it a nice flavour and texture contrast to the sharp green mango flavour. You can see the recipe here.

The second dish that we were shown the Mango with Sticky Rice. We were shown how to steam glutinous rice in either a traditional bamboo basket over a metal pot or the quick way, in a microwave. The addition of sweetened coconut milk makes the rice very rich but a delicious accompaniement to freshly sliced mangoes.

Following the masterclass, we sat down to sample a selection of dishes from the menu including a Roast duck red curry, fried fish,barbecued seafood skewers, stir fried vegetables, all served with jasmine rice.

Roast Duck Red Curry, Suda Thai Restaurant, Covent Garden

All the dishes were dishes were very generous and the service throughout was very attentive.

Crispy Sea Bass Suda Thai

For pudding we were served me Mango with sticky coconut rice. Mango Sticky Rice, Suda Thai Restaurant, Covent Garden

Suda Thai has an extensive cocktails list too and quite a few were sampled. The unanimous vote was for the spicy Wakeup Call and the Thai Pimms.

I think the concept at Suda Thai and at this price range is brilliant especially for the quality of Thai food that they’re serving. It is a little bit hidden away from the main thoroughfare of convent garden but I think as more people find it I think its a brilliant new addition to dining choices in Covent Garden.

Suda Thai’s Mango Menu is available for the month of June and I would highly recommend a visit there.

Suda on Urbanspoon

10 Cases Bistro, Covent Garden – A little gem

Small but perfectly formed 10 Cases, a British Bistro,  is a relative newcomer in Covent Garden.  There are not many tables but they have a bar you can perch on for a quick drink or some outside tables if you want to brave the elements.  It is run and operated by 2 newcomers to the restaurant world, Ian Campbell and Will Palmer.

As there are only 2 people in the kitchen, the menu is short and sweet, which is chalked up on overhead blackboards on the wall. On this visit, we had a starter of garlic snails on toast, which kicked off the meal with a garlicky hit. Well executed, crisp toast, properly seasoned but be warned, enough garlic to fell a vampire from a mile away. (Not suitable date food!)

10 Cases Garlic snails

For mains there were only 3 choices, so we had was the Steak with Foie Gras, a nice chunk of beef fillet topped up with foie gras, simple presentation but ate well. Nothing to fault there.  and the Poached Tornedos, which we found out that the beef was very quickly poached which surprisingly was very tender. Both were served with no frills accompaniements. The meat was supposedly Scottish beef but the waitress didn’t know much more.

10 Cases

10 Cases

The name give you a hint as to the choice on the wine list. They buy only 10 cases of whites and reds and at any one time, there are 10 choices on offer. Every wine is available by the glass or bottle. Prices per glass range from £5- £9 and there is not an excessive mark up. If you just wanted a drink, you have to sit at the bar as the tables are often reserved for diners.

On the evening we were there, it was very busy. People who walked in were turned away so do book if you wanted to eat here. It’s a welcome addition to Covent Garden, a simple approach, done well.

A meal for 2 with a couple of glasses of wine, about £80.

The 10 Cases on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

Street Kitchen At The London Restaurant Festival

The London Restaurant Festival is in its second year and is running for 2 weeks from the 4th October. Restaurants in London are celebrating the festival by holding special events like dinner on the London Eye to having special menus.

Two chefs who are doing something different are Jun Tanaka (of Pearl Restaurant) and Mark Jankel by bringing food to the people on the street with a Food Truck. Food Trucks are a growing trend in the US and increasingly in the UK, each serving delicious food at reasonable prices and gaining a large fan base through social media, especially Twitter. The best known of the Food Truck is @KogiBBQ in LA, which has the twitter and mass media darling, proving the case that you can build a very succesful food business using Twitter alone.

Street Kitchen London Restaurant Festival

Back in London, Street Kitchen has been set up in corner of the Covent Garden Piazza in an imported Airtream Caravan. My friend had this to say about this, “it looks like the catering van on film sets” and expected a cheap menu of the type of food served with chips.

The menu here is simple, made of locally sourced food and not a chip in sight. As I didn’t have much time, I opted for one of the mains, Salmon with beetroot and horseradish £6.50. It’s not that cheap but simple and delicious. There are 2 other main courses, a soup with brioche and one pudding on the menu.

Street Kitchen London Restaurant Festival

According to the chefs, they have been really busy, especially at lunch time. If I had a bit more time, I would have had the Autumn berries Cheesecake but they are around for a few more days so I shall return to check that out. Who knows, the Street Kitchen could be travelling around and you might see it near you soon.

Mark Jankel and Jun Tanaka

Mark Jankel and Jun Tanaka

Review – Dishoom Hot or Not?

This corner of Covent Garden along St Martins Lane has recently seen a  lot of building activity and the emergence of several new eateries including Jamie’s Italian, Cantina Laredo and Dishoom.

On a recent windy evening in London, I took a friend who was visiting London to Dishoom, the new Bombay Cafe in Covent Garden. It’s only been open for 2 weeks and have had a bit of buzz on the Twittersphere.

The decor is contemporary and the only hint that it was an Indian restaurant are the various Bollywood pictures and “aged” pictures of family and friends on the walls. All hard surfaces, so if the place is full, you won’t be able to have a conversation with anyone across the table. They have about 70 covers upstairs and a whole lot more downstairs when they get the planning sorted out.

NB. This review might slightly be biased as my friend ended the meal by throwing up.

We started with some Samosas which were unceremoniously dumped on the table as the waitress whizzed by enroute to another table. (Maybe this is what they mean when they say “Food will be dishoomed to your table as it is prepared”. It took a few more minutes to ask for some chutneys to go with that. The samosa were crispy and generous filling, tasty but the chutneys were essential.

Samosas

chutneys

Then came the mains, we had spicy lamb chops, chicken tikka, the house black daal accompanied by roomali roti and some garlic naan.

dishoom spicy lamb chops

Dishoom chicken tikka

Dishoom chicken tikka

The lamb chops were tender but overspiced. The chicken tikka was recommended by the nice lady at the door and is made with the meat from the chicken wing. We just did not like the dal, the consistency was a bit too gluey and there was no distinction in the taste. Jay Rayner agreed with me on this.

By this stage, my friend had to make a quick dash to the loo and we didn’t stay too long to sample desserts. Overall, the food was fine but nothing exceptional, the service was rushed, the staff were not overly helpful with suggestions and way too loud.

I did tweet that my friend had just thrown up at the end of the meal and an hour later got a tweet back to offer help. We had left by then and they did get back to me to say that they had eaten the same dishes the same night with no side effects and followed up with the offer for breakfast. We don’t really know what was the cause, whether it was the food there but we have not taken up the offer for the breakfast yet. I may be back later after they have had a few weeks to sort themselves out.

The meal cost about £30 for 2 without drinks.

Dishoom Covent Garden

Dishoom Covent Garden

Dishoom on Urbanspoon