Saturday, 7 January 2017

A taste of Thai street food...

It's been a while since I've posted which has been a little unintentional due to enjoying the festive period a little too much! (.... Oooops!). So to kick start 2017, I thought I would bring you a foodie post.


A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to try food from one of Southampton's newest restaurants that has just opened in West Quay. Of course, I said yes as I always love trying new food! The restaurant is called Thaikhun and specialises in Thai street food. There are only 10 Thaikhun restaurants in the country, with Southampton being the newest, it was hardly surprising that I had never heard of them beforehand. According to their website the chain has only been in existence since 2014 with the first store opening up in Manchester. 


The restaurant 

According to Thaikhun's website "Thaikhun, pronounced tycoon, means  “your” Thai restaurant.  Thaikhun will instantly transport you across the world to Khao San road!" Although I have never been to Thailand so it is hard to compare in that sense, I felt that the restaurant is very in keeping with Thai culture as it tries to embrace it. Being someone that is very much interested in culture, I felt that this was a nice touch. The staff even wore uniforms that were in keeping with the Thai style of clothing which again, I felt was a nice touch rather than wearing a generic "western based" uniform. 


The restaurant has an open kitchen so that you can see your food being cooked and with a separate bar, in keeping with the restaurant's theme. 


The ceilings were decorated with lights, bicycles, televisions, signs, and what looked like bags covered in rope. Some of the tables were decorated with what appeared to be some sort of stickers made to look like tourist postcards of Thai culture. Even the toilets were created to look as if they were wooden buildings, covered in Thai films and other forms of media and culture. 


The service that we were provided by the staff was impeccable! They ensured that we were waited on at our every need and gave us any recommendations if asked on what they thought would be good to try. As we enjoyed it so much the first time, we went back a second time and again, the staff gave a great service. Although a couple of the waiting staff had worked the previous week the majority had not and you could see that it wasn't just us that they were giving a good service to to ensure that they received a decent tip or review which is always lovely to see.


The food

I was allowed to bring a guest with me so of course I brought Greg! As I'm vegetarian, any meat options mentioned in this part of the post will be opinions given by him. 


Starters
While we were deciding upon what to choose from the menu, we were given a rather generous portion of prawn crackers. These tasted of good quality and that they actually had flavour in comparison to other restaurants. They were served with both a spicy chilli and sweet chilli dip and although these were both nice the sweet chilli dip was much spicier than you can buy from a seupermarket. Not that this is a bad thing, it's more just a word of warning if you're not a fan of food being on the slightly spicier side!


On both occasions, we ordered a sharing platter as a starter for both of us. As Thaikhun offer two different ones we decided to try a different one each time. The first time, we had the Sukumvit 38 Platter* which consisted of fishcakes, chicken spring rolls, honey pork and vegetable dumplings. In order to make it a 50/50 split of meat and vegetarian options, we asked to exchange the fishcakes for the red curried corn cakes which were offered with the other platter. Unfortunately I can't give an opinion on the meat options but the vegetarian ones were gorgeous! The vegetable dumplings tasted just like dim-sums while the corn cakes had a kind of sweet but spicy after taste to them at the same time which worked well together. Greg very much enjoyed his honey pork and chicken spring rolls. He said that they were both incredibly tasty and of a decent size. However, he did have more of a soft spot for the honey pork and if ordered as one solitary dish, he would definitely go for this instead.


So that we could give a more in-depth review of the restaurant's menu, we chose the Bangkok Street platter on our second visit. This consisted of grilled chicken satay, prawn toast, prawn and chicken dumplings and the corn cakes again. However, we switched the prawn toast for the tofu rolls instead. Again, this was so that there were two veggie options for me. The tofu rolls consisted of lettuce, carrot and tofu wrapped in vegetable dumpling sheets. If you are on a diet or would like a healthy starter option then this is the one for you! Greg, on the other hand, enjoyed the chicken satay and dumplings but preferred the first set of starters. He did feel that the satay sauce had just the right level of peanut that complimented the chicken. 

Mains
On both occasions, we each had a main meal after our starters. I had the Geang Kiew Wan Green Curry* and Geang Phed Red Curry while Greg had the Guay Tiew Phad Sie Eiew Beef Noodle Stir Fry* and the Goong Phad Gra Tiam Chilli Garlic Prawn. 


With both of my curries, you have the option of having tofu, prawns or beef and as I'm vegetarian, I obviously went for the tofu option. I don't actually eat all that much tofu to be perfectly honest but it tasted beautiful in the curry and like it had been marinated as well. It was quite refreshing to have an alternative option to Quorn as although I eat it on a regular basis, I'm not actually a big fan of it. The green curry contained courgettes, green beans and fresh Thai basil while the red curry contained cherry tomato, pineapple, grapes and sweet basil. They both had a warm spice to them but the green curry had a bit more spice to it than the red. The red has more of a sweeter taste to it and although they both tasted delicious, I probably preferred the red curry. This is unusual for me as I'm much more of a green Thai curry person. All curries are served with jasmine rice which is the sticky rice rather than just generic plain rice and is much nicer too!


Greg also very much enjoyed his mains as he would not stop going on about how much he loved his beef stir fry and that it was one of the nicest meals he has ever tasted! I asked him how he why he felt this and he couldn't give an exact description of as to why it tasted so good other than that it was very flavoursome but also very mild, so if you don't like spice then this is potentially a good option for you! He felt the prawn, on the other hand, was well cooked, contained a good amount of spice and tasted delicious but unfortunately did not live up to the standards of the beef.


On our first visit, Greg and I also ordered the Pad Thai Tofu* to go with our mains. However, I didn't really eat much of this as I was too full from my curry. However, Greg felt that it has a good flavour combination of ginger and soy and it wasn't particularly spicy either.


Puddings
Although we were feeling incredibly full from our mains, we couldn't not turn down the opportunity to try some of the puddings on offer especially as their descriptions on the menu tasted amazing! The puddings did not disappoint and on the plus side were very light and not too filling either! I am quite grateful for this as although I quite often have a craving for a sweet tooth, I really only want about two mouthfuls and then I'm done but these puddings literally left me wanting to finish my whole plateful and feeling like I could demolish another bowl afterwards. However, I would just like to point out that I did not!

My pudding choices were the Thai Waffle with Green Tea Ice Cream* and Banana Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream, while Greg chose Sticky Date Pudding with Thai Whisky Ice Cream and Mango Sticky Rice*. 


The waffle was served warm and tasted relatively similar to churros. It was complimented by a drizzle of chocolate sauce which is how I much prefer it rather than being swamped in sauce as I'm just not a big chocolate fan. The ice cream had a creamy texture to it while also tasting like sorbet, I have never had green tea ice cream before but I think this may now be one of my favourites! On our second visit, I Chose the banana fritters and although these tasted delicious they weren't as nice as the waffle. Although they still had a light texture to them, they did taste heavier when compared to the waffle but not in a greasy way. I couldn't manage to eat all of these and didn't feel that I was left wanting more likewise with the waffle but they still were tasty nonetheless.



Greg very much enjoyed both of his puddings. He felt that the sticky date pudding tasted very similar to sticky toffee but a much lighter version and not at all in the slightest bit sickly! Whilst the ice cream had just the right amount of whisky in it that gave it the lovely whisky flavour but no alcoholic aftertaste in the slightest. Although he didn't enjoy the sticky rice as much as the date pudding, Greg felt that it  was still enjoyable and that it would make an ideal nice and light option after a large meal. He also thought that the rice was well accompanied by the fresh mango pieces. 


Drinks
Although I had a glass of wine on my first visit as well, over our two visits I tried four of the cocktails Thaikhun had to offer. Likewise with the puddings, these were all very light and not in the slightest bit sickly which is something I find with a lot of cocktails, so that's a winner in my books purely based on just that!
There is around seven cocktails and I tried four of them from the menu, these were Thai Takeaway, Phi Phi Bellini*, Full Moon* and the Thaikhun. I'm not entirely sure which one was my favourite as they all tasted so nice! What was also nice about them is that none of them tasted to "alcoholic" and I know that sounds stupid when talking about a cocktail but I generally find that most cocktails either taste too much of that alcoholic aftertaste or that they are too sweet for me while these tasted of neither but of just the right amount of sweetness and alcohol. I've listed below each cocktail with their ingredients and my own individual thoughts.


Thai Takeaway - Absolut Vodka, Old J Spiced rum with handpicked basil and mint leaves shaken with pineapple and lime juice and a dash of coconut cream.
This came in a a little metal bucket with plenty of ice and topped with half a chilli. I was warned by one of the waiting staff that this has a slight warmth aftertaste but I didn't actually get much of a kick which I was kind of pleased about after having experienced a friend's homemade chilli vodka many years ago! Due to the amount of ice it tasted a bit like an alcoholic slushy but also very refreshing at the same time.






Phi Phi Bellini - Mango vodka, passion fruit puree and fizzy Prosecco.
I did enjoy this but it tasted like Bucks Fizz which I guess it essentially is when looking at the ingredients. However, that's not a bad thing as I still enjoyed it. I probably wouldn't order it again though as I much preferred the taste of the other cocktails I had the opportunity of trying.





Full Moon - Absolut Vodka, orange liquer with watermelon, apple, lemon, drizzle of Midouri.
This came in a jam jar type glass and was topped with fizzers. It was sweet but a more subtle taste rather than in your face which I think was thanks to the watermelon.









Thaikhun - Ginger, lemograss, chilli and mint shaken with whisky, Taylor's Velvet Falernum and apple juice.

This came in a little takeaway box with a straw and plenty of ice, topped with half a chilli. Named after the restaurant chain, it had a similar taste to the Thai Takeaway in the sense of that it didn't have kind of chilli after kick, tasted incredibly refreshing and was quite like an alcoholic slushy.


While I was drinking these, Greg was meanwhile drinking Asian beer and green tea but we both had a cup of tap water out of these little metal jugs.

Overall

I felt that the portions sizes were generous, well presented and tasted delicious. Despite us having our favourite dishes, neither of us could honestly say that anything didn't taste right or wasn't of an adequate standard. As I previously mentioned, you couldn't fault the staff on their service and they were incredibly polite and helpful. Despite the restaurant being relatively on our first visit, the food was still served quickly and efficiently and to the same speed and standard the second time we went. I can't really say, "Given the opportunity, I would go back and visit again..." as I already have so if that doesn't give you enough of an inkling that I enjoyed the restaurant then I don't know what will!

If you want to see what Thaikhun has to offer then take a look at their website.



Have you tried Thai Street food or the food on offer from the Thaikhun brand? 

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Any items marked with an * were gifted to us for free in exchange for a review. 
All opinions are my own as I like to give honest reviews. 
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