Tel: +44 (0)20 8455 9497/8
Address: 757 Finchley Road, Golders Green NW11 8DI
Cuisine Type: Thai
nearest tube station Golders Green (NORTHERN), Finchley Road (METROPOLITAN, JUBILEE)

We hadn’t intended to go to Manora. Bloke and I were on a bus to Hampstead when we spied the restaurant, a welcome beacon along a rather isolated stretch of Finchley Road. Our empty stomachs made us jump off the bus, and scanning the menu, we impulsively decided that Thai food would be perfect for dinner.

We skipped starters of satay, wunton or spring rolls (£4.50) in favour of tom yum soup, available with chicken, prawn or straw mushrooms (£4.50 – £5.50), a rather forgettable version watered down for Western taste, and as such lacking any kick.

From the choice of over 35 mains, divided between curries, chicken, pork, beef and seafood dishes, salads, vegetarian, noodles and rice, and “special dishes”, we opted for roast duck curry (£7.50), chicken with basil (£5.50) and Eight Saints Mixed (£5.50). Again, neither the curry nor the chicken inspired, both pleasant and palatable, but not particularly memorable, and certainly not as hot as authentic Thai food. Maybe we should have been more adventurous and tried the Jungle Curry, Jackfruit Sweet and Sour, or Hot Garlic Sauce Fish, though the intriguingly named Eight Saints Mixed materialised as a rather ordinary stir fry of mixed vegetables (including cabbage, an intrinsically boring vegetable that does not stir fry well) and deep-fried tofu. In keeping with the food, the wine list lacked “drink me” appeal, and we opted for Tiger beer instead.

Manora failed to redeem itself with jackfruit from the short dessert menu, which tasted like a tinned variety drowned in sugary syrup. Yet, the restaurant was packed by 9pm and several take-aways were ordered and collected in the time we were there. Admittedly, the meal in itself wasn’t unpleasant – I’m just not convinced Manora would have been as busy if it didn’t have a monopoly in this stretch of Finchley Road.