Thai Square Covent Garden is the newest opening in this rapidly growing chain of (currently) 17 restaurants, spread across London and into the home counties. They’re glossy places – lots of black, red lacquer, bamboo and pale wood – maybe a trifle over the top but pleasant enough, as is the willing service from young Thai girls and boys (they really don’t look old enough to be called anything else). Less pleasant was the automatic piano playing show tunes – possibly because of our proximity to theatreland? A novelty at first, it rapidly became rather irritating.
There’s a long menu (helpfully you can download this from their website), which also states their philosophy of using authentic ingredients flown in daily from Thailand. Not great for the carbon footprint perhaps but certainly, there were good flavours on offer.
We kicked off with some duck spring rolls (£5.25) and Tod Mun Koaw Pod, corncakes spiced with curry paste and mixed with chopped lime leaves, served with a sweet chili sauce (£4.95). Both were good if not spectacular.
From the main course menu the star was an extremely good Mussaman lamb curry (£8.95) – creamy, tender and with just the right amount of heat. I chose a noodle dish, Pad Kee Mao (described as Thai spicy noodles with a choice of chicken, beef or tiger prawn). This was almost too hot for me (and I’m no chili virgin) but contained lots of interesting Thai vegetation; I’d choose it again but perhaps ask them to tone down the heat a tad, which they say is perfectly possible.
Thai credentials rather fly out of the window when you reach the pudding stage, as what’s on offer is a selection of Swiss (Swiss?) ice cream and sorbets at £3.25 per scoop. There are some lovely flavours available – green apple, mango, coconut & lemongrass (terrific), capuccino and tiramisù, as well as the more standard strawberry and chocolate. All were beautifully presented on chic oblong plates.
We drank a very refreshing South African Chenin Blanc for a reasonable £16.50.
I can’t honestly say this was a special dining experience but it was perfectly pleasant (I seem to be using that word a lot in this review) and reasonable value – our whole bill for two, with prawn crackers, rice, wine and a couple of liqueurs, came to around £75 including service charge at 12.5%. It still seems a lot to me but I guess I’ll just have to get used to it – and at least there isn’t so much of a jolt when comparing with European prices, thanks to the ghastly exchange rate with the Euro…