Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Great Thai Cafe - Fitzrovia, London

SM and I stumbled upon this great little Thai cafe in Fitzrovia (which according to Wikipedia is the area situated between Marylebone and Bloomsbury and north of Soho) about a week back and I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I've loved it so much that I've been back twice since. On my 2nd visit I actually planned a meeting I had in the area to finish at lunchtime so I could grab something from my new favourite Thai cafe. It's nothing fancy. If you blink you might even miss it. But the prices are reasonable, service very efficient and the food is pretty darn good. My knowledge of Thai food isn't excellent - my one and only visit to Thailand was when I was about 12 to the painfully touristy Phuket but I do know what I like and I liked the food at The Great Thai Cafe.

Thai Green Curry with Garlic Fried Rice - The Great Thai Cafe

SM went down the usual route and got a chicken Thai green curry (less spicy, please) (£4.95) and garlic fried rice (£2.50). The chef definitely did her (yup, she emerged from the kitchen downstairs halfway through our meal to greet a regular customer) best to tone done the spice level as requested but all the flavours were there - slight tingle of heat, fragrance of the lemongrass, lime leaves, coriander, fish sauce and creamy from the coconut milk.

Thai Boat Noodle Soup with Pork - The Great Thai Cafe, Fitzrovia

I went with the Thai boat noodle soup with sliced pork and pork balls (£6.50). Beef is probably a lot more traditional but I never say no to my favourite pork balls. The soup was heartwarming with the flavours of star anise, cinnamon, soy and fish sauces really coming through. To top it all off a teaspoonful of crispy minced garlic. Happiness in a bowl.

Somtam - The Great Thai Cafe, Fitzrovia

To ensure that I got my 5 a day (or rather out of curiosity) I also ordered a portion of som tam (Thai papaya salad) (£5.50). I must have had this dish a few times over the years but it has never clocked in my brain. So I will consider this my first experience with this dish. Any good? It was bloody hot! My tongue was on fire (I forgot to ask for it to be made with less chili - those damn bird's eyes kept staring right at me!). Yes, despite the tongue numbing heat (I've become more of a chili wuss the longer I stay away from Malaysia) the other flavours were there - sweet, sour, salty. I noticed that the green papaya was bulked up with cabbage but hell, I'm not so much of a purist to mind.

The bill came up to just over £20 with 2 drinks. Pretty good I thought. And the food appeared bubbling hot and delicious about 10 minutes after ordering.

The 2nd visit was for a lunch takeaway (sorry no pics) was from their Express Lunch menu (all main dishes for £5.95 served with steamed rice). I could have ordered from the menu but I stuck with the chicken Thai red curry mainly because ready and warming in a bain marie by the counter. It was so yum ... I definitely had more than one envious colleague that day.

The third time was for dinner with SM again last night. I was feeling low and down after a disastrous yoga session and needed some comfort Asian food. And lo and behold, where was The Great Thai Cafe? One street down. Yay! We shared a portion of special fried rice with pork, beef massman curry and minced pork omelette. No photos I'm afraid. Just a few well fed, satisfied oinkers.

The Great Thai Cafe
57 Great Portland Street, W1W 7LH London


Rafleesia said...

The green curry looks like soup! I think you are just missing home la! The som tam looks good - my fav Thai dish. A good som tam should be very crunchy and not soggy meaning they either grate the mango fresh or soak it in ice cold water until ready to mix and serve.

Luscious Temptations said...

It don't matter what it looks like .. it taste good! Most green curries served here at quite watery anyway. They like lots of sauce ... kakaka. And when do I ever eat Thai food in Malaysia? It's always so bloody pain numbingly spicy - I sat through my last Thai meal in KL in floods of tears and a big jug of ice water. The som tam was good ... crunch crunch crunch ...

Rafleesia said...

Incidentally, I'm amazed that there's a place called Fitrovia in Londoan that has excaped our notice all these years...sounds like a place where posh vampires hang out...