Deciding against booking a table during our last regular meet up, NS and I found ourselves wondering around Covent Garden. Heading towards the direction of Soho but not quite there yet when we stumbled upon Suda. Beckoned by the large open front windows and the possibility of refreshing cocktails, we were sold.
Perched on a high table at the front of the house, we ordered cocktails and a plate or two (or 5 in this specific case) just to get us going before we moved on to dinner. About 15 minutes in, our drinks hadn't arrived but the first of our food had started trickling over from the kitchen. And there kick starts my impatience ... I hate it when my food arrives before my beverage. It goes against my acknowledged order of events when it comes to restaurant dining. I know the bar wasn't mad rush busy, I have a great view of it - perched high as I am right in front of it. The drinks do finally arrive (with nary an apology from the waitress for its late arrival!) and well, well ... what else could get me simmering a little more? The Thai Pimm's, so penned as "traditional Pimm’s with a Thai twist! Pimm’s with fresh Thai ginger, mint, holy basil with sliced orange, cucumber, topped with lemonade" (£6.50) on the menu was warm, flat and decidedly lacking that Thai twist. An utter waste of time!
The Pla Meuk Tod Prig Klue - Thai style calamari with sweet chilli dipping sauce (£4.95) was the first to arrive and looked decent enough. I liked the look of thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves encased within the batter but too bad the crispy batter hid a shameful secret underneath - rubbery squid.
The Satay Gai - chicken satay sticks with peanut sauce (£4.95) was fine but I've had better. However, point be made that this is coming from a girl from Malaysia. It would be a sorry state of affairs if I claimed the best satay I had was this dish. It was fine. No more.
I was particularly looking forward to the Gae Yang Som Tum - Grilled lamb chop with lemongrass and chilli dressing, served with Som tum salad and sticky rice (£8.50), since Suda boasts of a som tum bar. This is another dish I can only best describe as "fine". Despite the meat looking rather limp (thanks to a good bashing with a mallet?), it was pretty tasty (down to a good amount of time spent in the marinade?). The som tum was .... forgetable. I really do not recall how it tasted so I can only deduct it wasn't bad enough for me to remember or that good either.
The grilled prawns in the Yum Som-o Goong Yang - Pomelo salad with kaffir lime juice and grilled prawn (£5.50) were actually rather nice. Nice fresh crunchy prawns were unfortunately let down let down by the star of the dish - the pomelo salad. There were pieces of fruit in that salad that were out of the freezer frozen. It thawed in my mouth, adding an interesting crunch along with the peanuts.
By now NS and I didn't know if we should laugh or cry or outright refuse to pay. The food was going from bad to worse and to say that the service was bad would be unfair. It was just that the staff tried so hard and in doing so, didn't actually give very good service. For example, after we ordered I asked if I could keep a copy of the menu with me. Sure, no problem. But every time I put the menu down, one of the staff would try to grab it off the table. I went through the my explanation of wanting to keep a copy with me to 3 people before I gave up. At this point I was very to move on but NS relented into giving them another chance by ordering another drink (a much faster turnaround time for this drink - things were picking up), when much to our surprise another dish arrived - chicken wings with herbs (also known as pandan chicken). We had forgotten all about it and till this day, the taste shall also remain forgettable.
Shall I be returning? Oh no, I shall not!
23 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, London WC2E 9AB