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The Heron Pub: Unpretentiously Thai

Gosh, have I mentioned it to you that I deleted lots and lots of my photos for the Thai meals in London before uploading them? If not, I am now telling you this. There were a couple of restaurants that are so damned good – say, 101 Thai Kitchen (Hammersmith), Khao Sarn (Brixton) and Thai Rice (Notting Hill) – but I couldn’t be arsed to go back and reprise the meals just yet. It’s a little different with The Heron, a very traditional English pub just off Edgware Road, and I did manage to return to the place in just a matter of weeks so I could publish this post.

The Heron.. if you are only after booze, you walk straight in.

BUT, if you’re in for Thai food, you walk in and take the steps down to the basement. There you’ll find a Thai karaoke lounge (again) that serves food. Decor-wise, the basement looks very much like a nightclub in the early 90s – multi-coloured cushions, paint that is coming off the walls, reflexive patches on the ceiling and round paper lanterns instead of the glitzy disco ball. The latter isn’t much of the 90s but a bizarre Thai addition. As it is a karaoke lounge, there are also two big TV screens and many amplifiers. This is different from Addie’s and Thai Taste where the dining rooms were separated from the basement karaoke bars. The Heron basement is usually noisy, and the music? Good or bad, Thai or English or Korean?

… It all depends on the nightly song requests.

The menu at Heron comes as a laminated card, a “traditionally Thai” menu format in the country’s non-touristy areas but definitely not in Bangkok and NOT in London. There are many North Eastern salad dishes, which the kitchen here specialises in, many bar nibbles, many soups and sour curries. If you’re familiar with, say, a stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts, a green curry, or even, a pad thai, you won’t find it in this basement!! The pricing is kind as most dishes do not soar above £9.

There is another more intriguing menu boasting its bulky-ness akin to the wine list at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. This is the karaoke menu. You order by writing the songs and codes in paper and they’ll get them ready for you.

We skipped this..

Food? Dishes usually takes time to arrive. Don’t expect a first, second, third course served in that order. This is a Thai restaurant. Thai way of serving. Dishes come as they are ready. Started with Deep Fried Duck’s Tongues. Crispy & well marinated in fish sauce before the deep fry which resulted in delectably salty note. Served toppled with fragrant fried shallots and chilli sauce. Sai Oua – AKA Northern Pork Sausage – was not fresh but still delicious. Meaty, spicy and well-smoked. Probably one of the spiciest dishes on the menu. The side of tossed peanuts helped take away the heat.

Crispy Catfish Mango Salad – Yum Pla Duk Fuu in Thai – was incredibly authentic. An iconic dish. I never came across it anywhere in the UK. The fluffy catfish was flaked and deep fried for the perfect cloud shape and immense crispy-ness. Sweet lime and chilli dressing balanced off the flavours well. Generously refreshing toppings of green mango batons and roasted peanuts. The Papaya Salad with Salted Eggs was heavenly. The sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours were well paired. Spicy but it wouldn’t burn your knob off. That said, the Papaya Salad with Fermented Fish – Som Tam Pla Rah in Thai – was a Marmite dish and pure joy of taste bud masochism. It was HOT and I was spitting FF-II-RR-EEEE!!!!!! The foul smell of fermented fish might be an issue for westerners as it is for many urban Thais. You wouldn’t see the fish pieces; only the juice from the fermenting process was used to season the salad.

It stinked… a bit.

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup – Tom Klong Gai Baan in Thai – was lovely. Thais use chicken joints rather than pure meat for this sort of dish (beak to feet cooking, I’d say!) and they also do so at The Heron. Sharply sour flavours from poached cherry tomatoes and lime juice to be complimented by the chilli fire and the smashing freshness of aromatic herbs. Sour and Spicy “Orange” Curry with Cod Roe – Gaeng Som Kai Pla in Thai – was quite heavy compared to my favourite dish of the similar kind at Thai Taste. Authentic but not a winner dish.

Steamed Prawns with Vermicelli – Good Ob Wun Sen in Thai – lacked bold seasonings the other dishes had. That said, it became a superb “cooling” dish for my fiery feast. Just before we finished, the people next to us had started screeching out of tune and head-banging. The chilli must have done something to the brain, so they could (apparently!) sing like that sans alcohol >_<

And I finished with this Steamed Bread with Pandan Custard – Ka Nom Pang Sang Ka Yar – not the best but it sufficed. The bill came to £96 with two portions of sticky rice, one steamed rice and a big bottle of water. A real steal for the authentic Thai flavours, without having to go as far as Stamford Brook, Brixton or Portebello Road, and there was no mark-up for the karaoke and the entertainment of randomness. That said, it might be best to grab a Thai friend to go to The Heron with you, the clientele was 98% Thai and you might feel like an odd one out X

A couple of months after this meal I returned with Su-lin from Tamarind and Thyme, so do check her post HERE as we ordered different dishes ;)

Enough said,

My head rating says, “9 out of 10″.

My heart rating says, “9 out of 10″.

How authentic? 9/10!!

THE HERON

Norfolk Crescent
London
W2 2DU

Tel. 020 7724 8463

Heron on Urbanspoon

 

The translation of the menu is here (and hope Thai peeps won’t ostracise me from the restaurant!).

IMAGES
(Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

Larb Moo (Minced Pork Salad, Lime and Chilli Dressing, Roasted Ground Rice); Gaeng Som Cha-om Khai Gung (Sour and Spicy “Orange” Curry with Prawns and Prawn Roe); Goong Chae Naam Plah (Prawn Ceviche with Chilli, Garlic, Lime & Fish Sauce); Liin Ped Thod (Deep Fried Marinated Duck Tongues); Yum Ta Lay (Sour and Spicy Poached Seafood Salad); Som Tam Khai Kem (Papaya Salad with Salted Egg)

MENU SUD PI SED
(Left Column)

Super Tom Teen Gai (Boiled Chicken Feet)            £12
Khao Pad Pla Kem (Fried Rice with Salted Fish)            £8.50
Pla Meuk Kai Kem (Stir Fried Squids with Salted Eggs)             £10

OTHERS
(Right Column)

Steamed Rice £2
Sticky Rice            £2.50
Rice Vermicelli            £3
Noodle            £3
Deep Fried Pork Rinds             £3
Tua Tod (Fried Peanuts)                        £4
Med Ma Muang (Sautee Cashew Nuts)            £5
Yum Tua (Peanut Salad)             £5.50
Yum Med Ma Muang (Cashew Nut Salad) £6.50

 

 

CHEF RECOMMEND

(Left Column)
Soup Nor Mai  (Shallow braised pickled bamboo shoots with chilli & lime)            £8
Kai Yiew Mar Kra Pow Krob (Fried Century Eggs, Minced Pork, Crispy Holy Basil)                        £10
Kah Nar Moo Krob (Stir Fried Thai Broccoli with Crispy Pork)            £8
Gaeng Som Goong Kai Cha Om (Sour “Orange” Curry with Poached Prawns and Bitter Leaf Omelette)             £12
Pla Duk Pad Chah (Stir Fried Catfish with Herbs)                        £12

(Right Column)
Pla Sea Bass Louy Suan (Steamed Sea Bass with Chilli and Lime)            £17
Poo Nim Pad Kee Mao Kra Pow Krob (Stir Fried Soft Shell Crab with Chilli and Peppercorn, Crispy Holy Basil)             £15
Kah Nar Pla Kem (Stir Fried Thai Broccoli with Salted Fish)            £8.50
Poo Nim Pad Kleui Prik Tai (Stir Fried Soft Shell Crab, Salt and Pepper)   £15

SOM TAM – LARB – NAAM TOK

(Left Column)
Som Tam Thai (Papaya Salad, Dried Shrimps, Peanuts)            £6.50
Som Tam Poo (Papaya Salad, Salted Crabs)            £6.50
Som Tam Pla Rah (Papaya Salad, Fermented Fish Essence)            £6.50
Som Tam Poo + Pla Rah (Papaya Salad, Fermented Fish Essence, Salted Crab) £7.50
Som Tam Thai + Poo (Papaya Salad, Dried Shrimps, Peanuts, Salted Crabs) £7.50
Som Tam Kai Kem (Papaya Salad, Salted Eggs)            £7.50
Som Tam Kor Moo (Papaya Salad, Grilled Pork Neck)             £8
Som Tam Moo Yor (Papaya Salad, Vietnamese Pork Sausage)             £8
Som Tam Goong Sod (Papaya Salad, Poached Prawns)            £8
Som Tam Poo Mar (Papaya Salad, Blue Swimmer Crab)            £8.50

(Right Column)
Tam Taeng Poo Dum (Cucumber Salad, Salted Black Crab)             £7.50
Tam Taeng Poo + Pla Rah (Cucumber Salad, Salted Crab, Fermented Fish Essence)            £7.50
Larb Moo (Minced Pork Salad, Lime and Chilli Dressing, Roasted Ground Rice)            £8
Larb Neui (Minced Beef Salad, Lime + Chilli Dressing, Ground Rice)            £8
Larb Gai (Minced Chicken Salad, Lime + Chilli Dressing, Ground Rice)             £8
Larb Ped (Chopped Duck Salad, Lime + Chilli Dressing, Ground Rice)            £8.50
Larb Pla Duk (Minced Catfish Salad, Lime + Chilli Dressing, Ground Rice)            £10
Larb Pla Sea Bass Tod (Deep Friend Sea Bass Salad, Lime + Chilli Dressing)  £17
Nam Tok Moo (Salad of Pork Fillet, Lime + Chilli Dressing)            £8
Nam Tok Neui (Salad of Beef Fillet, Lime + Chilli Dressing)            £8

 

LOUK – YUM

(Left Column)
Moo Ma Nhao (Thinly Sliced & Poached Pork in Garlic, Chilli & Lime Dressing – similar to ceviche)     £8.50
Goong Chae (Prawn Ceviche in Garlic, Chilli, Lime & Fish Sauce Dressing)   £8
Yum Huu Mooh (Sour and Spicy Salad of Boiled Pig’s Ears)     £8
Yum Louk Chin Goong (Sour and Spicy Salad of Prawn Balls)    £8
Yum Sai Taan (Sour and Spicy Salad of Pig’s Intestines)    £8
Yum Woon Sen Moo Sub (Sour and Spicy Glass Vermicelli Salad with Minced Pork)    £8
Yum Woon Sen Tah Lay (Sour and Spicy Glass Vermicelli Salad with Poached Seafood)     £8.50
Yum Leb Meur Naang (Sour and Spicy Salad of Boiled Chicken Feet)    £8
Yum Nhaam (Sour and Spicy Salad of Sour Northeastern Sausage)    £8
Yum Moo Yor (Sour and Spicy Salad of Vietnamese Pork Sausage)   £8
Yum Kor Moo Yaang (Sour and Spicy Salad of Grilled Pork Neck) £8.50

(Right Column)
Yum Ruam Mitr Tah Lay (Sour and Spicy Salad of Poached Seafood)   £8.50
Yum Plah Meuk (Sour and Spicy Salad of Poached Squids)   £8.50
Yum Plah Duk Foo (Crispy Catfish Salad with Fresh Mango and Sweet, Sour, Spicy Dressing)     £12.50
Yum Poo Mah Doang (Sour and Spicy Salad of Pickled Blue Swimmer Crabs)   £15
Yum Khai Yiew Maar (Sour and Spicy Salad of Century Eggs) £8
Yum Khai Kem (Sour and Spicy Salad of Salted Eggs)    £8
Plah Luok Jiim (Poached Fillets of Fish with Chilli & Lime Relish)   £12
Tah Lay Luok Jiim (Poached Selection of Seafood with Chilli & Lime Relish)    £12
Hoo Moo Luok Jiim (Boiled Pig’s Ears with Chilli & Lime Relish)    £8
Hoy Ma Laang Phu Oob (Steamed Mussels)    £10

NEUNG – OOB – TOM YUM

(Left Column)
Tom Saab Kra Douk Moo (Spicy Pork Rib Clear Soup)    £12
Goong Oob Woon Sen (Steamed Prawns with Glass Vermicelli, Soy, Ginger and Celeries)   £10
Plah Sea Bass Neung Ma Naow (Steamed Sea Bass with Lime, Garlic and Chilli)   £17
Tom Yum Gai Baan (Sour and Spicy Soup of Free Range Chicken)     £12

(Right Column)
Tom Yum Goong (Sour and Spicy Prawn Soup, Sweet Chilli Relish, with or without coconut milk)    £12
Poh Taak (Clear Sour and Spicy Seafood Soup)     £12
Gaang Som Paeh Sah Plah Sea Bass (Sour and Spicy “Orange” Curry with Sea Bass)    £17

 

 

AR HARN TARM SUNG (£1 EXTRA WITH FRIED EGG)

(Left Column)
Khao Kai Jiew Moo Sub (Minced Pork Omelette with Steamed Rice)    £6.50
Khao Kai Jiew Pooh (Crab Meat Omelette with Steamed Rice)   £7
Khao Moo Kra Tiem (Stir Fried Pork with Garlic and Pepper, with Steamed Rice)    £7
Khao Phad (Fried Rice with a choice of pork, chicken or beef)    £7.50
Khao Phad (Fried Rice with a choice of prawns or crab meat)   £8.50
Khao Phad Nhaem (Fried Rice with Sour Northeastern Sausages)   £8
Khao Phad Poh Taek (Fried Rice with Sour and Spicy Seafood, Herb Mix)   £8.50
Khao Phad Tah Lay (Fried Rice with Seafood)    £8.50
Suki Haang/ Naam (Thai Style Suki Yaki as Stir Fry/ as Soup with a choice of pork, chicken or beef)   £8
Suki Haang/ Naam Tah Lay (Thai Style Suki Yaki as Stir Fry/ as Soup with Mixed Seafood)   £8.50

(Right Column)
Phad See Iew Moo/ Gai/ Neui (Thai Style Dry Ho Fun, Sweet Soy Sauce, with a choice of Pork, Chicken or Beef)   £8
Phad See Iew Tah Lay (Thai Style Dry Ho Fun, Sweet Soy with Seafood)   £8.50
Raad Nah Moo/ Gai/ Neui (Thai Style Ho Fun with Sticky Gravy with a choice of Pork, Chicken or Beef)  £8
Raad Nah Tah Lay (Thai Style Ho Fun with Sticky Gravy with Seafood)   £8.50
Khao Tom Plah (Rice Soup with Fish)   £8.50
Khao Tom Goong (Rice Soup with Prawns)   £8
Khao Tom Moo Sub (Rice Soup with Minced Pork)   £8
Phad Kra Pao Moo Krob (Stir Fry Crispy Pork with Chilli and Holy Basil served with Rice)   £8
Phad Kra Pao Moo/ Gai/ Neui (Stir Fry Pork/ Chicken or Beef with Chilli and Holy Basil served with Rice)  £7.50
Phad Kra Pao Goong (Stir Fry Prawns with Chilli and Holy Basil served with Rice)  £8

TOD – YAANG

(Left Column)
Louk Chin Goong (Fried Prawn Balls)   £6.50
Sai Krok E Sarn (Northeastern Sour Sausages)   £7
Sai Oua (Northern Sour and Spicy Smoked Sausages)   £8
Sat Taan Tod Kra Tiem (Deep Fried Pork Intestines with Garlic)   £8
Liin Ped Tod (Deep Fried Marinated Duck’s Tongues)   £8
Kor Moo Yaang (Grilled Pork Neck)   £8

(Right Column)
Peek Gai Tod Naam Plah (Crispy Fish Sauce Marinated Chicken Wings)  £8
Peek Gai Yaang (Grilled Chicken Wings)   £9
Moo Daad Diew (Sun Dried and Salted Pork)   £8
Neui Daad Diew (Sun Dried and Salted Beef)   £8
Plah Nin Tod Jiim Jaew (Deep Fried Fish Fillets with Chilli and Fish Sauce Relish)   £12
Plah Sea Bass Tod Jiim Jaew (Deep Fried Sea Bass Fillets with Chilli and Fish Sauce Relish) £12

THERE ARE USUALLY SPECIALS ON THE BOARD…

Enjoy XXX

46 Comments

    • I remember the shock the first time I went there. It doesn’t look like it’s part of the pub ’cause the pub itself looks proper and this Thai lounge was as if I was teleported back to some scruffy parts of Thailand!! When you go make sure you go to the basement as they also do food – English and Thai – on the ground floor. It’s not as fun there. Also evenings are the best time to go as it’s the liveliest :-)

    • That dish was a real stunner. There are a few other places that does the version but you’ll never come across catfish there and they’re never good. I can have one more go at this now :-9

  1. Oh wow – I’ve definitely got to try this one! That Thai sausage looks exactly like the one I’ve been trying to find (101 Thai Kitchen has the other sour one).

      • tim

        i checked this place out! it was great! and the owner asked how i’d found out abt them :) i told him abt yr blog

    • tim

      well i just went for some som tum + yum pla duk fuu so i had no problem ordering, since i already knew what i wanted.

      of course it sucks that the good menu isnt translated (at first they handed me the more normal english one) but the waitress was super friendly and she said that she could translate anything for me.

      do you have any special dishes you would recommend apart from the ones in this post?

      • Let’s say. I’ll try return to the place (not much of an effort that is!!) within the next two weeks and I’ll take photos of the menu and translate the whole lot for you with some recommendations? ^_^

      • theskinnybib

        I was very busy and only translated 2 pages!! Sorry :(

      • tim

        good news for all – i went back and they said theyre working on getting the menu translated

  2. Wheurf – I remember the fermented fish salad in Bangkok and it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. This place looks absolutely great – I am looking forward to trying it.

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  7. John

    I called up today and the gentleman on the phone told me that they only serve Thai people! Is this true or have I caught them on a funny day? How would I go about booking?

    • theskinnybib

      Hi Alex,

      Ouch!! When I phoned them up to book yesterday, they only told me the kitchen are being redone. Heard it will have been finished by late next week!

      Stay tuned X

      PS Try 101, Thai Rice, Addie’s Thai or ask for the Thai menu at Chaam in the mean time :)

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  10. Frank

    Hi – just wanted to say that we went to the Heron last night.

    And what a delight it was!

    The menu now has an English translation (basic but easy enough to get around)

    The staff were REALLY friendly and welcoming. Even talked us through our order and suggested that we had ordered two things that were very similar so should chose one (i love advice like that!)

    Can’t wait to go back. Will say that our least favourite dish was the Orange Curry… but it was the least good of a very good bunch if you get what I mean.

    • theskinnybib

      Hi Frank,

      Thank you so much for the feedback!

      Glad you went to Heron and even more glad you enjoyed your meal. I wonder what other dishes you had now.

      re Staff. Thais usually have several kinds of dishes at table, which can be perplexing for any non-Thais. Most restaurants give up helping their diners to get the most out of their ordering experience. So, well done, Heron!! :-D

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