All posts filed under “High Street

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Five Guys + Shake Shack UK

Best burgers in Covent Garden?

Five Guys

Five Guys Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

Rating 2/5

Originating from DC, Five Guys is known for its history of offering freshly made burgers with hand-molded patties and hand-cut fries. That’s the start of its fame. The freshness, however, was the thing of the 80s. The brand has itself franchised and now in 2013 that it lands in London it is no more than just another fast food joint.

The Central London joint is vast and located just half way between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. The ambiance is pumped by music and benefits much from the jolly heavily American-accented wait staff. There are private booths in the basement. There are also two wicked computerized soda-blending machine that will make Willy Wonka proud. (I would queue for a Raspberry Coke Zero and many more)!!

As for the burgers, it depends on which point of view you come from. The menu at Five Guys is basic – Burger (£6.75), Cheeseburger (£8), Bacon Burger (£8) and Bacon Cheeseburger (£8.75) – and you can opt for the Little options (prices at £4.75, £5.50, £6 and £6.75 respectively). The price does not include fries (from £2.75 – £5). There are also sandwiches (£3.75 – £5). The taste, for me, is junk, but surely for a few others, nostalgically indulgent. My Little Cheeseburger did not kill me. The buns were flabby; the patty was not greasy but very bland; the cheese was heavily processed; the crunchy vegetable bits were redeeming. My Grilled Cheese Sandwich (£3.75), however, might kill me. Utterly processed.

(I did return to Five Guys for soda).

 

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Shake Shack

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Rating 3.5/5

Shake Shack – one of the most-loved ventures by NYC restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer – has also unpacked at the Piazza of Covent Garden. Unlike Five Guys, Shake Shack burgers do not suffer much from jet lag from their look and are possibly the most photogenic burgers to date in London.

The “Shack” experience is, however, less inviting and very disparate. You need to roam around between the outdoor, the indoor, and the outdoor again. (The dining space inside the Piazza will prove challenging when the weather gets colder). The staff, on two of my visits, was not as charming as at Five Guys.

The menu covers much of what’s available at its counterparts in New York but supplemented with UK ingredients. (Think Angus beef patties and Cumberland sausage hot dogs). There is a good selection of “Shake” (£4.50 – £6.50). The price range is kinder than Five Guys: £5 – £7.25 for burgers, £2.50 – £3.50 for fries, and £4 – £5 for hot dogs. Shake Shack also sells dog treats.

I liked my Shack Stack (£7.75), which is a combo of a cheeseburger with an additional deep-fried cheesy mushroom patty. But, it was the mushroom patty and the fresh veggies that tasted. The beef patty itself was too thin and too docile to make an impact. The chew-y, pillow-y buns were a joy to eat. SmokeShack (£6.50 for single patty), containing smoked bacon and chopped cherry pepper, was a disappointment. I thought it was too bunny and yummy. (If you get this, it might work better by doubling the patty). Shack-cago Dog (£4.75) was studded with onions, cucumber and pickles, and dressed with Rick’s Pick Shack relish and mustard. I thought the whole thing was too sweet. While the halved and grilled beef sausage had a lovely strength of beef and a delightful texture, it was overwhelmed by everything else. Fries were gorgeous on their own, but the cheesy sauce did not leave much impression of cheese. (Oddly mayo-like and buttery).

(I also went back to try ‘Shroom Burger, which I liked).

Quick note. To put these new arrival burgers in the context of London hamburgers, they are great contribution in reviving the burger mania. Taste-wise, however, I find Shake Shack just respectable and Five Guys just edible. The burgers that I think most highly of are Patty and Bun, Byron and the Wagyu Sliders from the bar at 45 Park Lane

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FIVE GUYS

1 Long Acre
London
WC2E 9LH

www.fiveguys.co.uk

SHAKE SHACK UK

24, Market Building
Covent Garden Piazza
London
WC2E 8RD

Tel. 020 7240 0054

http://www.shakeshack.com/location/london-covent-garden/

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Leon de Bruxelles: Mussels in Soho, What Can Go Wrong?

What can go wrong?

Many things. Same as many other restaurants I often visit on the first days of their opening. The service might be slow. The food might not be the best the kitchen can offer. There are, though not always, creases that need ironing out. An unsatisfactory meal can tell so much about the restaurant – the potential that hasn’t been delivered? As for Leon de Bruxelles, the mega chain restaurants originating from Brussels, it struck me as an utterly bad experience.

Sweet mussels..

I like mussels. I like fries. But, above all else, I love Belgian food. Belgium is one of those countries that are overlooked as a gourmet destination but once you are (I am) there, you (I) find it hard to leave (more posts on restaurants in Bruges are coming, ahem!). Leon de Bruxelles did not capture that. The green-and-white, diner’s-lookalike dining room looked as if Ed’s Diner around the corner could just take over any time. The paper mat on the table made commendably bold claims. Sustainability (which I appreciate). Freshness “Yesterday in Seawater, Today at Leon”. And, very oddly, the ultimate claim that the food is prepared fresh for each order (when did I last go to restaurants and was served food cooked weeks ago?). The mussel-shaped menu began with a concise history of Leon de Bruxelles. The food (moules & frites & other things) was priced a few ££ above London’s best known Belgian restaurant….Belgo!

I dug into mussels. Three Cheese Mussels au Gratin (£12) arrived as most of the cheese had missed the mussels. As a result, the barely cheesed ones (Gruyere and Cheddar) were dry and verged on being overcooked. The ones that correctly oozed cheese (mainly Roquefort) were just okay. Ardennaise Mussels (£16 including fries) was no better. While the sauce of white wine and creme fraiche had a broth-y creamy texture and aroma, the slivers of bacon were hardly sliced apart and clung together; the mushroom slices tasted not fresh; and the mussels themselves did not fare above the high-street average in their freshness. They were in seawater yesterday? Or, were they just soaked in seawater yesterday? The fries could put MacDonald’s on a gourmet map. I can’t be bothered to write about the peas (petit pois £2.50).

What could be worse? There was a wait.. around 30 minutes for my Grand-Mere Pauline’s Waffle (£6) to arrive. I’m making it brief. It wasn’t a good waffle. I shattered on my teeth as if a dried out wafer. No contrast of texture. No milky perfume. No taste. Very sorely I wanted them waffles on Oxford Street..

Adding to this, it took me another 20 minutes for my money to be taken and my change returned.

Can this be right?

I am not sure but fingers crossed. The service was erratic and unfocused. Four to five waiters came to our tables within minutes of one another to check if things were alright. Sadly, none of our requests, apart from being pointed the loo, were promptly materialised. And I spent 2 hours of my life for a mediocre two-course lunch. The 50% soft opening discount (17th-20th Jan) cannot be a justification of this.

On the bright side Leon de Bruxelles has a nice selection of drinks that you can enjoy at the bar…

GO FOR: The musical just opposite..
RATING: 1.5/5

(read about new rating here)

LEON DE BRUXELLES LONDON

24 Cambridge Circus
London
WC2H 8AA

Tel. 020 7836 5165

www.leon-de-brussels.co.uk

 

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St Giles “High Street” Haunts = Union Jacks + Cabana + Byron

Union Jacks..

Union Jack's on Urbanspoon

Jamie Oliver intrigued Britain with his new foodie package. We heard of the new book and the new TV show, both of which share the same title “Jamie’s Great Britain”, and now at St Giles Central, we sampled the flagship of his new high street chain venture “Union Jacks”. The ambiance, however, was kiddy at worst. Mismatched kindergarten chairs with spray paints, big and eclectic lights that screamed “Union Jacks” (though there was no sign of that flag itself), and a centre-piece wood oven against the extraterrestially high ceiling did not seem so well and quirkily thought out as his Jamie’s Italian. Sitting down, I felt dwarfed.

For the most part, Union Jacks was a pizza joint, while the menu bordered on being British but promised twists. Jamie shook hands with Chris Bianco, the US pizza king and devised the pizza menu based on what Great Britain has to offer. Before that, I had “By-Catch Fish Fingers” (£5) and “Bloody Mary Mussels” (£5). The fish fingers were firm and enjoyably crispy, but the accompanying tartare sauce was in extreme shortage of acidity. The mussels, though very fresh, were far less successful and tasted no more than molluscs steamed in tomato sauce. No basic flavour suggestive of a Bloody Mary – say, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, chilli, celery – was present.

The “flats” AKA pizzas were flashy and reasonably massive (you might not need a starter). My “Old Spot” (£12) was a maelstrom of taste and texture – from roasted and melt-in-yer-mouth pork shoulder, super crunchy cracklings, sharp quince and sweet Bramley slices, to pungent Stilton and peppery watercress. The Other Bib, however, preferred the “Red Ox” (£12) which landed on the table with an incredible perfume of horseradish. The combo of Worcestershire sauce-braised oxtail and brisket with Red Leicester would appease meat and cheese lovers. To me, it did not have enough dimensions to keep me on edge and finish it all off. Chris Bianco (who was in the kitchen) did a great job synching the ingredients. That said, I didn’t find the puffy pizza dough a revelation but too American for my liking.

GO FOR: Swanky pizza.
RATING: 3/5

(read more about rating here)

Cabana..

Cabana on Urbanspoon

Cabana is an interpretation of Brasilian cafeteria. Now there are two of them – one in Westfield Stratford City and the other at St Giles Central. The St Giles one looked young and fun, with kite ceiling, multicolor lights, cocktail bar and denim banquettes. The menu boast a good selection of Brasilian street nibbles and many grilled-and-skewed things as well as good booze. That said, the price tag here is the least budget.

Food-wise, I was indecisive about Cabana. My Pao de Queijo AKA Brazillian cheesy bread arrived as a trio of tapioca flour based buns. I picked up the genteel milky aroma and liked the crusty-gummy contrast very much (£3.95). For my grilled things, there was this ceremony of waiters approaching your table with a very long skewer of whatever meat you order and un-skewing it straight to your plate. This came with some free tomato salsa, which could do with more seasoning, and some nutty minty salsa, which was appetisingly sweet and fragrant. Still, you need to order side dishes (£2.85- £3.65) separately. My Grilled Pork and Papaya Sausages (£3.35 for two) were pretty much the same size as your typical English sausages. They smelled well charred but tasted steeply sweet with papaya dices. Spicy Malaqueta Prawns (£5.95 for three) were good quality but not large. I felt them a little pricy for the ambiance. Again quite sweet and I didn’t pick up much heat as the term “spicy” promised. Spicy Malaqueta Chicken (£5.45 for three thigh pieces) was a little hotter. The meat was cooked to fall apart and was not too dry. My meal with water and a non-alc cocktail with all above came to £25 without service. I was not in love but I wouldn’t mind going back.

GO FOR: Meaty grill. Cocktail.
RATING: 3.5/5

(read more about rating here)

Byron!!

I love Byron. I love the fact that each of them has been uniquely and funkily designed to fit its surrounding. At St Giles Central, there was a cargo container suspended above the open-plan kitchen. It mediated the bare dining room with the vast aerial space oh so well. I didn’t feel like I was dining at a formulaic high-street chain at all.

The burgers – Scottish meat and freshly minced every day – were still the tour de force and retained their greatest consistency London-wide. Sadly, their row with Health and Safety meant any Byron can no longer serve rare burgers. Stupid authority!!

GO FOR: Comfort. Quick meal. Cool vibe. Low budget.
RATING: 5/5

(read more about rating here)

 

UNION JACKS

St Giles High Street
London
WC2H 8AG

www.unionjacksrestaurants.com

CABANA

St Giles High Street
London
WC2H 8AG

Tel. 020 7845 9730

www.cabana-brasil.com

BYRON

St Giles High Street
London
WC2H 8AG

Tel. 020 7395 0620

www.byronhamburgers.com

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The American Swarm: Dante Fried Chicken + Byron’s Uncle Sam

Recapping the American invasions?

Jean-Georges has opened a Spice Market (and panned by critics). Wolfgang Puck has unveiled CUT (and not yet panned by critics). Thomas Keller is opening a French Laundry pop-up at Harrods (and the phone line is jammed!). The true Brit spirits Tom & Jamie recently surprised Londoners with the magnificent American-inspired van of Pitt Cue Co. Now gone but I hope to see you again shortly. The question is.. what’s next?

… and has Londoners’ taste bud turned too American?

What’s next? Fried chicken?

BINGO!!

Dante Gonzales swaggered by with his award-winning fried chicken (and a confident Twitter name @kfcrip !!). He did not come (from LA) with his “Ride or Fry” truck but stapled himself in the East at Protein for a three-day pop-up, which unfortunately was already over. Here’s a glimpse of Dante Fried Chicken + Taco Shack.

 

This was proper, proper Southern food. Not a one-trick pony as there were a few unique Mexican dishes on the meny, too! They could have done better with the operation as it took too long to wait, nowhere (but floor) to be seated and no napkin to wipe the messy joy off my face. Not nice.

But, food-wise, my Sock-It-To-Me Fried Chicken (£5) was seductively crispy and distinctly coated with feisty chilli and spice. The sesame bun was crusty and the sausage gravy to be dunked on top had depth in flavours. All was nice.. apart from the fact that it did look a van crash on this paper plate. The same (but less tragic looking) can be said of Dante’s Gumbo Tamales (£5). What was it? A tamal filled with tasty gumbo. Came on a bed of alcohol-perfumed rice and red bean sort-of salsa. Bold, creamy and herbal! I’d like you to consider returning to London. The price and the portion size, however, did not seem to synch well.

IF you fancy catching an American trend at reasonable price, there is still Byron burger special “Uncle Sam” (£7.50) available from 6th – 30th September (2011). This featured 6oz hamburger, very decent American cheese, sliced pickle, French mustard and ketchup, all hugged by a very soft bun.

Yep.. it’s a truly uplifting version of MacDonald’s Quarter Pounder. Bigger than your usual Byron treat. High-quality beef, melting cheese and juicy pickle. The bun, in my opinion, was too fluffy and balanced off the robustness of the patty too much. Also special thanks to @gubgub08 to kindly let me use his Uncle Sam image ^_^

IF you don’t fancy a burger, you know where to find your BEST American hot dog. Abiye has just pimped up his website and introduced the Dark Lord. Old Street. Weekdays. Same Spot. BIG APPLE HOT DOGS!!

You are likely to see me there… ^_^

Enough said,

My head rating for DFC and Byron’s Uncle Sam says, “8 and 8 out of 10″.

My heart rating says, “8 and 9 out of 10″.

 

DANTE FRIED CHICKEN

Check out the website here: www.dantefriedchicken.com or follow @dfcrip

As for BYRON!?

You know where they bloody are!!

 

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Burger VS Burger VS Burger VS Burger VS Burger (3)

I felt I had missed out on food.

Looking back at my archive, I was shocked at how many burgers I ordered at restaurants..

.. and to save myself for being too one-dimensional this will be my last burger post.

VIAJANTE BAR

Have we forgotten Viajante also does bar food?

I have.. the menu was short. Some 3-4 cooked dishes and others cold assembles of good things. Mini Boccadillo with Jamon Iberico (£3). Simple, delicious. Crusty and soft bun. Quite generous with the Jamon. Shrimp and Leek Pot Stickers, Marinated Cucumber, Ponzu (£7) Meaty wontons in warm, citrus-infused soy broth. Not bad.

BUT the star was the burger: Dry Aged Beef Burger, Vanilla Onions, Stilton, Brioche Bun, Potato Wedges (£12). A BLUE CHEESE BURGER. No option for how the patty was cooked. Looked medium done but tasted super moist, beefy, additive. Melting Stilton – pungent, yet velvety. The vanilla onions – quite sweet – weren’t gimmicks. Delicate and balanced off the harshness from the Blue. So did the peppery rocket leaves. PERFECT BUN. Soft and mellow with the oozing cheese. That said, this was a soft burger. Bite was what it lacked. Wedges were good but boring.

I did not regret coming all the way from the West End for this!

Last few words – Don’t want to turn this into a Viajante post – the Chocolate Fondant with Malt Ice Cream (or sorbet? Texture was more sorbet-like) sent me to cloud nine. A little crisp outside and the lava chocolate inside. Menacing dark choc. Faint taste from the ice cream to take the heaviness away. Sandy texture from the crush choc. Awesomeness. The version at Opera Tavern was also very good.

The sofa, unlike the bun or the choc fondant, was bum-numbing. Hard – AA Gill won’t sit on it – and style over bum-friendly function. Artsy, relaxed ambiance and great seasonal cocktail, nonetheless.

HAWKSMOOR SEVEN DIALS

How many times have I written about Hawksmoor?

They’ve got a new Third Burger, and to my knowledge, this is the first UMAMI BURGER in London.

What is UMAMI?

A savoury taste imparted from amino acid Glutamate that makes food delicious by means of enhancing other flavours. Generally we taste sweet, sour, salty and bitter. UMAMI is the unknown, fifth taste that binds them. More info here.

Instead of dunking MSG in your burgers just like chez MacDonald’s, the burger experts started to assemble an UMAMI burger. This burger – started in the US no surprise – was to become the perfect burger, the heavenly, the natural. It proved a monumental success (in the US).

I spare you the detail.. googgle for it yourself :) But, here is the Hawksmoor offering of the UMAMI burger. Layers of homemade ketchup, slightly dehydrated tomatoes, parmesan, caramelised onions, mushrooms, bonemarrow-filled patty, lettuce. Blime me, it was nearly vegetarian!! Great flavours, albeit subtle. My bib said the best he had at Hawksmoor. I preferred the more aggressive Bobcat – no longer on the menu. That said, I liked it. Sensual and lip-licking. Great quality patty but they’d only do medium or above. Bonemarrow oil leaking. £15 including a side.

OPERA TAVERN

Picking up their pace. My problem with Opera Tavern is that some dishes are not fit for sharing – too refined I must add – and their salad too vinegar-y. The cured meat is a steal. £3-4 for a whole serving board. And this Foie Gras Iberico mini-burger/slider (£5 something) that is just the best pork burger EVER!

Sweet. Melting. Crispy shallot rings. Smoky patty. Creamy mayo. And I nibbled on the pickled chilli to cleanse my mouth off. Sweet.

KUA ‘AINA

A successful Hawaiian joint from Haleiwa, now boggling Pret-A-Manger lovers just off Carnaby Street.

I’d go for Pret. It felt healthier, and the salad and the sandwiches there came with a calorie tag!

Kau ‘Aina burgers (£5 or above) were so-so, greasy and bland. Had to smother it with sauce and did not quite see the point of paying money to eat bottled sauces. Their grilled sandwiches might be better options.

BAR BOULUD

Bar Boulud on Urbanspoon

The once talk-of-the-town until the Meatwagon swaggered by…

Londoners don’t do posh burgers, do they?

This was not my first time at BB. Pre-blogged day I had their Frenchie Burger (£12.25) and now I went for a Yankee (£11.25). Both did not come with fries (£3.50).

Good? Prime quality beef patty. Red. Juicy. Almost 2″ thick and bigger than the bun. All the carnivorous treat you could wish for.

Bad? I hated it (as much – if not more – than when I had the Frenchie). Too overwhelming flavours from the meat. An awkward slap of garnish. Bun was good. The burgers – on this occasion and the previous – need to have the balance adjusted. I only finished the patty.

That said, the pate and the sausages at Bar Boulud were spectacular, world-class flavours (and upper-class price tags). My Tourte de Ris de Veau (Veal Sweetbread, Foie Gras, Morel, Pastry Crust at £12.50) got a resounding yes, yes, YES!!! Marbling layers and a delectable storm of textures. Melting foie gras and no foulness from the sweetbread – as time went by I realised many found it a no-no ingredient. Could be better if served with toasted brioche. The lightly dressed frisee salad and the pickles were decent.

SPUNTINO

Last but not least Spuntino is doing a “secret” burger. Not on the menu but cooked on request. Smaller than a normal-sized one but bigger than a slider. Stringy cheese that did not want to break (seriously!!). Patty tasted much like an oversized meat ball. More flavoursome than a normal patty to me and it needed no sauce or extra seasoning!! Came with a mountain of paper thin red onions and juicy pickled gherkins. Great comfort!

Fancy more burgers?

Check out: Riding House Cafe, Byron, Ed’s Diner, GBK, Goodman, Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Bistro du Vin, Les Deux Salons, Helene Darroze, Jamie’s Italian, Bill’s Produce Store, Dial Arch and Meateasy (via London Eater)

That’s it.

You won’t see me snouting on a burger for a long time X

Enough said,

My head rating for burgers at Viajante Bar, Hawksmoor, Opera Tavern, Kua ‘Aina, Bar Boulud and Spuntino says, “10, 8, 9, 6, 6.5 and 8″.

My heart rating in the same order says, “10, 9, 10, 4, 5 and 9″.

VIAJANTE BAR

Patriot Square
Bethnal Green
London
E2 9NF

Tel. 020 7871 0461

www.viajante.co.uk

HAWKSMOOR SEVEN DIALS

11 Langley Street
London
WC2H 9JG

Tel. 020 7856 2154

www.thehawksmoor.co.uk

OPERA TAVERN

23 Catherine Street
London
WC2B 5JS

Tel. 020 7836 3680

www.operatavern.co.uk

KUA ‘AINA

26 Foubert’s Place
London
W1F 7PP

Tel. 020 7287 7474

www.kua-aina.co.uk

BAR BOULUD

Mandarin Oriental Hotel
66 Knightsbridge
London
SW1X 7LA

Tel. 020 7201 3899

www.barboulud.com

SPUNTINO

61 Rupert Street
London
W1D 7PJ

www.spuntino.co.uk

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High Street Pad Thai: The West End

Pad Thai, it seems, especially in the UK, epitomises what Thai food is about; yet, it is not merely because the name of the dish contains the word “Thai”. It is the flavour combination – tamarind-sour with a hint of sweetness and not to aggressive chilli flakes – that lures many diners to Thai restaurants and request this particular kind of stir-fried noodle; and surely, the convenient factor of the dish – it takes minutes to cook and minutes to eat. Pad Thai vendors occupy and create bustle at many corners of Bangkok. No, you can’t really miss a Pad Thai stall if you pass by Thailand. In London, likewise, Pad Thai makes itself ordered and eaten in all Thai restaurants and if you pop into any Thai high street chain in London – Patara, Thai Square, Busaba and Rosa’s – it is very likely the diners next to you are feasting on their own dose of this street classic. Say, if you want an easy Thai night out in the West End, where should you get your Pad Thai? Which is the most authentic? Here are the facts and figures of my West End high street chain options.

Let’s start with what you should expect in your Pad Thai on the streets in Bangkok. Noodles but also a combo of dried shrimps, chopped sweet pickled turnip, fried tofu, crushed peanuts, egg, bean sprouts and chives. You’ll get prawns, too, though their size depends on how upmarket your Pad Thai stalls are. Thais usually serve their Pad Thai with a garnish of fresh beansprouts and banana blossoms to undercut the sweet-and-sourness of the fried noodle. But, let’s admit you’ll never find every ingredient i mention – let alone fresh banana blossoms – in your budget high street Pad Thai in the UK. So, where to go for a decent flavour compromise? If you want to see one, check out this post.

THAI SQUARE

Thai Square on Urbanspoon

Are there not too many of Thai Squares? I headed for this chain on Shaftesbury Avenue and found two Pad Thai dishes on the menu: one with chicken and the other with prawns, which you’ll pay a few extra £ for. I ordered the latter, priced just above £10.

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Ingredients ticked. There were bits of everything I mention in this Pad Thai. The Sen Chan noodle had good texture and not one but overcooked and so were the prawns. I spotted half a handful of carrot slices sautéed with the beansprouts and chives which did not do any harm to the dish. The flavours, however, were authentic but mild as if they were a little skint on tamarind sauce and sugar. No chilli was to be seen anywhere.

PATARA

Patara on Urbanspoon

This is a more “fine dining” looking chain restaurant but the damage cost per meal isn’t much different from a dinner at any Thai Square. The Sen Chan Pad Thai – there is only the prawn combo on the menu priced at £9.95 – I had at their restaurant on Greek Street had all the bright and bold flavours with fresh springy prawns. Chilli flakes were already added to the noodle so you cannot opt out from this delectable heat. Flavour-wise, this was probably the closest you’d get off the street of Bangkok. The only down side was that there wasn’t much in the dish apart from the noodle, the prawns, the veg and some little sprinkle of crushed toasted peanuts. I could barely find egg and you can just forget about other bits I mentioned. But, it had all the flavours going. Miracle…

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ROSA’S

I have blogged about Rosa’s (here) and I know they can deliver really good Pad Thai but on my latest visit to their Soho outpost it wasn’t quite up to scratch. The chef appeared too heavy-handed the seasoning, which left my dish a little drowned in sweet tamarind syrup. That aside, Rosa’s Pad Thai was quite similar to Patara. There was some authentic taste there but not much else going on on the plate. The positive was that this was probably the most budget (£8.75) and authentic Pad Thai you’d find in the West End.

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BUSABA EATHAI

Busaba Eathai on Urbanspoon

No photo available for this Pad Thai, I’m afraid as I stupidly deleted many of my meals before downloading them!!! Argh!!!!!!!! That said, you can check out my old Busaba post for photographic reference of their Pad Thai here. Since I first blogged about Busaba, I feel the chains are transmongrifying fast into Wagamama. I used to love their Pad Thai because it was so full of bits, all the ingredients I mentioned, with a little extra of grated green mango and crab meat as garnish. The flavours of the dish, however, didn’t taste as authentic as you would get in the above Thai restaurant. It was heated and sweet but a flavour similar to sweet chilli sauce rather than an actual tamarind based sauce. Price and size-wise, this was very large and priced at cuts-friendly £8.90. But, if you have to queue to get into this Soho branch, I’m not sure if you should bother.

Verdict? Patara (if you don’t mind paying service charge) and Rosa’s (if you do mind paying service charge). And you may now enjoy your Pad Thai.

Want my recipe? Feel free to send me an email ;-)

Enough said,

My head rating for Pad Thai at Thai Square, Patara, Rosa’s and Busaba Eathai says, “6, 8, 8, 7″.

My heart rating in the same order says, “6, 8, 7, 6″.

THAI SQUARE COVENT GARDEN

166-170 Shaftesbury Avenue
London
WC2H 8JB

020 7836 7600

www.thaisquare.net

PATARA SOHO

15 Greek Street
Soho
London
W1D 4DP

Tel. 020 7437 1071

www.pataralondon.com

ROSA’S SOHO

48 Dean Street
London
W1D 5BF

Tel. 0207 494 1638

www.rosaslondon.com/soho

BUSABA EATHAI

106-110 Wardour Street
London
W1F 0TR

Tel. 020 7255 8686

www.busaba.com