In general, I like to get lunch from independent food retailers. And if I can find a small, backstreet cafe where you can perch on a stool in the window and either watch the world go by or have a quick read, that’s often my kind of place (providing the food’s interesting of course).
I’d heard about Mama Thai and their ‘gorgeous Indian and Thai dishes’. And when I read this story about them being forced to move to side street premises after being priced out of Spitalfields Market, I wanted to like Mama Thai’s even more. My expectations were high.
I came here for the first time on Wednesday lunchtime. There was a long queue spilling out on to the pavement (a good sign) formed of take-away customers mostly.
There was a speedy turnover of customers dining in, squeezed on to high stools at big shared benches. And a real mix of City suits and casually dressed people too.
Now for the difficult bit: choosing which curry to have. It’s £4.00 for veggie or £5.00 for fish or meat. You can have *lots* of one dish, or pick two (50% portions). I could feel a cold trying to kick in and wanted something really spicy to help keep it at bay. I homed in on Thai chicken and beef massaman (ok, that’s not spicy) .
There’s also a good choice of snacks: Thai fishcakes with spicy cucumber sauce, veggie samosas with yoghurt mint chutney, butterfly king prawns with spicy plum sauce, chicken satay with peanut sauce, etc. (I’m planning on trying Thai veggie noodles and Thai fishcakes next time – Thai fishcakes are an old favourite of mine, which serves as a good benchmark).
Both the Thai chicken and beef massaman were pleasant. I’d expected the Thai chicken to be spicier but it was – while nice enough – quite bland, and heavily coated in fresh coriander. Both dishes seemed lacking in a certain depth of flavour and spices. The portion was huge and I found these meat dishes overly filling (too much for me at lunctime, and I’ll adapt accordingly next time).
My initial rating of Mama Thai was 3 out of 5 subject to change once I’d tried a few lighter veggie and fish options.
Having since tried Mama Thai’s butternut curry (butternut in a thick coconut sauce, with a gentle kick) and mixed veggie curry (nice and spicy peas, cabbage, onions, sweetcorn, carrots, green beans etc) the rating goes up to 3.5. These veggie dishes were lighter than the meat dishes I previously tried, and with a blend of spicy flavours too – much better for me during the day. And friendly, chatty service too. I’m thoroughly converted.
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Thai, Indian
~ Address: 10 Toynbee Street, London
~ Postcode: E1 7NE
~ e: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Nearest station: Aldgate East
~ Menu: Mama Thai menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Mama Thai food
~ Location: Mama Thai map
More Spitalfields dining:
~ Fora – Mediterranean restaurant, City branch
~ Kastner & Ovens – great salad selection
~ Momo’wich – Asian fusion: Thai curries, rendang sandwiches
~ Pizza Union – stonebaked pizza, Spitalfields
Filed under: Indian, LardButty food / restaurant reviews, Thai Tagged: | 3.5 / 5, 3.5/5, Aldgate, Aldgate East, E1, E1 7NE, East London, Indian, Indian takeaway, Lardbutty, Liverpool Street, Mama Thai, Spitalfields, Thai, Thai takeaway, Tower Hamlets, Toynbee Street