Begging Bowl – Thai tapas in Peckham SE15

Thai tapas concept menu

We were a party of ten on a Friday evening and this restaurant in Peckham was heaving. Tables were packed in close together and we were crammed in. It was noisy and lively befitting a Friday evening – the start of the weekend – but the acoustics were poor making it difficult to hear conversation.

Dishes are designed for sharing. The menu offers 12 dishes, roughly half are starter portions and the other half mains. Plus limitless Jasmine rice and sticky rice @ £2.50 a head, and a choice of three desserts.

Drinks took ages to arrive and weren’t altogether correct when they did. That continued throughout the meal. By the time they did arrive, we were happy to accept whatever had been brought. Servers were busy and under pressure; service was hit and miss.

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Thai tapas at the Begging Bowl
Top – starters: (left) Miang of pomelo, ginger, peanuts, dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, caviar wrapped in betel leaf @£5.60, (right) mixed salad starter about £5.80
Bottom – pudding: (left) Coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @£6.00, (right) Banana fritters, coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, turmeric custard @ £6.70

We ordered most plates from the Thai tapas menu to share (the food was amazing – top marks to the kitchen) starting with a peanut and ginger miang (a bite sized snack, wrapped in a leaf) with pomelo (citrus fruit), dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, and caviar wrapped in betel leaf @ £5.60 – absolutely gorgeous blend of flavours; a salad of salsify, betel leaf, lemongrass, coriander, peanuts, Thai shallots (there’s an option to have this salad with chargrilled duck) about £10.00; and a morning glory stir fry with garlic and fermented yellow bean @ £6.50.

This menu is really pleasing for nut lovers like me.

Charcoal grilled salt-crusted whole gilthead bream stuffed with pandanas, lemongrass, grilled green chilli dip @ £13.50
Behind: a near-finished plate of morning glory (Thai green stems) stir-fry @ £6.50

This charcoal grilled salt-crusted gilthead bream was a hit (we ordered more). You can see what it looked like whole (above) and the soft white fish-meat inside is pictured below.

Sticky chicken, gilthead bream, sticky rice, morning glory stir fry

Other dishes we shared included chargrilled sticky chicken @ about £12.50, a mushroom parlow – king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, and pickled morning glory (Thai green stems) @ £9.50 and of course – an unlimited supply of Jasmine rice and sticky rice.

A selection of dishes: Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, in foreground; sticky chicken left

Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, pickled morning glory @ £9.50

For dessert we shared a dish of coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @ £6.00 and banana fritters made with a coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, and turmeric custard @ £6.70 (exceptionally good).

The verdict: Prepare for noise, being squashed in, hit-and-miss service and excellent food. This ‘Thai tapas’ concept menu puts an interesting twist on traditional Thai food. It’s worth a visit.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai, Thai tapas
– Address: 168 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London
– Postcode: SE15 4BW
– Tel: +44 20 7635 2627
– Nearest station: Peckham Rye station
– Website + menus: The Begging Bowl website
– Begging Bowl photos: The Begging Bowl photos on flickr
– Location: The Begging Bowl map

The Begging Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Kanchana’s Kitchen at the King’s Arms – Waterloo

Fresh Thai food served in back room of quaint old backstreet pub in SE1

H, K and I chose The King’s Arms pub to meet last Saturday night, for its proximity to Waterloo and because they serve rotating craft beers. Roosters was on, on our visit. So, home from home.


Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms


It was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday evening especially given they were showing the Euro 2016 football matches, on big screens. Pleasingly for us, we were able to get a table in the Thai restaurant, Kanchana’s Kitchen in the back room.



Back dining room – when you try to photo-bomb but it kinda backfires and you end up in a blogpost…


We sampled a few real ales from the bar, and shared this mixed platter:


Mixed starter platter: chicken satay, veg samosas, veggie spring rolls, Thai fish cakes, veggie tempura, butterfly prawns and prawn toast @ £6.95 pp (£20.85 for 3)



Gaeng Kiew Wann – chicken green Thai curry @ £7.95 (in an extremely chipped bowl)

H and I both chose the chicken green Thai curry with steamed rice, made with basil, lime and bamboo. It tasted good so we overlooked the shabby crockery.


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Pad thai with prawns @ £8.50 – K’s choice



Menu 01 – starters and curry dishes



Menu 02 – stir fried dishes and house specials



The verdict: Convenient for Waterloo station, good Thai food, nice enough craft beers (though the choice was somewhat limited) on Roupell Street, an appealing quaint back street formed of old London terrace houses. It’s handy if it’s handy.


Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai
– Address: The Kings Arms, 25 Roupell Street, London
– Postcode: SE1 8TB
– Nearest station: Waterloo
– Website: The King’s Arms website
– Photos on flickr: images of RESTAURANT food
– Map: Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms


King's Arms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Pacata – burgers, curries, Asian fusion street-style

After a cultural Sunday outing in London – visiting the Soundscapes exhibition at the National Gallery followed by a coupla beers in a (fairly scuzzy) traditional pub – H, K and I wanted to eat out somewhere.

After much deliberation (over another beer of course) we decided on a Thai restaurant in Covent Garden that we’ve been going to for over 15 years. Initially disappointed that it was closed, we were – ultimately – delighted to stumble across Pacata while aimlessly wondering what to do.

Situated on New Row (a quaint, narrow side street just off St Martin’s Lane) Pacata’s shop-front is small and unimposing. A printed menu propped up in the window caught our eye – an Asian fusion menu serving dishes as diverse as burgers, Thai curries, steaks as well as ramen and pasta, all with an Asian twist and in the currently trendy ‘street’ style. Something for everyone, deliberations sorted.

The restaurant interior was appealing from the moment we stepped in, with its mish-mash of wood furnishings and eclectic lamp collection.

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Restaurant interior – downstairs space, creative lighting, wood wood wood

Ordering a bottle of Chenin Blanc, Stormy Cape 2013 (South Africa) @ 16.00, we chose these starters to share from the bar-snack menu:

~ Tod mun fishcakes – Thai fishcakes with chilli sauce @ £4.50 (slightly anaemic, under-flavoured and disappointing – the only weak link in the meal)
~ Popcorn chicken in larb powder – bite-size chicken snacks in a spicy coating @ £6.90
~ Beef skewers – with roast mushroom, spring onion and soy sauce @ £4.50 (yum!)


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Starters – Tod mun fishcakes, popcorn chicken in larb powder, beef skewers

For main course, H and I both chose grilled chicken breast served with mushrooms, green beans and Jasmine rice @ £12.95. There’s a choice of curry sauce (green Thai, Massaman or Japanese) – we both chose green Thai.

The presentation of the sauce was such that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience choosing how *you* want to eat this unconventional Thai green curry.

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Chicken green Thai curry – as served


So do you:

a) pour your green Thai curry sauce over the chicken first
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Sauce over whole chicken (H’s option)



b) cut up the chicken and remove bones before pouring your sauce (so more of the chicken is coated in curry)
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Chicken strips coated in curry sauce (L’s option)

Either way, it feels like a good and different experience, that engages you (the eater) to customise your Asian curry food in the way you want to eat it. Simple but effective.

K chose this tom yum chicken ramen with a twist: a complete chicken breast on the bone served in a tomato cream soup with egg and spring onions @ £12.95.

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Tom yum ramen – spicy tomato cream soup with egg and chicken


We were having such a relaxing, comfortable experience here we felt like lingering. And so ordered a round of digestifs (our waitress was unfamiliar with Courvoisier and took several attempts to serve it with “no ice” but at room temperature as it’s meant to be). Altogether, our bill for three people came to £127.00 including service.

I’ll be back. Probably for a ‘burger n beer’…

Restaurant info:
Sample menus:
~ Bar-snacks
~ Burger n’ beer @ £8.50 deal

~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai, Korean, Asian
~ Address: 4 New Row, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2N 4LH
~ Nearest tube stations: , Leicester Square, Covent Garden
~ Website: Pacata website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Pacata food
~ Location: Pacata map


Click to add a blog post for Pacata on Zomato

Suda – Thai at Covent Garden

“The best chicken green curry outside of Thailand, guaranteed” claims Suda’s menu. A bold statement, no? I was sucked in, and had to put it to the test.

But first, S and I shared a starter of tod mun and prawn skewers (not ‘lollipops’) @ £5.95. The tod mun fishcake balls were perfectly squidgy and spicy, while the deep fried battered prawn balls were a pleasant enough texture contrast but not particularly exciting.

IMG_1642b_Suda_tod mun and prawn skewers
Tod mun + prawn skewers

For main course, S had kao pad pak ruam @ £8.25 – mixed veggies stir-fried with brown rice (healthy and tasty) and I had the Gaeng kiew waan gai – “the best” green chicken curry @ £11.00, which has a 2-star spice rating (an “intermediate” spicy level, and was spicy-tasty, not spicy-fiery-hot).

Kao pad pak ruam – brown rice packed with tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers etc

At first glance the green curry looked very soupy and watery but the liquid was packed with flavours, particularly basil which I love. And the sticky rice @ £3.00 readily absorbed the juice.

Of all the green Thai curries I’ve eaten in the twenty years since I went to Thailand, I honestly can’t say if this was “the best” of them all (I can’t *remember* them all) but it was up there, ranking highly.

Chicken green curry @ £11.50 – gorgeous basil + nicely spicy flavours

To drink, I had a couple of glasses of Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc from Thailand’s Hua Hin Hills vineyard (my first wine from Thailand) @ £5.10 a 175ml glass – medium dry but with sweeter after notes than Chenin Blanc normally has, which made a perfect pairing with spicy food.

I was a bit of a sucker for these cute wooden carvings (table decorations) too, particularly the goat, with its tufty beard and tall horns:

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Table decorations – wood carved animals

The verdict: Spacious restaurant that felt comfortable and relaxing with its black patterned walls and dark decor and soft lighting; attentive and pleasant service and great Thai food, reasonably priced. If you’re in to puddings, the choice is limited.

Inside Suda restaurant – dark decor, spacious

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Place, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2E 9AB
~ Tel: 020 7240 8010
~ Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross
~ Website + menus: Suda website
~ Photos on flickr: Suda photos
~ Location: Suda map

Suda on Urbanspoon

Orangegrass – first Thai in South Shields

“Proud to be the first and only Thai restaurant in South Shields”

Situated in a residential area and semi-industrial park, Orangegrass doesn’t look like it’s up to much from outside. And it’s not in Shields’ town centre so it would be easy to miss.

Tofu pud ped – Tofu red Thai curry (top), Gaeng mussaman, Gaeng kiew wan gai (green chicken curry)

But step inside the entrance of 7 Mount Terrace (it has the appearance of a community hall) and head straight upstairs to the pristine restaurant, where polite staff in smart Thai traditional silk outfits are waiting to greet you.

IMG_9346 Pristine interior

The restaurant is an appealing, high-ceilinged capacious room split into different sections. And on our visit last night we were thoroughly well looked after by our server.

There’s a great wine list too. We homed in on a bottle of Opal Ridge Gewurztraminer Verdelho 2013 (assuming this would go well with spicy food, which it did) while contemplating the food choices.

For starters the four of us shared:
01. prawn crackers @ £2.50
02. Gai satay @ £4.95 – charcoal grilled, spiced chicken with peanut sauce
03. tord mun pha @ £4.95 – Thai style fishcakes
04. phak tord @ £4.75 – crispy battered vegetables with chilli sauce
05. tom kha gai @ £4.95 – chicken soup with coconut milk, galangal, mushroom, lemongrass etc

IMG_9336 02. Gai satay – charcoal grilled chicken with peanut sauce

03. Tord mun pha – fishcakes

IMG_9338 04. Phak tord – crispy battered vegetables

05. Tom kha gai – creamy, spicy Thai soup

For our main course we shared: 06. Gaeng kiew wan gai @ £7.95 – green curry with chicken, aubergines, sweet basil 07. neua daad diew @ £8.50 – stir fried marinated beef with black pepper, oyster + dark sauce 08. tofu pud ped @ £6.95 – red curry 09. talay pud cha @ £11.95 – stir fried mixed seafood with ginger, aubergines, lemongrass etc in an aromatic sauce

06. Gaeng kiew wan gai – green curry with chicken

IMG_9340 07. Neua daad diew – beef with oyster sauce

08 and 09.Talay pud cha + tofu pud ped – seafood dish (near) + red curry with tofu (middle)

IMG_3100b_Orangegrass menu_001 Menu The verdict: totally impressed. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to South Shields. There’ll be tears if it doesn’t involve a return visit to Orangegrass.

Pub + food info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 7 Mount Terrace, South Shields, Tyne & Wear
~ Postcode: NE33 1PN
~ e:
~ Website + menus: Orangegrass website
~ Images photos on flickr
~ facebook: Orangegrass on fb
~ Location: Orangegrass map

RELATED LINKS More North East dining: ~ Bistro Romano – Cleadon Village ~ Cafe Bangla – Boldon ~ Clarence Villa – home of Sonnet 43 brewhouse ~ Colman’s fish + chips – award winning chippy on Ocean Road, South Shields ~ Orangegrass – top Thai

Orangegrass on Urbanspoon

Yum Yum – Pimlico

While it’s nice to order take-aways from tried-and-tested favourite restaurants, it’s also good to try something new from time to time. Last weekend we wanted Thai food in the Clapham area (Amazing Thai was closest and we’ve eaten there many times over the years; it’s good but slightly over-priced for small portions so we fancied a change). We decided to try out Pimlico-based Yum Yum instead.

Ordering online through Just Eat (a straight-forward, reliable process) we chose tod mun Thai fishcakes @ £4.90 and Tom Yum Thai soup @ £3.50 for starters (good fishcakes but the Tom Yum soup was so oily it had totally separated).

Tod mun – Thai fishcakes

Tom Yum – Thai soup – oily

K and I both love aromatic crispy duck pancakes. Yum Yum also does a crispy lamb variety @ £6.95 so we decided to try it (nice enough, the lamb was slightly tough, I’ll stick with duck in future).

Crispy lamb pancakes

For main course we shared squid sambal @ £5.99 and beef in black bean sauce @ £5.80 with an egg fried rice @ £2.99 and vegetable nasi goreng @ £5.00.

Squid sambal + beef in black bean sauce

The sambal and nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) weren’t a patch on Nancy Lam’s (the squid wasn’t as tender as it could have been, and there was too much chilli in the sambal sauce making it overly fiery) but were enjoyable enough all the same.

Yum Yum positions itself as Chinese (they do a range of dim sum) but the menu offers as much Thai and Malaysian food too.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Thai, Malaysian, Chinese
~ Address: 28 Denbigh Street, Pimlico, London
~ Postcode: SW1V 2ER
~ Nearest station: Pimlico
~ Website + menus: Yum Yum website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Yum Yum food
~ Location: Yum Yum map


More Pimlico dining:
~ Pimlico Fresh
~ Seafresh
~ Taquitos Mexican Grill

Yum Yum on Urbanspoon

Goulston Street food court

20140130_Raining at GoulstonStreetFoodCourt
Rain. Rain. Rain.


It may have rained all week but it’s Friday, it’s lunchtime and Goulston Street food court is just around the corner. So all is well. Among the international ‘street food’ stalls here in East London (near Petticoat Lane/Middlesex Street), there’s something for everyone. I’m gradually working my way around all the stalls (on different days, of course!) and haven’t been disappointed yet.


Food stalls: Moroccan spiced fish, Lebanese falafel + Satay Bangkok


01. Lebanese falafel The first stall you come to, if approaching from Whitechapel High Street, is – I find – hard to resist. It’s worth stopping just to watch the happy chappies there assemble wraps at super-sonic speed. And they still find time to give you bits of deep fried falafel to munch, to keep you happy while you wait. It’s £3.00 for a medium size wrap which is stuffed full of falafel (of course), salad, pickles, humous, chilli sauce (if you want it) and even a few chips (a bit odd but again – only if you want it). This is a filling – and fairly well balanced – meal for me. It’s flavoursome, fresh, spicy and totally amazing.

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Falafel wrap – so dense it stands up on its own


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Sunny sometimes at Goulston Street Food Court – falafel making


02. Moroccan fish At the 3 habibis stall, a spicy fillet of fish is griddled fresh in front of you. Choose your selection of vegetables and either rice or a wrap to go with it. All for only £4.50. Just divine.


Moroccan fish with rice + veg @ £4.50

03. Satay Bangkok The chicken in the chicken satay is so tender it’s as if it’s been slow cooked for hours (perhaps it has, in their industrial size woks?). Served with a smooth, peanutty sauce and a side salad at only £4.50 this is great value for such a tasty meal.


Satay chicken – really tender, served with rice and side salad


04. Thai Tasty Takeaway
Choose from the suggested dishes pictured around the serving hatch (or you can go off-menu) and watch fresh ingredients being cooked to order right in front of you.

Individually cooked Thai dishes served at Thai Tasty Takeaway

The spicy (eye-wateringly so) tofu Thai red curry is excellent value @ £4.50 and  contains sweet basil, red and green peppers, peas, bamboo shoots and mixed veggies (carrots, mange tout, cauliflower and/or broccoli) cooked in coconut milk. Excellent.

Tofu Thai red curry @ £4.50

IMG_2367_Chicken Thai Green Curry
Chicken green curry

IMG_2370_Yellow massaman curry
Yellow massaman curry


Other stalls include Japanese katsu, Beijing dim yum, Jordanian rice and meat dishes, and more. Very, very good – check it out.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: international
~ Address: Goulston Street, London
~ Postcode: E1
~ Nearest stations: Aldgate East, Aldgate
~ Photos on flickr: images of Goulston Street food court
~ Location: Goulston Street food court


Nearby street food markets:
~ Goulston Street food court
~ KERB at Spitalfields
~ World Food Market at Devonshire Square