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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

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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)

 

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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

 

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Menu 01 – starters and curry dishes

 

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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)

 

or

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

 

 
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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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

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).


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Tod mun – Thai fishcakes


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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).


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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.


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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


RELATED LINKS

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


Yum Yum on Urbanspoon

New Winner – Chinese delivery

It’s take-away time. The other night we decided to order a take-away and settled on Chinese for a change. Well, I say Chinese but New Winner’s menu is more Chinese-come-Thai-come-Asian-fusion.

Our Chinese banquet and carpet picnic began with:
~ Vegetarian spring rolls @ £1.90
~ Sesame prawn toast @ £4.10
~ Chicken satay on skewers with onion, cucumber + special satay sauce @ 4.20
~ Tod mun Thai fishcakes @ £4.30
~ Aromatic crispy duck (a quarter) with 6 pancakes, cucumber, spring onion, and hoi sin sauce @ £7.00


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Tod mun Thai fishcakes, seseame prawn toast, chicken satay


Chinese cuisine is possibly my least favourite but I do love crispy duck pancakes when done properly. And these didn’t disappoint (the duck was roasted and crispy with little trace of fat, pancakes were paper thin and light, and the hoi sin sauce was great). The tod mun fishcakes weren’t the best I’ve ever tasted but they weren’t bad by any means.


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Crispy duck pancakes – crispy, shredded duck with a great hoi sin sauce


For main course, K chose beef in black bean sauce with green peppers (tender beef stir fried in a special black bean paste with onion, pepper and carrot) @ £4.40 and mushroom egg fried rice @ £3.40, while I had vegetarian Thai green curry (stuffed full of crispy tofu, water chestnut, Chinese mushrooms, carrot and bamboo shoots) @ £3.80 with steamed white rice @ £2.20.


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Thai green curry with tofu + veggies


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Beef in black bean sauce + Thai green tofu curry


Haute cuisine this aint. But for a good value, convenient and *not overly unhealthy* Chinese delivery option, New Winner was a hit. We’ll order again, not frequently. But we’ll be back.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Chinese, Asian
~ Address: 278 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London
~ Postcode: SE13 6JZ
~ Tel: 020 8690 7614
~ Website + menus: New Winner website
~ Photos on flickr: images of New Winner food
~ Location: New Winner map
~ Delivery through: Just Eat


RELATED LINKS
More Lewisham Borough take-aways:
~ Catford Chippy
~ El Poco Mexico – eat in or take-away
~ FS2 – Turkish deliveries
~ Pide – Turkish pizza
~ Sapporo Ichiban – Japanese/sushi collections
~ Turkish Kitchen


New Winner Chinese & Thai on Urbanspoon

Momowich – Shoreditch

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Quaint back door entrance on Toynbee Street, Shoreditch


It’s only my second visit to Momo’wich. I’ve taken a late lunch break today and am pleased to see there are a few chairs free on this occasion so I can eat in.

As I approach the counter I’m served straight away and am asked what I’d like, “Perhaps something spicy? Try a sample of Malaysian chicken curry?”


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Selection of curries, noodles + rendang sandwiches


It’s pretty cold today. Something spicy sounds appealing, although – after the gorgeous Pad Thai I had on my last (and first) visit, I’d already got my eye on the beef rendang sandwich and tod mun fishcakes.

But I like to keep an open mind, and was persuaded by the hot and spicy taster. It had a real kick to it. One Malaysian chicken curry with salad it is.


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Malaysian chicken curry – hot and spicy @ £3.75


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Pad Thai – £3.95 for this ‘medium’ portion (it’s £5.50 for a large)


The Pad Thai here is also pretty special: fresh, hot noodles topped with ground peanuts and chilli sauce, and a bit of side salad. And a very reasonable portion for £3.95 that doesn’t over-face.


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Chicken green Thai curry – 1/2 portion @ £3.75


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Beef rendang with rice + salad – large portion @ £5.50


An outstanding little cafe, even by Shoreditch’s high standards.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai, Malaysian
~ Address: 75 Commercial Street, Shoreditch, London
~ Postcode: E1 6BD
~ Tel: 020 7377 6409
~ Nearest stations: Aldgate, Aldgate East, Shoreditch
~ Website + menus: Momo’wich website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Momo’wich food
~ facebook page: Momo’wich facebook page
~ Location: Momo’wich map


RELATED LINKS
More Shoreditch dining:
~ Fora – Mediterranean restaurant, City branch
~ Kastner & Ovens – great salad selection
~ Mama Thai – Indian + Thai take-away curries + noodles
~ Pizza Union – stonebaked pizza, Spitalfields


Momo'wich on Urbanspoon