We love Thai food. So as we approached Thai Square in Covent Garden our tummies were growling and our mouths were watering. Walking through the entrance we were hit by the aromatic smell of fish sauce- possibly a little off putting for some, but not for us. Secondly we noticed how many Thai locals were dining in the restaurant- a sure-fire sign that we were in for an authentic Thai dining experience and a delicious night of food.
With high hopes, we took a seat at a table nestled in the corner. The attentive staff asked us if we would like to start with a cocktail and we quickly accepted the offer. As we perused the cocktail menu I glanced around the restaurant that seemed to expand before my eyes. What initially seemed like a small quaint restaurant was actually in fact a rather large banqueting space decorated with a fusion of beautifully welcoming European-Thai décor with pops of red a gold hues. A long table of roughly 20 people filled the space with chitter-chatter and laughter. Distracted by the Thai celebration on the table next to us, my date reminded me that we needed to select a cocktail from the menu. The cocktail menu was creative and used an array of exotic ingredients which made it hard to decide what to pick. Finally we both decided upon the ‘Crystal Ball’– a deliciously sweet treat with fresh lychee, fresh lemongrass, lemongrass infused vodka, ginger infused vodka, lychee liqueur, lime juice and sugar.
In order to get the full Thai foodie experience we decided to go for the platinum set menu which consisted of 4 mouth-watering courses (£36.50 per person-minimum 2 people). To start- Aromatic Duck in herbs served with floury steamed pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and a special Thai Square Hoisin sauce. Presented delicately on the plate like a work of modern art, the duck was moist and yet crisp and pulled apart like a dream. With sticky hoisin fingers we devoured every last piece on the plate. With one heavenly dish in the bag, we turned back to our set menu to see what delights would be arriving next.
Second course- Hoi Shell Rad Gang Kiew. The king scallops were presented delicately in a shell and topped with green curry sauce and garnished with lime leaves. Although it was only a small course it really did pack a spicy punch. The green Thai curry sauce was so fragrant and fiery that you would imagine that it would overpower the delicate flavour of a scallop but in fact it enhanced the deliciousness. Balance is paramount to Thai cooking, and chefs at Thai Square manage to juggle the complex interplay of all the flavour components; sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. Tongues burning, we ordered a bottle of white house wine before our main course.
From the set menu we had a choice of 4 main courses to pick from. I went for double duck and chose the Phed Makham- fried aromatic duck topped with a tart but sweet tamarind sauce. My date was so impressed by the scallop dish that he decided to go for stir friend prawns and scallops with asparagus in the chef’s special sauce. ‘Special Sauce’ is always a concerning description as it boasts no real information, however he informed me that it was delicious. With our eyes too big for our bellies we also ordered a few side dishes to accompany our mains. We went for the Pad Tang Tak which was stir fried noodles with vegetables and yet again, the famous ‘special sauce’. We also went for Pak Choy with, you guessed it, the ‘special sauce’. Both of which I might add were wonderful, if not a little similar in flavour. The set menu isn’t a must, they also offer a fairly comprehensive a la carte menu serving classic curries, stir fries and dishes like the ‘Drunken Duck’ served with chillies, long beans, peppers, basil leaves and a hint of whiskey, and a spicy steamed Seabass fillet cooked with lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, and chilli sauce served on a bed of seasonal vegetables.
Just as we started to find the energy to roll out of the restaurant we were reminded that desert was on its way! Thankfully desert was a fruit salad with coconut ice-cream- just about light enough for us to manage after our mega Thai food binge. As we were walking back to the tube we reflected on our meal- delicious, authentic and excellent value. If you were looking for somewhere to go for a causal date night then Thai Square would be ideal. And with 11 outposts spread across London, and two more (St Albans and Windsor) situated just outside they are easy to get to. Each location has its own unique character whilst still retaining the Thai Square feel with traditional décor and authentic food. No matter at which restaurant, diners can rest assured knowing that attentive and charming service and impeccable authentic Thai food will be waiting.
For more information please visit thaisq.com