After a devastating flood forced it to close for 11 months this popular Thai restaurant has now re-opened – re-furbished and re-energised. Peter Morrell and his wife pay a visit
In December 2016 a water main burst outside Thai Square, it was so severe that it forced the restaurant to close. Now 11 months later it has re-opened after extensive renovation. There is now dining space on the ground floor and upstairs a new late-night cocktail bar and space for a live band. The new décor is very stylish with a large ‘living wall’ reflecting the forests of Thailand and paintings by artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo and others.
The closure has certainly not dented the popularity of the restaurant, on the night we were there it was packed with smart diners which gave the atmosphere a real buzz.
To mark the re-opening new food and cocktail menus have been created. The cocktails have been curated by mixologist Chertchai Banjongrak and have a decidedly Thai twist, the Bangkok Dangerous is a good example.
The upper level offers a bar menu while the ground floor where we ate serves the full a la carte. We sipped on Singha beer which showed good malt and hop flavours as we looked at the menu. It has lots of classifications, starters, curries, seafood, grilled, noodles and a number of vegetarian sections. It’s worth taking your time ordering as there are so many appetising choices.
To give ourselves the opportunity to try a number of dishes we had the mixed starter. This was a combo of vegetable spring rolls, chicken satay, Thai dumplings, butterfly prawns and chicken and prawn on toast. Beautifully presented it all tasted delicious.
The dumplings had a good texture and were very tasty, the prawns had lots of flavour and the marinade on the satay had flavour fireworks going off in the mouth. It was a great start to the meal.
The mains had been very difficult to choose as there were so many tempting things on the menu. Our final selection was the drunken duck, a Massaman curry, a pork dish kor moo yang and pad tang tak noodles.
The duck was roasted with chilli, peppers and basil leaves before being stir fried and given a shot of whisky as a finishing touch. It had powerful flavours with a punchy chilli background and was a good choice. The Massaman curry, originating from the south of Thailand, was altogether a more calming and delicate dish. We had it with chicken which was cooked with carrots, onions and potatoes in coconut milk and flavoured with a mild and aromatic Massaman curry paste. This was an interesting contrast to the duck.
The pad tang tak was stir fried eggs noodles with, bean sprouts, spring onions and a range of baby vegetables dressed with light soya sauce, it was fresh and uplifting. I’ve saved the best until last, the kor moo yang. This was a sensation, marinated slices of pork had been flame char grilled which gave it an incredible smokey character. The final embellishment was a Thai spicy sauce on the side to dip the meat in before savouring its full richness, it was unique.
The wine list is quite short with whites being primarily new world and the reds old world. Our wine pairing for the evening was new, new world, the award winning Monsoon Valley Colombard which was produced in Thailand. This white wine was not a million miles away from a sauvignon blanc. There were gooseberry and tropical aromas in the bouquet which developed into slightly sweet fruitiness on the palate with a lively acidity that made it a perfect match for the spiciness of the food. The finish was bright and persistent.
The dessert menu had a pan-Asian flavour to it with treats like a pandan waffle and ginger crème brulee, but we were so full that we shared a scoop each of salted caramel and coconut ice cream which was satisfyingly creamy.
The dining experience had been excellent, the atmosphere was buzzy and relaxed, the décor was impressive and the service team were all delightful. The new menu offers a wide range of dishes which are a vibrant combination of tastes, flavours and textures
After a difficult 11 months it’s heartening to see Thai Square in Islington re-opened and thriving.
If you are not near Islington take a look at the website below for more Thai Square locations.
347-349 Upper St
London N1 0PD
020 7704 2000