Despite being on their Brewer Street site for a year already, I’d not heard of Janetira until they suddenly appeared everywhere on social media promoting their new ‘super Thai’ menu (or at least it was sudden to me). Curiosity had me visit the first time and that delicious meal had me go revisit twice more within a week!

It turned out that ‘super Thai’ was indeed super Thai, dishes that aren’t typically found in London. Over half the menu is dedicated to one dish meals. One such one dish meal is Tom yum seafood fried rice (£10) and when I saw that, I knew I had to have it. I’ve definitely not seen it elsewhere in the city and it’s terribly moreish – all the flavours of tom yum soup (and the seafood) all in fried rice. The seafood in it – prawn, squid and a good sized scallop – was all impressively fresh.

Tom Yum Seafood Fried Rice

Tamarind Eggs (£6.00?) or Son in Law Eggs were deep-fried hard-boiled eggs with a sweet and tangy sauce on top. I love the texture you get when deep frying hard boiled eggs though I cannot think of another cuisine that does this. Good stuff.

Son in Law Eggs

Their Pad Thai (£8.50) had a good number of large prawns scattered throughout and was delicious and well balanced in flavours. Interestingly, there’s an option to have this with glass noodles instead of the more usual flat rice noodles; I wonder how they’ll fare in this dish.

Pad Thai

On my second visit, we started by first splitting an excellent and not too spicy Prawn tom yum soup (£6.50)…

Prawn Tom Yum

… followed by bowls of Khao soi (£8.50), the Northern Thai curried noodle dish that I so terribly miss. It’s a good version here – lots of rich coconut milk resulting in a mild, creamy curry sauce, lots of noodles both boiled and fried for contrast, and lots of dark chicken meat. Squeeze in that lime and add plenty of pickled cabbage and raw red onion to balance out all that creaminess and you see that dark little dish of chilli oil just peeping out behind the bowl? Hot hot hot – gosh, it’s delicious stuff but do be cautious with it!

Khao Soi and its Trimmings

On our third visit, I had their Raad naa (£7), a simple dish of rice noodles, pork and vegetables in a yellow bean sauce. It was a most comforting bowl to slurp up with condiments (the usual Thai set of four) to add to your taste. I love Thai condiments and their condiment holders – if I recall correctly, here there was sugar, fish sauce, chilli powder and pickled chilli. Maybe there was chilli oil.  It’s a simple dish but one done well here.

Raad Na

Their new menu is indeed a good one and I think Janetira’s strength is in all those one-dish meals well that few Thai restaurants in London tackle. There are also regular dishes to have with rice but I prefer those one-dish meals when there’s just the two of us.

Janetira Eat Thai
28 Brewer St
London  W1F 0SR

Janetira on Urbanspoon

It took a couple of attempts but I’m finally happy with this recipe for khao kha moo, a Thai dish of braised pork leg on rice. This is apparently one of the most popular dishes in Thailand but I’ve only ever seen it once in London, at my local Thai restaurant and it was only a special that day. I haven’t seen it since.

Khao Kha Moo

Luckily, it’s very easy to make at home. All that’s needed is time and all the spices in your kitchen cupboards. The pork leg (I used a hock) is quite an economical cut too. Do keep the skin on your pork hock – it has a great texture after all that braising. Some recipes online have you fry your pork hock first but I don’t bother to keep things easier and it turns out just fine. Do serve this with lots of white rice and either a boiled green vegetable (I boiled up some spring greens) or pickled vegetable to have on the side. And the sauce isn’t optional – its strong garlicky tang helps cut through the richness of the pork.

Braised Pork Leg

Khao Kha Moo
serves 2-3.

1 pork hock (approx 800-1000g)
6 cups water
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark thick sweet soy sauce
1 large chunk rock sugar
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp five spice
6 black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
4-5 sprigs coriander
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

for the sauce
3 cloves garlic
1 large green chili
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsps rice vinegar

to serve
cooked white rice
boiled greens or pickled greens

Place the pork hock and all the braising ingredients into a large pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to leave it at a simmer and then half cover the pot and let it braise for at least 2 hours or until the pork is starting to fall off the bone.

Braised Pork Leg

In the meantime, blend together the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

When the pork hock is tender, remove it from its braising liquid and let cool enough to handle. Slice the meat (and the skin too!) and plate with the rice and greens, pouring some of the braising liquid over. Serve the sauce on the side.

I’ve been eating a lot of Thai food recently! I recently met Rahul and Marco for lunch at Chaam Thai in Fulham; thanks for organising it, Rahul. He frequents the restaurant quite often and it was he who vouched for its lunch menu. Due to its slightly odd location in Fulham (it feels like it’s in no man’s land across from the Waitrose), it was quite empty during our lunch – I do hope it’s doing well though as our meal was quite good. This lunch certainly made up for a recent disappointing Vietnamese dinner I had at Me Me nearby.

We ordered a few starters first to shut up our grumbling tummies – some well fried vegetable spring rolls…

Starters

…and a chiang mai sausage (homemade with thai curry paste, shredded lime leaves and pork). The sausage was a real winner with a good balance of flavours; it would make for a fantastic snack if someone were to sell it as one. Actually, we ordered it twice – two sausages are better than one (wait, that sounds wrong…)!

Chiang Mai Sausage

We each selected a main course from the lunch menu; the lunch deals are quite good, starting at £5 for the vegetarian options and only a couple of pounds more for the addition of various meats. There are both noodles and dishes with rice options. First to arrive was the kao soi, a northern Thai noodle dish that I’d never seen in London before – it’s a large bowl of egg noodles and chicken in a yellow curry soup with crispy fried noodles on top and served with preserved cabbage, shallots, coriander, and lime on the side. While not reaching the heady heights of the kao soi I had in Chiang Mai, it was still a tasty soupy treat for lunch.

Kao Soi

The kheang kuah saibalot bet, a coconut milk rich red curry with roast duck and pineapple, arrived next. This was alright, nothing particularly special about it though I know that sometimes a coconutty curry can really hit the spot.

Kheang Kuah Saibalot Bet

Our final main was the neau nam prik pao, beef slices fried with a hot and sweet Thai chilli paste (the nam prik pao). I quite enjoyed this.

Neau Nam Prik Pao

I wanted to balance the meal a bit with a salad and as they were out of our first choice of som tam, we ordered their popcorn chicken salad instead. What arrived was something only a fool would order to be healthy (whoops)! Battered bits of chicken were tossed together with cherry tomatoes and lots of crunchy fried cashews all bound together with a delicious chilli dressing – not at all diet food and unsurprisingly, it was utterly fantastic.

Popcorn Chicken Salad

For all this food, we paid about £45 in total for the three of us but keep in mind that we totally overordered; what we ordered could easily have fed 4-5 for lunch. One of the lunch deals (a one bowl or plate meal) would definitely be enough for one – we were just very greedy that day.  The a la carte menu at dinner appears to be the same but the dishes don’t have rice included and I may be incorrect but the prices appear to be a little higher. There’s a rumour that there may be a secret Thai menu (I don’t like secret menus – everyone should be offered everything available) but this hasn’t been verified yet. If you do know of one, do let us know please!

Chaam Thai Eatery
461-465 North End Road
London SW6 1NZ

Chaam Thai Eatery on Urbanspoon

Want even more Thai food? Selfridges is running a Senses of Thailand promotion in its food hall and selected restaurants for approximately two weeks, until July 30. I attended the launch of the event last week and sampled some of the treats from food stalls manned by Thai restaurants in London as well as the Thai menu offered by Nahm at the oyster bar. Samples that stood out for me were the mieng kham (a betel leaf parcel of nuts, dried shrimp, chilli, shallots and lime), the fruit with som tam dressing, and the green curry ice cream – all dishes I’ve not encountered in Thai restaurants here. They’ve got quite a few Thai products in stock too. All my photos from the event can be found in this Flickr photoset.

It’s been years since I returned to eat at Addie’s Thai (I remember it as Addie’s Thai Cafe and I only just noticed the dropping of the Cafe when I looked up its website) in Earl’s Court. I used to live in the area (getting quite a few takeaways from Addie’s) and every time I go back, I’m always surprised to see all the changes in the are, especially regarding new cafes and restaurants. Blai and I found ourselves meeting there one evening and visited the restaurant again for old times sake.

That Wednesday night, the place was packed and we only just managed to get a table for two without a booking. It’s clear that the restaurant remains popular. To start, we got a couple of drinks – both variants based on Thai tea, one with lemon and the other with milk. Both lovely.

Thai Iced Teas

Blai had to have his favourite Pad Thai (£6.95, with pork) which was beautifully presented under a lacy omelette veil. It was very good and had well-balanced flavours though the pork we ordered it with was a bit tough.

Pad Thai with Pork

I didn’t feel like having dishes with rice so I ordered another one dish meal, the Pineapple Fried Rice (£6.95, with chicken). The rice had been fried with a red curry paste and chunks of chicken and fresh pineapple. It was very moreish; I love spicy curried fried rice.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken

After seeing the Curry Soft Shell Crab (£12.95) on The Skinny Bib, I knew I had to try it! A couple of battered and deep-fried soft shell crabs sat on a pile of stir fried peppers and onions bound together with yellow curried soft scrambled eggs. The curried egg base was savoury and luscious but unfortunately, the crab was flavourless, making it, well, a very expensive egg dish.

Curry Soft Shell Crab

I couldn’t stop there – I needed a vegetable too and so ordered the Morning Glory Stir Fry (£5.95). This was probably the best dish on the table as it was stir fried perfectly and tasted gorgeous with a lovely light smoky wok flavour. Whoever’s on the wok in the kitchen can definitely stir fry very well.

Morning Glory Stir Fry

We somehow still found space for dessert and so split a Pandan pancake with custard filling (£3.50). Unfortunately, this wasn’t very good as it had a strange grainy texture and though sweet, it left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste.

Pandan Pancake with Custard Filling

Overall, it was great to see that Addie’s is still a good Thai restaurant after all these years. A couple of things may not have worked at our dinner and sure, dessert definitely needs improving, but there was certainly promise there. It’s certainly one to check out if you’re in the area.

Addie’s Thai
121 Earls Court Road
London SW5 9RL

Addie's Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon

Last Thursday, The Skinny Bib met Ann, the Gourmet Traveller and me at The Heron near Edgware Road to eat excellent Thai food. On first glance, this pub looked like any old man’s boozer but on closer inspection, there’s a menu of Thai food pasted next to the door. But this menu of traditional favourites was not what we were here for – we were heading downstairs, where the writing on the menu is Thai and so are the customers. Thank goodness for The Skinny Bib – he took charge of ordering and I think we did a pretty good job sampling what they had to offer!

I arrived late and so examined the room after I’d settled into my seat. The restaurant is tiny (I reckon it can seat 20 people) and is festooned with lights and a disco ball. And you can’t miss the two large flat screen TVs constantly playing Thai music videos. Karaoke is available while you eat but you’d be sharing your voice with the entire room; we weren’t regaled with any singing that night but do keep in mind that you might be serenaded during your meal.

First of our dishes to arrive was a suki ta lay haeng, a dry seafood suki yaki. This was our only noodle dish, a dry version of the Thai version of the original Japanese dish. Mung bean vermicelli was stir fried with seafood in a tangy sauce. It was very moreish.

Dry Seafood Suki Yaki

A yum pla duk fuu, or crispy catfish salad, was incredible – if just presented with it, you’d be hard pressed to guess it was fish. The catfish had been transformed into a light crispy cloud and was topped with fried peanuts, shallots and fresh coriander. With the hot and sweet sauce on the side, this was just fantastic.

Crispy Catfish Salad

I thought I’d tried the full colour spectrum of Thai curries – green, red, yellow – but had no idea that an orange one existed! The kaeng som goong cha om tod kai, a sour orange curry with prawns and pieces of omelette with cha om, a new vegetable to me. This was highly addictive and I found myself drinking the thin but flavourful curry straight up after all the goodies had been fished out. If you’re familiar with a jungle curry, this was slightly thicker and didn’t have any coconut milk in it.

Sour Orange Curry with Prawns and Omelette

A plate of kai yiew mar kra pow krob was a mixture of fried century eggs and minced pork. We were told that there should be crispy holy basil on top but they had run out. It was still good without it though – I’d never come across fried century eggs before!

Fried Century Eggs and Minced Pork

I was particularly excited to try the sai oua, a smoky Northern Thai pork sausage, as I was looking for a particular sausage I’d had in Chiang Mai. While this one wasn’t exactly the same, it was still delicious with all its chilli and spices and smokiness. Did I mention that chilli? This was probably the hottest dish on the table!

Smoky Northern Thai Pork Sausage

A larb moo, a minced pork salad, was quite mild in comparison to the other dishes.

Pork Larb

Another salad – this time a som tam with large poached prawns scattered in between the shreds of green papaya. By default, everything seems to be spiced in the Thai way – hot! I munched on a chilli from the som tam and was in tears for a bit.

Som Tam with Prawns

A plate of stir fried kai lan with oyster didn’t escape the chillies either – large sliced red ones had been stir fried with them.

Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce and Chillies

For the four of us, we had these eight dishes, both sticky and steamed rice, and a large bottle of water and with service it came to £25 each. We certainly pushed the boat out with the number of dishes we had – I’d say we overdid it by 2 dishes! But how delicious it all was and I will certainly return, especially to explore the one dish meals on the menu. Thank you again, Skinny Bib! He is hoping to translate the menu soon – watch his blog post for this.

The Heron
Norfolk Crescent
London W2 2DN

Heron on Urbanspoon

If you’ve been to Singapore before or are a resident there, the words Orchard Towers may bring out a snicker or a smirk from you. If you’re a single male tourist travelling in a taxi in Singapore, your taxi driver might suggest that you visit Orchard Towers for the “pretty ladies” (it happened to my colleague). If you’re a single female traveller (or even a small group of women), I’d suggest that you look elsewhere rather than at the clubs at Orchard Towers for some nightlife. I won’t go into extensive explanations though when Wikipedia already does it so well. After the first meal that morning with Ivan, we were obviously comfortable enough with each other that he took us all here for a Thai meal that evening. This time we were joined by Cheryl of thebakerwhocooks, who made the fifth diner in our party.

If you take the escalators to the top floor of Orchard Towers, just outside the Crazy Horse club is Jane Thai, a small unassuming little eatery that would be our destination. We grabbed one of the tables situated outside the restaurant (but still within the mall) for a full view of the comings and goings at the club – a game of Girl or Guy? will naturally begin as the night progresses!

To drink? Well, a coconut please, just as I remember from Thailand. Coconuts are just as popular here in Singapore as in Thailand, it seems, and they all retail for $3 wherever you go. Good on them for including a spoon by default – no better way to get that soft flesh out after you drink all the water.

A Coconut to Drink

The food came out very soon after ordering. One of my favourite dishes was ordered – a beef with basil and chilli. I adore Thai basil and I love to see how this dish changes so subtly from restaurant to restaurant.

Beef with Basil and Chili

The showstopper on our table was the big flaming tureen of tom kha gai, the coconutty cousin of tom yum. This was a creamy and spicy soup with loads of chicken within – slurp!

Flaming Hot Tom Kha Gai

Fried prawn cakes were moist bouncy bundles in a crisp outer shell – I adored this and ate the one leftover on the plate.

Fried Prawn Cakes

The garlicky and peppery sausage was very Thai indeed though I wish it were like the very heavily spiced version I had in Chiang Mai and of which I still dream!

Garlicky Sausage

A classic dish, though I had no idea that it was also part of Thai cuisine. Bean sprouts are excellent when fried with bits of salted fish.

Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Our carbs came in the form of olive rice, a dark and savoury mixture which came with toasted cashews, sliced shallots, and sliced chillies on the side. When all mixed together, this was a ridiculously delicious dish that I would have happily eaten by itself. Does anyone know what kind of olives are used for this dish?

Olive Rice

I can’t remember much of this grilled squid; I do remember that it was tender. I think I was eating too much rice.

Grilled Squid

It was clear that there wasn’t enough food for all of us and Ivan proceeded to order some more. Another coconut milky delight awaited us in the green chicken curry – more soupy than a usual curry and rather than putting it on rice, we ladled it into soup bowls and drank it up.

Green Chicken Curry

Fried chicken wings will never be turned down. I have no idea what their technique is but Asians seem to have the art of frying a chicken wing down pat. No batter (any flour?) but the skin on these was still gorgeously crisp. Once again, I think I ate more than my fair share…

Fried Chicken Wings

The long beans were fine, nothing special. They were stir fried with some garlic and oyster sauce.

Long Beans

Finally, at the end of this long line of dishes, was this grilled pork neck. I absolutely adore this dish (this cut is so tender when grilled) but thought that the sauce lacked the usual fiery punch I was used to.

Grilled Pork Neck

The grand total for the five of us was $160 – or about £80 (I think we had two of the olive rice and quite a few drinks). Not as cheap as hawker food but we did plough our way through quite a few dishes. And really, you can’t put a price on the visual entertainment on offer!

If your hotel is located along Orchard Road and you’re looking for some late night eats and the draw of the multiple  24 hour McDonalds and Starbucks somehow eludes you, may I suggest Jane Thai? We actually returned the next day for late night drinks and excellent chicken scratchings. I do believe they’re open until at least 2am each day.

Jane Thai
400 Orchard Road
Orchard Towers, #04-30
Singapore

When I’m feeling particularly tired or lazy to cook (and yes, I’m writing about somewhere local as I just haven’t had time to go out further to eat!), we do turn to one of our local restaurants (we’re quite lucky to have a number of excellent little places near us) which almost always guarantees a great meal at a reasonable price – so convenient. One of our local gems that we’ve often turned to recently is Pinto Thai Kitchen in Acton on the Uxbridge Road. Pinto is the name of Thai stacking lunchboxes – imagine an Indian tiffin and you’re not far off – as well as slang for a mother and wife who provides the good eating. And there’s certainly good eating to be had there. We’ve visited quite often now so this post will be made up of dishes we’ve had over a number of dinners (I’ve been sitting on this post for a while as you can see!).

On our most recent visit, we pushed the boat out and ordered starters, something we rarely do at Thai restaurants, usually just aiming straight for the main event. Their fish cakes and fried calamari are both gorgeous: the former are lovely little fishy spicy pucks while the calamari is tender and well fried. Both don’t exhibit that over-rubberiness that’s common in inferior versions. We’ve had their steamed pork and prawn dumplings for takeaway too and its generous topping of fried garlic and the accompanying dipping sauce of sweet thick soy have combined together with the meaty homemade dumpling to one of the tastiest I’ve ever encountered.

Thai Fish Cakes

Fried Calamari

We both adore Thai salads and Pinto’s som tam almost always finds its way to our table. There’s lots of chili in their tangy spicy dressing and hooray for green papaya! I quite like their pork larb too but we haven’t had it in a while – not sure why.

Som Tam

Their curries come in a generous portions too – here’s their roast duck in red curry with fresh pineapple below. The curry sauce was just luscious with plenty of coconut milk and it went well with lots of sticky rice. Strangely, I’ve not ordered a lot of their stirfries – I’ve got to correct this.

Roast Duck Curry

When it comes to the one dish meals, my favourites are their Thai fried rice and their pad see ew (or if you’re up for a bit of heat – their pad kee mao). I saw a number of noodle soups on their blackboard of specials earlier this year but that gave way to a couple of different specials a month later; I’m keen for those to return as they sounded so delicious!

Thai Fried Rice

Pad See Ew

Blai’s more of a pad Thai guy though and theirs isn’t too bad. We usually order it with pork. We like pork.

Pad Thai

What I love about this Thai restaurant is that desserts don’t take a back seat. There are a number of bought-in chocolate thingamajigs and ice cream thingamabobs but we always stick to the more traditional offerings. Banana fritters are warm chunks of the fruit in a light, crispy batter, served with vanilla ice cream – and one portion is just enough for two to share, I reckon. A more recent special of a Thai custard turned out to be delicious baked heart-shaped cakes with a very familiar flavour that I just couldn’t put my finger on – was it mung bean?

Banana Fritters

Thai Baked Custard

I’ve always felt that London really has its share of excellent Thai restaurants and Pinto Thai Kitchen is one of them. Perhaps it’s a little far out of the centre to appeal to anyone but if you’re nearby in West London, it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s quite popular and is BYO too. The waitresses are friendly and more often than not, there’s a group or two of Thai diners inside – always a good sign, I reckon. As to the cost, it’ll be anywhere from a ten to twenty pounds a head – it just depends on how greedy you are!

All the photos I’ve ever taken at Pinto Thai Kitchen can be seen here on Flickr.

Pinto Thai Kitchen
46 High Street
Acton
London W3 6LG

Pinto Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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