Over the Easter holidays the Suda Restaurant and I crossed paths! Well, having popped down Slingsby Place to St. Martin's Courtyard during the Thai New Year celebrations it really caught my eye. Having a bit of the curiosity-killed-the-cat syndrome I took a sneaky peek inside and instantly knew that I had to review this restaurant. As you all know I adore all thing's Thai - Thai food, Thai Culture, Thai design so when finding this gem of a restaurant in this bit of metropolis oasis, my eyes lit up like a diamond in the sunlight.....Aaaaaaaaaah!
So having found some quiet down time, I took my partner-in-crime (and the lady who started me off on my blogging adventure) Josie of @shoestringcouture to join me on this culinary, Thai adventure. In all seriousness I have a passion for Thai food and have such an appreciation for the food & culture. Having visited Thailand two years ago I've found it hard to find an authentic London based Thai restaurant, which puts in the time, love and attention-to-detail in it's food and interior. Suda really does tick all the boxes in that instance. The interior is a juxtaposition between industrial chic and organic design. For example, these wooden stools below are just a dream and those bold hanging lights really to sit well together in the space. Although the interior palette is quite dark with chalky greys, cappuccino beige's and natural woods, there is an awful lot of light, which floods in, making the space feel open and spacious. We kicked off our journey with a Suda Passion cocktail and a Thai Pimm's. Intrigued by the Thai Pimm's? Think of the traditional pimm's, coupled with a mix of fresh Thai ginger, mint, holy basil, a splash of sliced orange, cucumbers and a dash of lemonade - so refreshing! I think I could get used to a Thai pimm's O'clock!
After a few delicious cocktails Vasan - the Manager walked us through the menu, which has a plethora of Thai dishes, all authentic, all brimming with tasty spices and flavours. Believe me, you'd want to try everything on the menu, but not wanting to be rolled out we went for the Pla Muek Tod Prig Klue (Thai Style Calamari), my favourite starter dish in any culinary language, served with chilli dipping sauce and the Pratad Pu Cha (Suda crab and chicken fire cracker). I love the fact that the food here tastes immensely fresh! Although the menu contains some traditional Thai dishes, just like the decor, there is great authenticity. Over the starter I began to take in the atmosphere. A nice, chilled vibe, not feeling a sense of being rush or hurried, this is a place where you'd want to come to escape the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden and the West End.
Suda is full of great design pointers with simple lighting, a simple layout and a soothing colour palette matched with a non stereotypical, oriental feel. Over a few Singha beers (the official Thai beer), we enjoyed Nua Nam Man Hoy (from central Bangkok, tenderloin beef in oyster sauce) with Pak Choy and Kao Mun (steamed coconut rice). My fashionista friend Josie raved about the Kra Prao Ped (also from central Bangkok, stir-fried duck in chilli and basil sauce) with Kao Phad Kai (wok-fried rice with eggs). Keeping my creative eye focused (although very hard to do at times when the food is this good), I really liked the sweet dishes our mains came in. Perfect size making it easy to share and position around the table. The good thing about this restaurant is that all the food is prepared and cooked by Thai chefs and must be cooked the traditional Thai way. In our dishes we had, massaman, green, red and yellow curry paste and spices used to create intense flavours.
If you're already full from reading my review or even getting your shoes on ready to head to Suda then wait one minute...if you must try anything else from this menu I must recommend the array of lush desserts. I'm not usually one to have a starter, main and dessert however, the food here is not to heavy or oily with makes room for indulging my sweet-tooth! A star starter was the Kao Niew I-Tim Ka-Ti (sticky rice and homemade coconut ice cream with condiments). This is one of the best ice cream combos I've tasted for a while. The mix of sweet sticky rice carefully blended with homemade coconut ice cream - Mmmmmmmm. Be sure to leave room for that! I ordered Gluay Hom Tod - Golden banana fritters with honey and sesame served with soft vanilla ice cream... extremely filling yet extremely yummy.
I like reviewing restaurants, not just to discover something new, but also to mix food with interior passion. With each and every review I do I always aim to give my honest and humble opinion without the cliched, lacklustre 'you must visit' line without any soul. Out of all my reviews this is a restaurant I would visit time and time again - hands down. No cliches, no strings, just great, simple design and amazing, original, authentic Thai food.
Suda Thai Cafe Restaurant, St Martin's Courtyard,
Off Upper St. Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9AB