Thai Square is this year’s winner of two British Restaurant Awards, namely ‘Best Restaurant Chain’ and ‘Best Hospitality Team’, and rightfully so . . .
– FIRST IMPRESSIONS –
After a mini trek from a very exciting meeting (we’ve got big things coming up watch this space) we got to Thai Square.
The Putney Bridge branch is located right next to the Thames. As we were walking up to the restaurant, we could notice this riverside location reflected in the unique exterior of the building, which resembled a ship with metal beams and tall-glazed windows. It is no surprise that this nautical beast has won numerous architectural awards from the Royal Institute of Architecture, the American Institute of Architecture, and Wandsworth Corporation.
Inside, the detailed and delicate flower displays and traditional Thai music humming in the background made us feel as though we had been teleported to Thailand. Growing up in Malaysia where Thailand was Siobhan’s family’s favourite holiday destination, the ambience and character of the restaurant accompanied by the friendliness of all staff made her very nostalgic.
As we walked into the private room, we were greeted by a long table, and sat atop it were fruit centrepieces which made us drool at first glance. At the end of the room, the carved fruits and vegetables were lined up merrily along a yet another long-ass table, looking absolutely stunning and bloody hard to carve. Jesus, take the wheel and help us not cut off a finger.
On arrival we were handed some delicious pandan leaf and lemongrass iced tea, which we enjoyed with lots of giggles. We then met the head chef, Oula, who was such a bubbly and lovely woman. She introduced us to one of her many talents, which also happens to be a Thai tradition since the Sukhothai dynasty: Vegetable Carving. The detail and precision of all carvings presented was incredible – Oula said it took her only 45 minutes to carve out an entire watermelon (lol it would take us 5 weeks).
– THE VEGETABLE CARVING –
This part of the evening started with Chef Oula’s demonstration. After a cut here, and a slice there, with her knife as sharp as our wit, she made a rose emerge from the melon and we were shooketh.
Like, how does she make it look so easy?
Where do I sell my soul to possess such powers?
Knives at the ready, it was now our turn to get our hands dirty and have a go at carving. With our limbs intact but our self-esteem shattered, we pushed through and eventually managed to carve out some “flowers” and some “leaves”. We then painted butterfly radishes using food dye, during which Oula told us how she colours them to match the arrangement, contributing to the beautiful pieces of edible art pictured above. (You can see our loser radishes in the video we have embedded at the bottom of this post.)
Now, may we please refer you to the photo of the cucumber leaves just up there to the right. Yes indeed yes we carved those yes we are talented. We now take orders and cater weddings and birthdays. You’re welcome.
– THE MEAL –
After the vegetable carving, we were taken upstairs where we were to have our meal, and the seats offered us the most stunning panoramic views of the sun setting over the river. If you are looking for romance, Thai Square is the right place.
After a few minutes of admiring the picturesque view, we sat ourselves down and looked through the vegetarian menu for the night. Now, we know we give a lot of crap to vegan lifestyles but we do have a deep-rooted appreciation for the movement (Cowspiracy almost changed our lives). Also, we do know that being vegan/vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to compromise on great taste, and this meal showed us just that.
We were served a platter of sexy starters and boy were they good. The Som Tum (Papaya Salad) was zesty and fresh, which helped us cleanse our palette and prep us for the abundance of fried and baked goodies to follow. The golden purses were crisped to perfection and even though they lacked the usual shrimp/crab meat filling they did NOT lack in flavour! These were accompanied by the most heavenly plum sauce, which added a sweet kick to the dish placing it all the way up.
The vegetable spring rolls were some of the longest we’d ever seen and filled to the brim with lots of veggies. These spring rolls were genuinely some of the best we’d ever had so if you are yet to try them you better head to Thai Square ASAP! We decided to break up the fried food streak with some fresh summer rolls, which were rice paper wrappers filled with vermicelli noodles, carrots, cucumber, herbs and served with a sweet coriander chilli dipping sauce.
Our favourite of the night though would have to be the corn cakes. The cakes were fried until golden brown and were glistening, enticing us to dig in. Although they weren’t the most delicately presented/visually appealing item on the plate, they were definitely the starter that packed the biggest, most unexpected punch. Next time we won’t judge something based on its appearance, as looks can be deceiving.
Then arrived the mains. There was so much food yet so little space on the table, so each dish was placed down like a new puzzle piece. The smells were deep and exotic, and the spices were tickling our noses as well as our fancy. We couldn’t wait to dig in.
The Vegetarian Thai Green Curry combined with the brown rice was like an explosion in the mouth, with each bite being bigger and better than the one before. The tofu was fried and incredibly well-seasoned, which added that extra umami you would usually get from the chicken. The mixed vegetables as well as the aubergines were again impeccably prepared and seasoned, which added an extra somethin’ somethin’ to the meal when eaten with the curry.
Our standout candidate was the Eryngii Mushroom, battered and fried, prepared with chestnuts, cashew nuts, jujube, shallots & spring onion, and finally topped with a tamarind sauce. The fried outer shell was delicate and crisp, and the mushroom itself was bursting with flavour. Absolutely exquisite. This King Oyster ‘shroom is also the King of our palates.
After the huge meal above, we were stuffed. No way in hell could we eat any more.
Then this muted pink and lilac pot of goodness arrived. It looked nice enough, was quite pretty, went with our aesthetic. The smell was sweet, and we liked lychee… we were willing to give it a try, why not?
ATTENTION: THIS LYCHEE MOUSSE IS THE SOFTEST, LIGHTEST, MOST REFRESHING THING YOUR MOUTH IS EVER GOING TO HOST.
ATTENTION: GET IT.
ATTENTION: WHY U STILL HERE?
(What a groovy review. It was a groovy night. Keep reading tho pls. Cute vid coming up.)
– EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: OUR MVPS –
The golden purses
The corn cakes
The battered mushrooms
The green curry
The lychee mousse
Tanqueray No.10, Elderflower liqueur, Raspberry liqueur, Lychee juice
The Watermelon Mojito
Havana club 7yrs, Bols Strawberry, Watermelon syrup, Fresh Watermelon, Fresh mint and lime juice
Meet Robert Ngo – @YummyJubbly
We met Robert Ngo. He is an absolute legend and hands down one of the most charismatic people we know. Below is the video he made on his experience at this event. We even feature in it, so keep an eye out for Anna awkwardly holding up her painted radish . . .
Overall, we had a spectacular evening at Thai Square and can’t wait to visit the other 7 branches! Have you been to Thai Square? What are your opinions? Post them below!
A.M.A. & S.B.
Monday – Friday 12.00 – 15.00 – 18.00 – 23.00
Saturday 12.00 – 23.30
Sunday 12.00 – 22.30
Tel 020 8780 1811 Fax 020 7836 7600
2-4 Lower Richmond Rd, London SW15 1JN