Plaza Khao Gaeng
Much as the last few restaurants I have had been to have capacity issues, in that there is far too much, this place has the opposite problem. My dining companion and I appeared at Plaza Khao Gaeng and managed to squeeze into the last two seats in the entire restaurant, which looked like it could take about 30 covers at once. We were soon to find out that this popularity was for a reason.
This is our rather cramped dining table. We had about 30cm of depth to our table as we sat along the counter. That would pose problems as the food arrived. Or so that is my excuse for cramming down the food so quickly.
Cha yen, iced Thai black tea, with condensed milk. As my dining companion put her aspiration rather descriptively to the waiter “I want the orange drink”. This rather cryptic comment was immediately understood by the waiter who nodded and scuttled off. Costing a pretty penny but rather good as the deep taste of tea offset with sweet milk and ice. This was an ideal drink to quench the fires of the food.
Pik gai tord khamin deeplee, chicken wings with turmeric and long pepper. Succulent, crunchy and spicy, these were a delight. The only critique I had was that the drumlets were missing but that is probably a good thing otherwise I would have gobbled this all leaving no space for other things.
Pak bung fai daeng, stir fried morning glory, chilies, fermented soybeans. Fresh vegetables with a salty and spicy kick, delightful with jasmine rice. An excellent side dish.
Muu Hong, braised pork belly with spices and dark soy sauce. Deep tender flavour from the sauce, best enjoyed splashed generously over jasmine rice. Could have perhaps done with a slightly more generous portion of meat but I did end up eating most of the fat as it was that good.
Gung pad sator prik gaeng tai, tiger prawns with sator beans stir fried in southern curry paste. Excellent spicy prawns. These were hot, bringing a tear to my eye. Succulent prawns were balanced carefully so that their flavour did not disappear into the curry, so you could have sweet and meaty prawns with complex curry taste.
An interesting pot.
Khao hom mali mai, new season jasmine rice. This generous serving was definitely needed to mop up all the sauce.
Sometimes the old adage is right, if a restaurant is full of people that look like serious eaters determined to eat something good, perhaps it is. Much as I bemoan the lack of genuine Thai food in London, it seems that my cries of anguish have finally been answered. At a reasonable price (for today), you get more than reasonable Thai food. Dare I say, don’t tell your friends. It is difficult enough to get a seat as it is.
A quiet eating 8.5/10.
Lunch (1.5 courses) was GBP 25 excluding drinks and service.
103 – 105 New Oxford Street
London WC1A 1DB