There are only two Thai restaurants that I go to in London. That’s not to say that they are the best, but they are very good and consistently so. I mean, there are a serious number of dodgy Thai places in L-town, some that don’t even serve dessert *blasphemy!* and others whose service varies so dramatically that it gives me whiplash.
There’s no secret that my very very most favouritest Thai is Siam Central on Charlotte St. Not once have I had a sub-standard meal there and everyone I’ve brought has been duly converted. We are the believers. Now, Siam Central is uber convenient for me, because it’s like two minutes from my apartment. So that’s all good, but what do I do when I’m at work?!
Well. The answer, my friends, blew to me quite literally in the wind, and it whispered ever so enticingly… “Thai 33, baby”.
Ok so the leaflet didn’t say baby, but it did say something about Thai on Old Bailey and having a disproportionate lack of Asian around where I work (Wagamama don’t count), I jumped at the opportunity, ate at Thai 33 and have pretty much been in weekday-love with it since.
And that was almost two years ago.
One thing I love about Thai 33 is that bona fide barely-speaks-English Thai people work there. The little man is especially cute and he hovered, ever so curious (and partially worried, no doubt) when three food bloggers descended upon his little establishment one Friday afternoon. It’s completely normal for us, but for him to see Kang whip out his large, well-oiled machine and flop it on the table is a scary sight, and Mark, well he had a blackberry camera, but it’s not the size that matters, right? Right.
Another thing I love about Thai 33 is the spicy prawn crackers they serve up for you to nibble on as you peruse the menu. Ok fine, that’s not really the second thing I love about them, but it does make me happy. What I actually meant to say was that I love their simple menu. It’s not fancy, it’s not fusion, it’s not different, but it’s good.
They have all the standard fare ~ pad thai, curries, spicy beef salads and stir fries with holy basil. And in my opinion, it’s all fresh, tasty and quite authentic as far as Thai in London goes. I’m usually pretty predictable and do the pad thai, curry and rice combo but the boys pushed my boundaries and ordered a ped ma kam (thai style roast duck with tamarind sauce) which, despite the layer of fat expected on anything ducky, was really effing good. Sweet, tangy, savoury all rolled into one joyous slab of duck meat.
We also ordered the hoh mok pla (steamed cod fillets cooked in a red curry paste and coconut milk with egg and thai herbs) which was steamed to a delicate and soggy perfection, and I use “soggy” in the most positive of ways, ok? I never was good at describing food, but soggy = good.
The only thing which I thought was meh last Friday? The yum pla muek (sliced squid blended with thai herbs, chilli and lemon juice). The squid itself was tender as a baby’s butt (not that I’ve ever eaten a baby, but I would presume their little bottoms are tender as they are smooth) but it was rather bland and tasteless and definitely not spicy, like we had hoped.
But don’t let one squidy disaster put you off. I’d highly recommend you check out Thai 33 ~ for its reasonable pricing, you even get a white table cloth and wine glasses… and if you’re not after a romantic meal with yourself, they also operate a take-out fascade two doors down ~ you’ll often find me here on weekdays, queuing for my tom kha gai soup with a serve of steamed rice.
Perfect for this impending doom winter.
33 Old Bailey
London, EC4M 7HS
0207 236 2440