101 Thai Kitchen, Hammersmith, London
|101 Thai Kitchen|
101 Thai Kitchen has long established a large following amongst the Thai community and beyond in London and deservedly so. It is not just the consistently good authentic Thai food, but also the good friendly service at good prices. Despite Mrs MNFS’s claim that it was the pink decor which attracted me to the restaurant, but the pleasant encounter we had at a Buddhist festival where the restaurant had a stall serving up some 600 som tums over the weekend! Their enthusiasm and friendliness made it clear that they had an interest for their food.
The restaurant is easy to spot on King Street in Hammersmith, being the building resplendent in pink. Not a garish pink, but shades of pink that are not hard on the eye.
|Food on the walls!|
The decor is welcoming with nice photos of the food on offer displayed on canvas. Not the usual bad photos of unappealing looking plates of food, but vibrant well-taken photos of great looking food that makes you want to try it.
The menu is extensive but is loyal to authentic Thai cuisine and is a real treat for those wanting to experience Thai food. Its authenticity is reflected in the fact that the Thai name is written first (I assume this is the case since my knowledge of Thai cannot even be written on a grain of rice!).
|All about 101|
The menu reveals the homely feel of the restaurant in the explanation of its philosophy and it is clear that its specialty is the som tum due to the region of Thailand that the people behind 101 Thai Kitchen originate from.
The outbreak of summer that we have enjoyed recently made the smoothies on offer appealing with a range of exotic fruits such as dragon fruit and rambutan. Feeling adventurous and exotic we went for the dragon fruit and rambutan, having never tried these as smoothies before.
|Rambutan and Dragon Fruit Smoothies (£2.25)|
The Dragon Fruit Smoothie was not too sweet and whilst being an acquired taste, it was pleasant. The Rambutan Smoothie was sweet and naturally very similar to lychee.
|So Many Som Tums|
|Spicy heaven in a bowl|
The som tum came with a reassuringly dark and rich sauce and a more than ample amount. This was very good som tum. In a nice traditional touch, it is served with a side plate of fresh vegetables and herbs.
The som tum was not as sweet as the one served up at Thai Garden Cafe but it was very yummy, with a nice heat. It was not as nutty but was packed with more papaya. It must be a regional preference but the som tum lacked the carrot found in the Thai Garden Cafe offering.
|Thai Som Tum (£6.25)|
Illustrating how even the basics can differ from restaurant to restaurant, the sticky rice was somewhat softer than the Thai Garden Cafe’s rice, which improved the dining experience as it was easier to enjoy the som tum.
|Sticky rice (£2.50)|
We were not too sure what to choose from the seafood selection and sought the advice of the waitresses. Special mention should be made of their level of service. Despite the place being busy to the extent that people were turned away, they were still happy to offer their advice based on what our preferences were. We went with the recommendation of the Fish Salad.
This was the first time that we had tried this dish and it was a fantastic recommendation. It is unlikely to be a dish that will attract many neutrals, being on paper a cold salad, but this is a wonderful dish packed with flavour. Crispy fried fish mixed with lovely amounts of mint, coriander and chili with a subtle undertone of lemongrass. The dressing is to die for being related to the som tum dressing in many ways. You really do not notice too much that it is a cold salad as it is a warming dish. With the amount of herbs it also has the feel of a mojito, with one getting the sensation of a mouthful of herbs!
|Fish Salad (£7.25)|
The dessert menu is refreshingly different with Thai desserts not offered by many other places. This is a real bonus for me as it expands knowledge of a cuisine which offers so much simplicity with flavour. Feeling like something warm, we opted for the Baked Taro Custard.
The custard came beautifully presented since it could quite easily look unappealing. The custard was sweet with the contrast provided by the fried shallots which had a mildly sweet onion taste. Many Thai desserts offer this sweet and savoury combination which is not to everyone’s liking but certainly challenges the palate as far as desserts are concerned. I enjoyed it but will hope to try the other desserts soon.
|Baked Taro Custard (4.00)|
As befitting a family run restaurant, 101 Thai Kitchen has a very nice and friendly atmosphere and service to match. I would recommend it highly and can see why it is immensely popular amongst Thai people and locals alike. Judging by the queues, I would also suggest booking in advance to avoid disappointment if you want great tasting Thai food.
|Service with a smile!|