Thai River (Fitzrovia)
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Although entering an empty restaurant, Thai River was arranged nicely so you do not feel the emptiness. Decorated with reds, comfy chairs, wooden tables and dimmed lighting it was did hold a relaxing atmosphere. As we entered the waiting staff were already standing at the front ready to serve us. They actually became too attentive and became a distraction watching our every move but still very friendly and efficient.
For the first time we decided to venture out beyond the typical curries and order something with a different. For starters I gave their Kanom Jeep described as pork, crab and prawn dumplings a try to compare with it the chinese Siu Mai. However we tasted none of the seafood described and just the pork which lowered the texture of the filling. The pork definitely needed more flavour & texture but everything was seasoned fine. The wonton pastry was good though, perfectly steamed. The plum sauce was also a very good dip with a slight sweetness & not too salty to go with the dumpling. Just a shame about the quality of the filling.
Next came the Tod Mon Pla described as deep-fried ground fish which was a bit coarse and gritty for my liking but very flavoursome indeed. The flavours & quality was what was lacking in the dumpling and you can taste the lime leaves and all the different herbs and seasoning in there. Also a nice light soy dipping to go with it.
Soon came the mains and the deep fried black Tilapia to start. It was fried perfectly till crisp yet still moist enough inside, seasoned well. What disappointed me most is that they can cook but then ruin the dish with generic supermarket bottle sweet chilli sauce which wasn't for our taste buds. Otherwise it would have been a very well cooked dish.
The confit of duck was flavoured nicely but lacked moisture and therefore was not as tender as it could have been which was a shame. It ended up quite chewy in strands. Listing it on the chef's recommendation at £10.95 made it even more disappointing.
For sides we got a fine portion of sticky rice. Although I found it weird having it served in a bag but looking around I found they're not the only Thai restaurant that serves it that way. Still I found the portion very small, nearly 1/3 off compared to the portion of the egg-fried rice. The egg-fried rice was also not the Thai fragrant rice I was expecting but the long grain type.
Other than the sticky rice the portions were very generous and all presented beautifully and vividly with a side of lettuce and other veg. It gave quite a tropical feel. Service was very attentive or shall I say too attentive. It was as if they were waiting to take your plates away which was what happened with our mains before I actually finished.
The chef definitely can cook here with food seasoned and cooked well. However it is definitely not authentic Thai food as they use a lot of pre-made sauces which made this meal quite forgettable.
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Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6
Tuesday, March 20, 2012