So it’s technically in Stamford Brook not Hammersmith, but I really just wanted to mention ‘Hammertime’.
Dinner tonight with a few friends who have recently moved to London at the lovely 101 Thai Kitchen. First off, I need to say that I must really like a restaurant if I am willing to travel all the way across London for it. Actually I think there are very few restaurants that I make such a pilgrimige for (Sushi Hiro springs immediately to mind), and if you are doubting whether it’s worth making 2 tubes changes for, then most definately it is.
One of my main disappointments when moving to London was the noticable lack of authentic Thai restaurants about. Sydneysiders were blessed with a mass emergence of thai food in 90’s, so much so that even the standards of our local thai-down-the-road is really good. In London, places like Busaba Eat Thai rate as Time Out obvious choices and whilst good for a pre-out-on-the-town Thai fix, we were desperate for something with a bit more authenticity. One of my faviorite places to stalk down good food is the very reliable Chowhound food board, and all reviews were pointing towards 101 Thai Kitchen.
You know you are in a south-Asian restaurant when you are in 101. And if the bright pink walls don’t give it away, the blackboard thai menu or the thai tv in the background sure will. The staff at 101 are so lovely – you always see the same friendly faces and they are always more than happy to help you through the gigantic menu.
101 has always been synonomyis with producing an amazing Som Tum – the classic Thai green papaya salad and I love seeing a whole page full of variatons.
I absolutely love the pieces of pork cracking in the basket of lettuce/cucumber/carrots that each table is given. Yes I know totally unhealthy, but really delicious and perfect way to give a different texture to any dish.
Unfortunately our meal took a bit too much time to come out the kitchen. I guess you know you have waited a bit too long when your wine glass keeps emptying. What I am most upset with however is that I was so hungary by the time the food arrived, I didn’t even remember to take photos.
The grilled chicken was really delicious and really tasty. Love love love the fact that the skin was kept on the dark meat, allowing it to crisp and curl up on the side. We also ordered fish cakes which were not bad, but not overly inspiring. The duck in the red duck curry seemed to be cooked rather boringly in the curry sauce which left me pretty disappointed as I was looking forward to a whole-roasted, then braised in the curry until the meat falls apart to the touch type experience.
The whole snapper with garlic sauce was pretty tasty and I particularly like how it was served alongside lettuce, coriander and thai basil leaves to wrap the fish up in.
Unfortunately due to a few chilli-phobes in the group we had to have our som tum very very mild, which left me slightly underwhelmed. I do however appreciate the effort in the kitchen putting together such a mild rendition.
Sticky rice and a bottle of rose later, we were out for £15 a person incl tip. I guess you can’t complain about value.
Compared to my last meal at 101 where I was totally blown away by everything we ordered, tonight I was left a little underwhelmed. Maybe it was the lack of chilli overall in the meal that didn’t thrill me? Maybe we just picked wrong?
I think next time I will have to convince a chilli-lover to come along so I can appreciate 101 the way its supposed to be – some of the hottest, tastiest, most authentic Thai food in London.