Friday 31 July 2009

Addie's Thai Cafe

July 2010- Unfortunately our 2nd visit recently left a far less favourable impression than the review below. Portions seemed to have shrunk, a flustered waiter who barely understood English was completely unhelpful, my Malaysian friend was thoroughly unimpressed with the lack of heat and spice in the Tom Yam and the annoying lady that nagged us the first time round was even worse, rushing us through our entire meal and reminding us constantly how we needed to eat fast and leave. Having now discovered the far cheaper and mindblowingly delicious Fitou's Cafe (formerly known as Number One Cafe) at 1 Dalgarno Gardens near White City, Addie's Thai has officially been struck off our list.

Addie's Thai Cafe 30 July 2009
121 Earl's Court Road
London SW5 9RL
Tel: 0207 259 2620

Thank goodness a friend finally brought me here- Addie's is the bomb! I have heard many including those of Thai origin singing its praises as the best Thai restaurant in London for authentic street hawker food, and based on my first visit alone I am already inclined to agree.

Everything you need to know about the place is on its ultra-informative website, from a picture-by-picture description of each dish on the menu right down to Chef Addie's career history. So I will skip the waffling and get straight to my lowdown on the sumptuous lunch we had.

A warm and cosy interior with brisk, efficient service- the only niggle we had was a slightly off-putting waitress who gave us an unnecessarily long lecture when we asked for small bowls to share our noodles! Apparently if it were her in a Thai stall she would never want to eat someone else's dish nor have someone eat hers.

To avoid further nagging we said fine and shared by passing our bowls round and taking turns trying each other's orders instead- next time miss, spare us the blah-blah and just bring the crockery please.

Pad Thai (£6.50)- Tangy, punchy, flavoursome and beautifully presented under an omelette web. Such a well-executed classic, a far cry from the stodgy tasteless mounds of noodles many other restaurants try to pass off under this name.

Yen Ta Fore (£8.50)-I have never had pink soup, but if all pink soups tasted like this I'd happily slurp up!

The weird hue is due to fermented red bean paste, the same ingredient which gives it its appetising salty tang. I chose thin rice noodles which were cooked just right, and was particularly impressed with the generous load of toppings- big juicy king prawns, squid, gorgeously textured crunchy jelly fish, fish balls, thick slices of fish cake, fried tofu chunks, crispy beancurd skin and morning glory/water convolvulus (kangkung to Malaysians). Yum yum yum.

Tom Yam Moo Sub (£6.95)- Another delicious slurper, though less garish in appearance and a tad lighter on the palate. Clear noodle soup with a spicy bite reminiscent of Vietnamese pho, topped with minced pork, ground peanuts, beansprouts and a sprinkling of dried chilli.

Kho Moo Yang (£7.50)- The 'oohs', 'aahs' and 'mms' abound- definitely our all-round favourite dish of the meal. The humble menu description of "grilled neck end pork" just does not do this divine dish justice, with its heap of moist succulent slices and sublime dipping sauce. Taste-wise it's sweet and sticky with a charred smokiness, sort of like a cross between the ubiquitous char siew (barbecued pork) and bak kwa (dried Chinese smoked jerky). Only more luscious.

Som Tam (£6.95)- I truly believe my mother's adoration of this Thai papaya salad is one of the main reasons she likes visiting my aunt in Bangkok so much. No doubt she would rave about Addie's version- robust, punchy and very very spicy. I'd recommend telling them to hold back on the chillies if heat is not your thing :) Aside from strips of raw papaya, long beans and tomatoes, you get four options to go with the salad including raw prawns and the aforementioned "grilled neck end pork"-we chose a combination of dried shrimp and salted crab which worked deliciously.

Green pandan pancake with Thai custard filling & vanilla ice cream (£3.50)

Steamed sticky rice with banana stuffing & vanilla ice cream (£3.50)

After being blown away by the mains and sides, I suppose it is inevitable that we found the desserts slightly lacklustre in comparison. They were both tasty and did exactly what they say on the tin, but one feels the menu could have done with a wider selection to include Thai classics like the cold "Red Rubies" dessert Tub Thim Krob (sweet water chestnuts with tapioca, coconut milk, shaved ice and syrup), or options such as mango to go with the steamed sticky rice (at the moment banana and yam are the two choices).

However, I am only being nitpicky- most restaurants don't go beyond complimentary orange slices and textbook banana fritters so Addie's deserves credit for at least offering some traditional sweetmeats to end the meal.

As a whole, wowzers. The entire meal really hit the spot and a repeat visit is most definitely in order- I can smell the Kho Moo Yang already!

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