Wow. When we bought Groupon vouchers for Esarn Kheaw we were just expecting some nice, cheap Thai food – nothing exceptional and nothing inoffensive. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised. The vouchers were £15 for £30 value to share between two people, so we bought a couple thinking that we’d go twice. I can safely say that we will be going back far more than this.
The restaurant may not be much to look at, and it’s not in the most convenient part of town, but it’s a small, authentic, family-run place – and most importantly the food is great.
We got there at 7.30pm on a Friday night and it was reassuringly busy. We were quickly seated. Now would probably be an appropriate time to point out that the staff were fantastic – helpful, efficient, and dispensing just the right amount of friendly banter.
We ordered a bottle of wine (it was something like £15 – quite possibly less – so why not?) and set about looking at the menu. It was big. There were so many choices that I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was a good thing.
As usual, we shared our starters. Our first dish was deep fried king prawns and vegetables – 4 huge prawns and lots of veg, coated in a batter so light and crunchy that it almost made me forget about the recent tempura unpleasantness that I endured at Satori Robata.
We also had steamed pork and prawn dumplings, a personal favourite of mine. I always order them given the opportunity and like to try my hand at making them myself from time-to-time. These were particularly good; so tender, so moist, and absolutely massive.
The starters were so good that I could have quite easily eaten more, more, MORE… endless rounds of starter dishes all night long, mains be damned. It’s safe to say that I really liked the starters.
But the starters had to end some time, and then the mains came.
I went for roasted duck cooked in coconut milk and red curry paste with grapes and pineapple. I wouldn’t normally go for something so fruit-heavy but it sounded interesting and it really was.
Nuhar went for charcoal grilled sirloin strips of beef with lemon juice, lime leaf, onion, coriander, chilli and fish sauce. Also very tasty.
We shared a bowl of rice and it was more than enough (literally, we had to leave some – impressive, considering the amount of sauce there was to mop up).
Including the bottle of wine, using our voucher the bill came to something silly like £6 including service. This felt almost wrong somehow; how can we be paying so little for what we had, especially when we’ve had an entire bottle of wine too? We insisted on paying an even £10.
We still have one more voucher and I for one can’t wait to use it. Will we use it exclusively on starters? I think it’s a possibility. (In case you missed it, I really liked the starters.)
Nine seems like quite a high score – but considering how well we were treated, how much we enjoyed the food, and how little we paid for it, I don’t see how I could possibly give this place any less.