Richly varying from region to region, Thai cuisine is a heady mix of spicy, sour, sweet, crispy and soft. London offers more than enough options to explore all of these sides.
Despite its richness, popularity, and tight bond with local traditions, the food culture of Thailand is not as talked-of as other trendier cuisines. Yet London offers all one needs to try the contrasting flavours and textures of grill dishes, curries, noodles, soups, and less-expected regional specialities, all to be balanced with sticky and jasmine rice. Our list spans local, high-end, modern, classic and fusion restaurants.
Monkey & Me
Monkey & Me draws upon the countless flavours and aromas of Thai food to provide a “dining experience that accentuates the brightness and beauty of Thai cuisine”. Such purpose is rooted in a deep knowledge and passion for Asian food culture, along with the desire to present it with a personal touch. Diners are brought face to face with the authentic tradition, gently sharpened by creativity and inventiveness. Spices, herbs, vegetables and other ingredients are carefully sourced from Thailand through their partner Thai Tana, which guarantees the authentic quality of regional produce.
114 – 115 Crawford Street, London W1H 2JQ
The Begging Bowl
Sharing plates and an open Peckham terrace may be all one needs to explore Thai food in all its regional varieties. Head Chef Jane Alty and her partner Jamie Younger opened The Begging Bowl in 2012 with the simple mission of recreating the real flavours of Thailand in London. Such flavours emanate from a rigorous approach to cooking, as specialist ingredients are carefully sourced and everything is made in the kitchen (they even have a coconut press!). The ‘begging bowl’ is the vessel Buddhist monks in Thailand use to collect alms, and what it represents reflects the community-driven philosophy that the restaurant seeks to bring to South London.
168 Bellenden Road, London SE15 4BW
Rosa’s Thai Veggie
Grown in a mountain farm in northern Thailand, Chef Saiphin put her passion for local and genuine produce in the Rosa’s brand she started in 2008 with her partner Alex. The Soho branch opened in 2010 as their second restaurant, but was later turned into Rosa’s Thai Veggie. Here, classic Thai cuisine dishes get a veggie and vegan twist, but by no means are they meant to please vegetarian palates alone. Thanks to growing success and popularity, several other Rosa’s branches have opened throughout London.
48 Dean Street, London W1D 5BF
More than just a restaurant, Champor-Champor presents itself as a total dining experience. The name comes from a Malay expression that means ‘mix and match’, and indeed the menu has a mix of Thai and Malay influences. The eclectic range of dishes is mirrored by quirky and unusual décor, which makes the ambience warm, cosy, bohemian and easy-going all at the same time. Champor-Champor has been long-praised as the best Thai option in the London Bridge area – one of the best in the whole of London, in fact – and it keeps delivering a high-standard dining experience.
62 Weston Street, London SE1 3QJ
Recently relocated to Tottenham Court Road, SUDA is all about the great classics of Thai street food. Diners are invited to explore the many dishes found on the streets of Bangkok, as the menu consists mainly of sharing bowls and small plates (although large dishes are also available). The choice spans both traditional favourites and more contemporary options, offering a broad overview of Thai cuisine. SUDA opened in 2011, providing the West End theatre district with the quality Thai option that was missing.
5A Berners Street, London W1T 3LF
The original Mango Tree restaurant is located in the heart of Bangkok, and its London branch aims at not making you notice the distance. Their modern cuisine is served in a stylish and spacious location, which may well be considered the most authentic Thai corner of Belgravia (even J.K. Rowling mentions it in her novel ‘The Silkworm’). A welcoming atmosphere and the traditional service enhance the culinary experience, made of classic dishes that represent all the four main culinary regions of Thailand. A sample menu may include the likes of pla pow, larb pla tuna, and corn-fed chicken in green curry.
46 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7EQ
imm Thai Fusion
imm Thai Fusion is where classic Thai cuisine meets Indo-China. The rich menu is divided between classic Thai and fusion, the latter including Vietnamese dishes such as fried and spring rolls. Other fusion options are pan-fried salmon with choo chee gravy, duck and chicken teriyaki, and rib-eye steak marinated in Thai spices, while the classic side of the menu lists fish and duck dishes, stir-fry, and a range of Thai curries. The pre-show menu will be a tempting option before heading to New Wimbledon Theatre or Polka Theatre.
162 The Broadway Wimbledon, London SW19 1RX
This is the place to go when looking for grilled Thai food in Soho. At Kiln, the focus is on local specialities from all regions of Thailand, with a penchant for the areas of Yunnan, Burma and Bangkok’s Yarowat Road (also known as the city’s Chinatown). What all these different influences have in common is a meticulous attention to carefully-sourced native produce, so that herbs, fish and vegetables are of the freshest quality, and the meat cuts might change daily according to what’s available. A no-frills and genuine culinary experience that will take you face to face with Thai food culture.
58 Brewer Street, London W1F 9TL
Esarn Kheaw opened in 1992 as a family-run restaurant, and is expected to remain so for generations to come. All the recipes on the menu are created by the inspiration of Mr and Mrs Puntar, who draw upon regional Thai cuisine that reminds them of their childhood. In addition to the Esarn specialities however, the menu includes the classic stir-fry, noodles, vegetarian, seafood and curry dishes; all to be enjoyed in the warm atmosphere of a genuine neighbourhood diner.
314 Uxbridge Road, London W12 7LJ
A stone’s throw away from Spitalfields market, Som Saa offers a thoughtful selection of sharing plates. Guests are invited to find their combination of grill dishes, wok, salads, soups and curries to achieve the perfect balance between the flavours and textures of Thai regional cuisine: sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, spicy and soothing. Additionally, a daring cocktail-list features hard-to-find ingredients and original recipes that will debunk the myth of Thai food not pairing well with wine and drinks.
43A Commercial Street, London E1 6BD