Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bangkok Café, Hyde Park, Leeds (takeaway review)

We're doing rather well for Thai food in Leeds right now. There's Thai Aroy Dee, Saengarun Thai and now Bangkok Café.

Located on the main drag at Hyde Park Corner, Bangkok Café is by far the smallest of these three, a takeaway really with just three little tables in the front for dining in. I picked up some food from there there the other night and was pretty impressed.

The menu covers all the usual curries and stir-fries, with some interesting and less common variants particular on the curry front, but I was drawn to the section headed 'Bangkok popular dishes' which is where you'll find the salads and a range of one bowl rice and noodle meals.

To see how they measured up (and because I bloody love them) against the competition I chose two of my favourites from Thai Aroy Dee, som tam with grilled chicken (B11 - Som Tum Gai Yang on the menu here) and the shrimp paste fried rice (B8 - Kao Pad Num Prim Kapi).

Expectations were high as I watched the staff prepare the meal, it's a one room operation so everything is made in front of you. The wok burner was properly cranked up for the fried rice, there's a flame grill for charring the chicken and a gigantic pestle and mortar appeared and the salad was pounded from scratch.

The tasting lived up to it. The grilled chicken was faultless. Two fat wings, succulent flesh, crisp salty sweet skin. The som tam started off gently but soon revealed a fierce building heat. Fiery and crunchy and delicious. If I had a criticism it seemed a little bit underpounded (not sure that's a word but it describes exactly what I mean so I'm sticking with it), the dressing not quite melded properly with the papaya and other bits and bobs.

The fried rice tasted a whole lot better than it looks. Takeaway never looks pretty when you get it home, and a dish of several components all squashed in together isn't going to win any prizes for presentation. Ignore that and focus on the flavour and textures. Chewy (a bit too chewy, but that's a minor gripe) sweet pork, soft omelette and perfectly fried rice shot through with shallots, chillies and pungent fishiness from the prawn paste.

These two dishes cost £5.95 each, good value, and presumably eating in would cost the same. The staff were friendly and service efficient. I'll be back. Recommended.


12 Hyde Park Corner


Rachel Baxter said...

Working just round the corner from Bangkok Cafe it's one of our favourites - we love Noodle Friday!

Dave said...

Great option for weekday lunches! The £3.95 lunch deal looks great value.

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