Where we ate:
Thai Orchid, South Street, Brentwood
We’ve been going to the Thai Orchid for years and it never disappoints. Situated in the backstreet of South Street, off Brentwood high street, it isn’t the easiest place to find by any means. In fact, its location must be a problem, because I’ve never seen it busy. Despite booking a table (as we always do, although clearly you don’t need to), we were one of four tables in use throughout the Friday evening service. Obviously being this quiet, service is never a problem, but you have to wonder how it’s still going – the restaurant and surrounding area always seems a ghost town! The decor is very dated though and I don’t think it’s ever been refurbed since our first visit over a decade ago!
What we drank:
Mum and dad began with a Singha and Cobra, respectively. While my brother was on the coca cola and I shared the house white wine with my parents
My parents asked for a bottle of Frascati, but they didn’t have any. However, the waitress was quick to push the house wine (£11.50 a bottle, which to me sounds expensive for what it is) – a French white, which was more sweet than dry. I enjoyed it as I’m not a fan of overly dry, acidic wines, but my dad (who’s a bit of a wine buff) wasn’t impressed.
What we ate:
My brother and I always share the mixed platter for two, because of the variety. From the succulent chicken satay and crispy aromatic chicken wings to the crunchy spring roll and the giant plump wontons – it’s a great way to begin the meal. The platter is served with four dipping sauces: satay, chilli and two clear sauces (we still have no idea what they are, but they’re very nice!) which are a lovely accompaniment.
We always have a second course before we continue with the main meal. The Yum Woonsen salad is a definite palette cleanser and although it’s not to my taste, we order it every time and it’s my dad’s favourite thing from the menu. It’s basically a cold salad of vermicelli noodles with chicken and shrimp, spring onion, carrots and plenty of chilli. It’s really refreshing but too spicy for me.
The main dishes we chose were:
· Phad Kai Kaw-Pod-On (chicken stir-fried with baby corn)
· Gang Paa with beef (a hot jungle curry with vegetables)
· Prawn Phad Thai
· Thai fragrant rice
I love my Thai curries fragrant and coconutty, so I would defitnitely recommend the Kang curries as they all contain coconut milk. If you too love a creamy curry, I wouldn’t recommend the Gang Paa, as the heat is drier and therefore a lot stronger! The rice soaked up the sauce nicely, but it certainly packed a punch. The beef was lovely and not all tough – I even had seconds of the Gang Paa.
Being a family of four, four dishes were just enough, particularly after the starters. If you don’t order enough, you can always ask for more throughout the course of the evening and it isn’t a problem.
My only gripe from the evening would be at the end when we ordered desserts and coffees. My mum and dad ordered a French coffee each and after about 10 or 15 minutes, the waiter came back to the table and said they didn’t have any. When my dad asked what spirits they had, he replied with brandy – which is what he originally asked for.
In all it was a lovely meal and I couldn’t fault the food at all – it was amazing! It’s a shame the atmosphere is always so lacklustre but I’ve never known it to be lively. Thai Orchid also run a lunchtime menu at £5 per head and I’m keen to see what that’s like and how middle of the day service compares to a weekend evening!