Where I ate:
Kwan Thai, St Nicholas Street, Ipswich
The Saturday before Christmas, Jake took me for dinner and had booked a table at a little Thai place called Kwan Thai. We’d ordered a takeaway from there before, which was very good, but had never actually eaten inside the restaurant. As everyone knows, I love Thai food and I think I’ve got him hooked too. Given how good the food was when we ordered it for collection, it’s fair to say I was excited.
The best way to describe the decor is to say it’s very stereotypical Oriental – traditional but very dated. It felt really festive as the Christmas decorations were up and it’s also very cosy. We were sat towards the back of the restaurant in a sort of cubby hole – the place is a really odd shape and there are all little nooks and crannies if you’re looking for a table for two. At least we were away from the larger parties so could enjoy some quiet.
The table was candle lit with fresh flowers and on arrival we had a bowl of prawn crackers, which went down very well indeed. We’d had a look at the menu beforehand so knew what we were going for.
A selection of mixed starters, followed by weeping tiger, chicken red curry, phad see ew and chicken fried rice
We chose one of the set menus for two, which was priced at £19.25 per person – great value considering the amount the number of dishes that arrived at the table. There was so much food and we were pretty full after the starters alone!
The mixed starter platter consisted of spring rolls (we swapped the prawn for vegetable as Jake doesn’t like seafood), aromatic chicken, chicken and beef satay, sesame prawn toasts and fried chicken in a sticky Thai red wine sauce. The starters were accompanied by four dipping sauces. The chicken in Thai sauce was a particular highlight as it was really unusual and not something I’d ever had at a Thai restaurant before; while the beef satay skewers were like strips of steak and really moreish.
After a little break, the main courses came out on a hot plate. I’ll start with my favourite – the weeping tiger. We ordered this before and it was incredible, but it was a hundred times better fresh! It obviously isn’t actually tiger, but a flame-grilled sirloin steak in strips, served in a sticky sweet teriyaki-style sauce. Honestly, it’s amazing and the restaurant’s most popular dish (just check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor!).
The curry on the set menu is a choice of chicken or lamb massaman, but we swapped it for a traditional red curry (one of my favourites) – and chose chicken. It was a little hotter than I was expecting, but yummy nonetheless. There was plenty of chicken and bamboo shoots and the rice soaked up the sauce well. In all, I wasn’t disappointed.
I loved the flat noodles, which consisted of chicken, vegetable and egg and had I not been so full, would have easily eaten the whole portion. They had so much flavour and were wok-cooked so well. One of the things I love about Thai cooking is how incredibly simple it appears – yet every dish is cooked with so much love and care and the different flavours are divine.