Thursday, 22 September 2016

An Authentic Thai Banquet at Bambubox


My auntie and uncle have been raving about Bambubox for a while now and while usually we opt for Pan-Asian Bonsai, which is practically on their doorstep, we ventured into the city for a Thai feast one evening. I think everyone is aware of my love for Thai cuisine – it’s definitely one of my favourites – and I was desperate to visit Bambubox to see if it lived up to expectations. I can safely say it did – and exceeded them too!

The restaurant is just off Gran Via and is so easy to find – the restaurant name is on the front windows and from the exterior, the restaurant looks inviting. Once inside, the decor is incredibly modern, with a blend of simplicity and Oriental features. Origami lotus flowers adorn every table and the main feature is the bamboo ‘palm tree’ in the middle of the restaurant, which extends to the ceiling like a canopy. The seating is a mix of chairs and benches, for the casual, almost Wagamama-esque vibe – although you’ll never be sitting with strangers! The dimmed lighting didn’t help with photographing the food, but was perfect for that cosy and informal evening meal.
Following my auntie’s recommendation, we began with the Bambubox starter platter, which consisted of their most popular starters, with accompanying dips. There were five gorgeous little morsels to try and I quickly dug into the first: a steamed dumpling, filled with minced pork and vegetables. I’m a big fan of dim sum, so quickly followed it up with the chicken and vegetable pastry dumpling, which had that gorgeous coconutty ‘Thai’ flavour. The spring roll was light and stuffed with crunchy vegetables – and went so well with the chilli dipping sauce. I loved the chicken satay too, but the highlight had to be the centrepiece: a cold raw papaya salad, topped with peanuts. It was very similar to the one I’d previously had at the Buddha-Bar, Prague – light, simple, yet packed full of flavour.

We then all chose a main course each, with the intention of having sampling a little bit of everything. Each main course comes with a portion of sticky rice, but there are also other types of rice (and noodle dishes) available. Luckily, everyone picked different dishes, with everyone except me choosing curries. My uncle picked the Kaeng Ped Yang: a red duck curry with vegetables, which was fairly mild in comparison to other red curries I’d had before. It was also quite sweet, which I enjoyed. My auntie opted for the Kaeng Khiew Wan Kai: a hotter green curry, packed with chunky pieces of chicken and vegetables. My mum chose her favourite Thai curry, the Masamam Nua: a beef massaman, with potatoes and cashew nuts. I was late to trying that one, but the beef was beautifully cooked, so soft.

As soon I read the menu, I knew I was going to pick something a little different and decided on the Kapao Talay: stir-fried seafood with basil and pepper. Unlike the curries, there was no thick or creamy sauce and instead the herbs and spices provided all the flavour. There was a decent mixture of coated fish and seafood (including king prawns, squid and mussels) and it was all cooked to perfection. Thankfully the rice took some of the heat away, ‘cos boy did the chilli and pepper pack a punch. I could have quite easily eaten the whole dish to myself, although it was surprisingly filling.

There was plenty of choice on the menu, even if it was limited in comparison to other restaurants – and for those that don’t want curry, there are soups and salads, as well as other main dishes. I know my dad would have loved the cold glass noodle salad, Yam Woonsen *broken heart emoji*. There’s even a tasting menu for two, which is reasonably priced at 42 and consists of the Bambubox starter platter and three of the most popular curries to share.

I didn’t see the wine list but I’m under the impression it’s also fairly limited – with only one rosé wine on offer. It was beautifully chilled and the sweet, fruity aromas went with the meal a lot better than a white wine would have. I actually prefer to drink rosé with Thai food; is that just me?

I’ll finish by complimenting the service. I think there were two waiting staff and just one person in the kitchen, but everything was efficient and our server was so lovely – and passionate about his job. After hearing so many good things from my family and reading reviews online, I’m so glad Bambubox lived up to expectations and I know I’ll definitely return, whether I’m Madrid, or on the outskirts in Sanse.

Love, Lucy xx

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