SoGlos.com discovers you can get a true taste of Thai cuisine in Gloucester, if you look hard enough.
Situated on the corner of Spa Road midway between Gloucester city centre and the complex hosting Cineworld Gloucester, the Taste of Thai restaurant sadly doesn’t enjoy the best of locations. But if you can muster up the energy for a 10 minute walk and see past the shabby surrounding area, inside the cosy restaurant you’ll find an established eatery serving authentic Thai cuisine, that’s well worth the effort.
While the modest-sized restaurant played host to just a few occupied tables on our Saturday evening visit, seeing neighbouring diners tuck into an array of classic Thai dishes – from set menus to chefs’ specials including ‘weeping tiger’ and ‘sleeping beauty’ – was all we needed to work-up an appetite.
No sooner had we taken a few sips of our super-chilled Singha and Chang Thai beers, when our watering mouths were soon delighted with a hot and fiery tom yum soup. Although disappointingly served in bowls rather than a traditional Thai soup urn, this ever-popular dish hit the mark with bold lime and lemongrass flavours, a chilli kick and tender pieces of chicken.
Streaming eyes aside, we were then quick to move onto more starters, this time grilled chicken satay skewers – which were simply presented with a sweet peanut satay sauce and diced cucumber in a sugary water dip, making for an average, but nonetheless satisfying dish.
Outside a stream of clubbers and pub-goers regularly passed by the window, with the occasional couple being tempting inside, to take-up a table for two in the relaxed atmosphere. As well as commenting on the dubious outfits adorned by passers-by, the conversation had come around to the quaint decorations adorning the restaurant’s walls – including a photograph of what we believed to be a stern set of the Thai royal family, no less.
But with our main dishes having arrived – courtesy of our cheery waitress who practiced simple but sufficient service at its best – the talk was diverted to the subject of ‘why don’t my home-cooked Thai curries ever look or taste like this?’. My chu chee curry boasted a generous portion of plump king prawns, marinated in coconut cream and red curry paste with the addition of red peppers and shredded lime leaves – with strong flavours that needed nothing else than the accompanying boiled Thai jasmine rice to leave a lasting impression.
Despite faring on the slightly oily side, my dining companion’s chicken Panang curry also successfully accomplished that sought-after authentic south east Asian flavour – this time with coconut cream, a herby curry paste, red and green peppers and crunchy al dente green beans. Longan fruit in syrup served with ice-cream provided the perfect finale to an evening of some very good food.
While you might not often pass Taste of Thai, our diversion from the city centre’s beaten track proved that this is an eatery worth making a special journey for. And, with the late Siam Thai restaurant now just a distant memory in Gloucester’s history books – you’ll be hard-pushed to find better Thai cuisine anywhere else in the city.
The average price of a three-course meal for two at Taste of Thai, excluding drinks, is around £30.
By James Fyrne
Saturday 15 September 2007
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