Having been established back in 1985, The Thai House has been a notable restaurant in Cardiff for many a year now, predominantly because until relatively recently it was about the only Thai restaurant in Cardiff! I have visited a couple of times over the years, nevertheless not having been there for a while and craving a Thai curry, I decided that a return visit was on the cards.
The restaurant really hadn’t changed that much, and my last visit must have been at least 5 years ago. On arrival we were swiftly shown to our table and the menu and wine list appeared just as swiftly…a common theme for this visit. Nevertheless, I was due to go elsewhere so no complaints on this occasion. Service was polite and unobtrusive, and the front of house team were more than happy to answer any questions I had while selecting dishes.
There are a variety of menus available from lunch to à la carte and suggested set menus, ranging in price from £5 to £9.50 for a starter and upwards of £10 for mains – a two course meal with a bottle of wine set us back just under £70, which for what we received, I felt was a little on the expensive side.
Less than 10 minutes from ordering, our starters appeared – first up we had Gung Sarong (king prawns wrapped in crispy pancakes) and Bor Bia (crispy little pancakes with a filling of fine vermicelli mixed with chicken and Thai mushrooms). Both were lovely and crispy and the fillings tasty, and while I debated on both the inclusion of the ‘chilli’ and ‘plum’ elements of the sweet chilli and plum dipping sauce, in that I couldn’t taste either, it made for a pleasant beginning.
Post starter and a glass of wine in, I began to take note of my surroundings (I’m also a bit of a people watcher aka nosy!) It was a relatively quiet evening and there were a handful of diners in – more than likely due to the time of 6.30pm. However, quite a few were dining alone. Now it’s rare the atmosphere in a restaurant gives me a fit of the giggles (and I am showing my age here), but combined with the ‘interesting’ choice of background lounge music – if you can picture The Blue Note scene in the film The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (Google it…if need be) we may be getting somewhere close to the atmosphere in The Thai House! I am probably doing them a bit of a dis-service, as the restaurant is bright and well decorated, but when a ‘funked (better mind my spelling!) up’ version of Amazing Grace comes on, you kind of start wondering who their target audience really is! It clearly wasn’t me, but laugh…I did.
Now, eating Thai style means it’s time to share…hmmm, while I don’t mind losing a forkful of my carefully chosen dish, I am more of the ilk of Smithy in Gavin and Stacey and the well-known ordering a take-away scene (again Google it…if need be!) – as someone else eyes up your bhuna – ha ha. Ok…to be honest I am not that bad, but in Thai cuisine all of the dishes of the main course are served together, allowing everyone to try small portions of each of the dishes. In this case this dining philosophy was great as I wasn’t so fussed on my choice…oops…Curry craving in full swing by now, I had opted for a dish I love Gang Massaman Ner (slow cooked pieces of beef in Southern Thai curry with peanuts and potatoes), while the other main course was Gang Ped Bed Yang (spicy roast duck red curry with cherry tomatoes and grapes). I wish I could say that I enjoyed the Massaman curry, however while the sauce was rich and well flavoured, the beef was dry. I was informed that it was probably due to over-marination – well if it was, the marinade had pulled the life out of it!
However, I can truly say the roast duck red curry was to die for. A beautiful dish; it had the perfect heat and spice levels and the duck simply melted in your mouth. That combined with the fragrant Kow Pat Kai (rice) – not something you find in a field, but again gave me a giggle (clearly I need to grow up or stop drinking so much wine!); it made for an amazing curry dish that I would certainly order again.
- Staff are polite and attentive without being intrusive, and while service was swift we weren’t made to feel hurried to leave at the end of dining.
- I like the ethos of The Thai House, and taking a read of their Thai/Welsh connection on their website provides a lovely background to the restaurant.
Would I go again?
Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be a while before I return. While I enjoy dining out in restaurants where I can relax, the atmosphere just didn’t feel right and I didn’t feel it was fantastic value for money. The food is good but with so much competition in the City now, I personally feel that people are looking for the overall experience. I always think it should be in keeping with the food that is being served…the place and the food should be connected and on this occasion purely because of the background music, The Thai House missed this.
Would I recommend The Thai House?
If you haven’t been and you love Thai food then it is definitely worth a visit…see what you think.
Address | 3-5 Guildford Crescent, Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2HJ
Web | www.thaihouse.biz