Wandering down Somerset Road you might easily walk straight past the unassuming façade of Salathai. But next door to Gelato Mania, a block before El Burro, you’ll find authentic Thai food with fantastic flavours.
“I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” says the manager shyly, after offering his recommendations on the menu. He’s absolutely right.
The chef, Tookta, hails from the Ubon Ratchathani province in Thailand, and while it’s sometimes difficult for her to find the right vegetables in this country, her flavours are on the money.
We kick off with buffalo wings fried in panko crumbs, drizzled with a spicy sour sauce and topped with translucent fried Thai basil. The textures are glorious: we bite through the thin, crispy batter to juicy tender chicken underneath, as sweet, sour and spice mingle. It’s fried chicken as it could be if it only had the ambition. The chicken satay starter is also good, though not quite as mind-bendingly so, thanks to a tasty peanut sauce.
For mains, we struggle to make up our minds between all the noodle, rice and curry options. In the end I plump for crispy duck with black sauce, a mix of light and dark soy and fish sauce. It’s good, and the sauce has a hefty umami kick, but it’s my dining companion’s creamy, coconut-laced Penang curry that has us scraping leftover sauce from the bowl with every last available grain of rice. It’s subtly and beautifully spiced, made by someone who knows exactly what she’s doing.
The wine list is short, containing a handful of lower-end options, but is very well-priced. There are also spirits and beers, including Thai Singha beer.
Friendly, attentive and speedy.
Lime green walls and wooden carvings give a taste of Thailand, but an old wooden bar and metal outdoor seating keeps the restaurant looking casual, belying the quality of the food.
Due to the proximity of Gelato Mania, there are no desserts on offer, but the manager is happy for you to tuck into a bowl of gelato from next door while you finish off your evening.
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