Monday, 28 February 2011

You take the milk from the coconut...

(I'm really not sure how I find these song lyrics to use as the titles of my blog posts but I do and they work, just about. This song is by a band called Toto Coelo, who appear to be a Banarama-meets-Culture Club who don't actually sound that dissimilar from Lady Gaga.)

Last night I went to Esarn Kheaw, yet another Bush restaurant I should have been to before now. As I virtually hired a town crier to announce, it was my birthday on Saturday and so to end a weekend of being spoilt and well fed and watered, my very good friend Whitney came over for a quick dinner, long catch up and more watering. Despite many recommendations for the highly applauded Polish restaurant Patio (on Goldhawk Road), neither she nor I were in the mood for tasty stodge or vodka. Instead we enjoyed a three course (how did that happen!?) Thai meal that was appetising and authentic (according to Whitney who has been to Thailand many times).

An Uxbridge Road favourite and stalwart for many years, Esarn Kheaw translates (I think) as Northeast Green relating to the area of Thailand where the restaurant's founder comes from. There is much made of Mr Puntar's origins and how Esarn Kheaw came to land in Shepherd's Bush in both the menu and on the website. It's an interesting read (and very cute use of English) and reminds you of the millions of individual journeys that have been made to London from far, far afield.

It was Chicken Sateh for me to start with while Whitney "enjoyed" Deep Fried Chicken Wings. I say "enjoyed" because there was a point when she was half a wing down and she looked up at me and uttered the following words most people would never want to say at that moment: "I'm not 100% convinced this is chicken.". Admittedly they were very small chicken wings and the meat looked pinker than I would expect, but after a slight pause, she proceeded to eat two and a half more "wings". See what I mean about authentic?

For main course I chose (real) chicken Thai Green Curry for me and Whitney went for King Prawns cooked in a Thai Red Curry, though we were tempted to try either the "Son-in-Law's Eggs" or the "Pad Prik Khing" just for their names. Both our curries were delicious and more-ish which is high praise from two girls who are coconuts for coconut. I will say the Green Curry had more of a kick than I am used to but again this is what I've heard about Thai cuisine in actual Thailand so more authenticity marks awarded.

We finished our meals sharing mango sorbet and yummy coconut ice cream. All this was washed down with the house champagne that was actually called "The House" (and I'm not convinced it's ever seen a "Maison du Champagne" but it was fizzy and drinkable so made me smile). One of the highlights, aside from the bright turquoise green decor and elaborately arranged napkins, were the waiting staff. Three men of a certain age (50 plus) attended our every need and desire with big gentle smiles. When asked what their speciality "sticky rice" was like the one wearing a bow tie immediately replied "sticky" without even a blink of sarcasm. They were like the Thai Grandads I've never had.

I'm not sure of the total cost as Whitney hijacked the bill before it had even landed on the table but I would happily go back as a paying customer and not a free-loading dinner guest and soon.


  1. The food looks great. Must have a try, I usually go to Jasmine (Goldhawk Road) on the rare times I have money!

  2. Ooh must try Jasmine (next month - as you say you need money to enjoy these things) but I do also like Thai Rice on Shepherd's Bush Road...