Thursday, 7 April 2011

I've got Jasmine on my mind...

I have to be honest and say that I struggled to find a fitting post title for this review and Lord only knows what awful song this comes from (the other lyrics make for an entertaining read), but it is a lyric nonetheless and it does happen to suit the following review of the Thai restaurant, Jasmine, on Goldhawk Road.

Having only recently been convinced of the charms of Esarn Kheaw I was in no rush to try out Jasmine, however, Thai food is Mo's favourite and we'd promised ourselves a night of good food locally after both doing the Reading Half Marathon. We were going to head further afield to Notting Hill or somewhere exotic like that but as it happened my pesky knee injury and a subsequently diagnosed bout of tendinitis in my ankle dictated a much more local restaurant needed to be picked. Jasmine is approximately only 62 hobbles from my front door so it served that purpose well.

It also served us well by being an excellent restaurant; delicious food, prompt service, reasonably priced and a lively atmosphere. Hmm yes, a lively atmosphere. I would really like to see the Census results for Shepherd's Bush to determine quite how many Antipodeans are living here as just when I think they're moving on elsewhere I'm sharply reminded that the Bush is still their Mecca. There was a table of six next to us the night we enjoyed Jasmine for the first time. It pains me to say it because not all Aussies and Kiwis, and I'm pretty sure this group was a mix, are the same. Really they're not, I'm more "Aussie" than Australian NewMan. But strewth mate, they were noisy. And drunk. And noisy. And drunk. And a little offensive at times. Luckily for us they were halfway to Walkabout by the time our starter plates were cleared so Mo and I didn't have to spend too long fighting to hear each other while rolling our eyes and nodding in their direction.

So for starters we shared Thai spring rolls and Thai fishcakes. I'll admit that the fishcakes were a little processed as they certainly were in appearance too, but they were more than edible and actually it was a surprisingly nice texture. The spring rolls were classically good; no surprises, no complaints.

Despite feeling quite up for the kick of a red or Massaman curry after the green curry at Esarn Kheaw left me smacking my lips for cooling air, I decided to play it safe. In fact I played it about as safe as you possibly can in a Thai restaurant and I ordered the yellow curry. My reasoning for this about turn was twofold; Mo had already set her heart on the Thai green curry with prawns and I'd never actually tried a Thai yellow curry before.

Taste and texture wise it is certainly not dissimilar from a Indian curry as it contains chunks of onion and potato, but Thai yellow curry has more coconut and is much lighter having not been made with ghee.

It was a good flavour and a thoroughly yummy meal with coconut rice, but I have to admit I was craving the aubergine of the Thai green curry which Mo had ordered and fortunately let me share. Though it looks a bit oily and not very green in the picture below, I have to say it was very flavoursome and tasted surprisingly fresh. The prawns were excellent (and I'm not a prawn fan unless it's covered in batter).

A special mention must be made about the sticky coconut rice; we ordered an extra portion to share/fight over.

Uncomfortably stuffed we avoided desert, instead polishing off our Chenin Blanc and putting the world to rights, then to wrongs, then to rights again. The Jasmine staff let us do this quite happily as they continued to serve more happy customers, many collecting take away orders. Our bill, which included a bottle of wine and service, came to just under £50.00.

I have now tried three Thai restaurants in Shepherd's Bush (Rice Thai, Esarn Kheaw and Jasmine) and I feel I need to establish in my own mind which is the best as my next Bush Tucker Trial. I will call it a Thai-Tie? Or maybe a Thai-Tee-Off? Hmm I'll come back to you...

As for the rest of that evening, tempted as we were to join our Antipodean friends stuck to the floor of the Walkabout, Mo and I went for a night cap* in Defectors Weld, the pub I love to hate or hate to love (or both), where we were chatted up by two painter-decorators from Northolt. We then found ourselves accidentally gate-crashing a young man's 21st birthday party which was being held there. One of the party-goers was a Law-undergraduate who called me patronising for advising him against touching my knee when he spoke to me. It was a suitably random and comical night for both me and Shepherd's Bush.

* By night cap I mean 2 gin & tonics and a white wine each of course.


  1. I love that you do these reviews. I've lived in the area for 31 years now but still can't get round them all.

  2. Well thank you for reading... I am lucky in the sense I have willing participants and a large appetite! As you say though I doubt I'll get around them all no matter how long I live here...

    Bird x

  3. I tend to agree about those fishcakes at Jasmine. They are not my favourite thing in the world. Even when I couldn't handle really hot food - I'd always buy the green Thai curry as I just loved the flavours and judge a Thai restaurant by their GTC. I also judge them by the quality of their Pad Thai - I can't say I am a huge fan of either there but overall I still make an occasional visit there!