Okay, so I love pretty much ALL food, but I was curious to see if a national Thai food chain in my local area met the standards of the London branch I visited over a year ago. My friend who also loves to dine went with me on a Wednesday evening, which we thought was a nice change to the weekend rush.
We decided to take our time and enjoy the full experience by ordering all courses and started with 2 appetisers and a bottle of wine to share. The wine chosen was a light and medium dry rose, which had a mild citrusy flavour and was very smooth. (We didn’t want to offend the other flavours)
Starters were next to arrive and we felt that they almost arrived too quickly…. we chose a plate of fried Asian greens in a soy, garlic and ginger sauce and steamed chicken gyoza dumplings with a mild but sweet dipping sauce. After drinking a half a glass of wine, our taste buds were ready for the next experience.
First let me make something clear…. I love to cook and experiment quite often however; I am not an executive chef or culinary wizard by any means but my palate is sensitive and I appreciate good food, nice flavours and pleasing textures.
My take on starter 1: stir-fried greens in sauce-that’s about it… swimming in sauce and dare I say micro waved or re-heated? The veggies were still firm and still had their natural juices when you bit into them but the SAUCE… why use so much when the veggies are happy enough being themselves? A drizzle maybe to add dimension to the dish… we had no idea what to do with all of that sauce at the end… and it wasn’t steaming or sizzling when it arrived.
Starter number 2: steamed dumplings, kind of my favourite Asian appetiser in the states, so I was excited and awaited its arrival. If you’ve never had them before, their skin (for the lack of a better description) is like ravioli pasta but thicker. It should arrive plump and hot (or very warm and moist) on the outside and the juices from the filling should be slightly dripping onto the serving plate. When you first bite into it, the flavours and filling should explode in your mouth and deliver an enjoyable mmmmm reaction. The consistency and texture should be non-offensive. If you have to ask, “Should it taste like this” during the first bite, it is not up to scratch. Can you tell I like dumplings? (please note, photo link is how it should be)
OUR dumplings were small and the skin was too thick, rubbery (micro waved) and lacking moistness and filling. They were also a little oily, which kind of leads me to believe that they were fried first, and then re-heated. No taste explosion and no mmmmmmmmm.
Pad Thai, I love this dish because the noodles are flat and light, unlike typical Italian pasta dishes. My favourite part aside from the noodle is the sprinkling of peanuts amongst the blend of spicy, sour and sweet fresh herbs. When it arrived, it looked okay but my first reaction was, “where’s the peanuts?”
The dish looked a little lack-lustre and dry, but okay…. here I go dipping my fork in to test it out and… Hmm… it had that slightly tart taste, which it should have and the noodles were cooked well (almost slightly sticky) It looked like Pad Thai, but sadly was a little dry. My friend’s expression was the same as mine… perplexed. My friend suggested that we ask for a little extra sauce, so it arrived and we drizzled and tossed, until it started to resemble what we were expecting. It was better. The textures were up to standard I would say, sticky and light noodles with the traditional sprinkling of fresh Thai herbs and little crunchy bits with the sauce absorbing nicely into each bite.
Desert and grand finale
We were curious about Mochi and there were a few of them to choose from, so we decided to order the “mix it up” assorted plate. Mochi’s are little balls of flavoured ice cream wrapped in sticky rice and served with various sweet sauces. We were slightly excited because we had never tried this, hence a new experience was about to happen!
Here we go… first one Coconut…I found it strange when I first bit into it. The coconut flavour was really prominent and creamy but the sticky outside consistency was almost like Turkish delight, chewy and slightly slimy. The ice cream dissolved in your mouth to leave you chewing the coating for a moment longer. It was different and we were intrigued. So we tried the next flavour-Raspberry… our palettes were not surprised any longer and this one was more enjoyable and must have been made with real raspberries because we began to crunch on the little seeds as the ice cream melted in our mouths. Final stop… sesame. These were slightly different and had both the flavour of sesame on the inside and seeds on the outside rolled within the rice. We finished our meal with a piping hot mug of green tea.
I must admit, we enjoyed our experience even though it didn’t meet our expectations however; it was a taste experience and I can now admit I’m a Mochi fan.
Thank you very Mochi for reading