On Wednesday I arranged to meet a friend for supper at KaoSarn in Brixton Village. It is BYOB, and we had previously chatted on Facebook about how much we both like this, with him saying ‘Yes, bringing your own bottle to a restaurant is like having a conversation with yourself – appears weird but you can be guaranteed that the quality is good’ (he asked me to put this line in the blog. He was quite proud of it). My dad’s favourite restaurant in London is Food for Thought in Covent Garden. It is a tiny vegetarian place that serves hearty helpings of home cooked food for about £7. He likes to take along a bottle of excellent Bordeaux to drink with it.
I had forgotten how sprawling Brixton village is, and after spending 10 minutes or so walking the alleyways, I found the restaurant and bagged a table outside. I was told we only had an hour, which would have been fine if my friend (I asked him if there was a nickname he would like to be known as, as I’ve realised my use of initials is, well, naff. He said some obscure character whose name I can’t remember from The Idiot. I’ll stick with ‘my friend’ for now) hadn’t been 20 minutes late. While I was waiting I rather hopefully asked for an ice bucket to keep my choice of wine cold. The waitress laughed. It was worth a shot. I’d brought an Alsace Gewurtraminer and had been rather pleased when after choosing it, read on the back ‘Goes well with Thai curries’ *proud face*.
When my friend finally arrived we were quickly rushed into ordering. He’d been before and said the deep fried pork spare ribs were good, so we shared a plate of them (Cee Krong Moo Tod Ta-Krai, £5.90) along with a Plah Goong (£6.90), a king prawn salad to start. The ribs were a bit fatty, with not enough meat on them for my liking, but the salad was delicious – hot, fresh and with a slight sweetness in the dressing.
For mains we shared a Khao Pad Kra-Proaw (£7.90), stir fried rice with pork and a fried egg, and Gai Yang, Khao Neaw, Som Tum (£12.50), half a grilled chicken with sticky rice and green papaya salad. The stir fried rice was good, but the only real flavours were Thai basil and chili. The chicken was rubbed in a turmeric heavy marinade and was still moist after grilling. I was however so disappointed with the som tom that I almost cried and threw stuff. It is one of my very favourite dishes, since, after a particularly hot and sweaty day exploring Wat Phu in Laos, I ate a plateful at a tiny cafe by a river. The combination of hot chili, zingy lime, and fresh fruity papaya was incredibly refreshing, and exactly what I fancied in that moment. But this version had hardly any heat to it, and the papaya itself had none of the fruity sweetness I love.
We had barely finished when they whisked away our plates and brought out the bill. A bit rude perhaps, but to be fair they had warned us. I liked the atmosphere, and, apart from a couple of weak links the food was pretty good overall, and excellent value. We hurriedly paid and then went for a drink outside Ritzy’s cinema. They at least weren’t in a rush for us to leave.