In the last month or so there has been a huge burst of launches at the Qube dining area of the Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. The latest launch of the bunch is Thaikhun.
Owned by the group behind the well renowned Chaophraya restaurants (and also named after a river in Thailand!), Thaikhun aims to bring authentic, casual Thai food to your table.
Given that the brother lives in Thailand, we like to think we’ve tested out enough Thai food to know what we like and what we should expect and boy did we like what we saw on our visit!
A lot of effort has been poured in to making the dining space of Thaikhun be as quirky and vibrant as possible and it seemed to be a big hit with everyone. Eclectic furniture and a random assortment of objects dotted around the walls really made you feel like you were sitting at a cobbled together street side cafe. I bet it’s a pain to dust though!
The service was unparalleled, with the obligatory bows and greetings, the servers were knowledgeable and incredibly personable during our visit, as well as accommodating for our vegetarian table mate. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit jealous of their uniform – those floaty trousers looked SO comfortable!
As it was a launch event, we were served a delicious tasting menu to showcase the very best of what they have to offer. Vicky from over at describethesky.co.uk was given her own Vegetarian dishes as an aside to our meat filled goodies.
To start, we worked our way through the Sukumvit Platter £15 (£7.50 pp) which includes the best sellers from the menu – salt + pepper squid, fish cakes, chicken spring rolls and honey pork. A good amount of each dish, served with 2 different hot sauces for dipping. Each dish brought it’s own distinctive flavour and taste to the platter and complimented the others well, the husband favoured the fish balls and I could have eaten more squid as it was just so good. A really well rounded platter to dip your feet in to what is on offer or even into Thai food if it’s your first visit. The platter could easily serve as a main course for 1, if you went for the same amount of food presented for us.
As Vicky is a vegetarian, her needs were met with the Por Pia Sod (£6). A plentiful amount of rice paper rolls stuffed with super fresh vegetables, mint, coriander, basil and tempura tofu. The obligatory hot sauce on the side made it a really filling and generous starter that could be shared, or again, used as a light lunch as a main. The dish was well presented and so fresh, it was like summer on a plate.
For our mains, we were again treated to a selection of key dishes. The surprise dish for us was the chicken Laab Moo Salad (£8.50). Admittedly it looked a little insipid when it arrived but looks can be deceiving… so very deceiving. This salad sits you up, slaps you in the face with freshness and then kicks you up the bum with heat. An absolute winner at our table! The hot and sour worked well together with the chicken and the fresh crisp vegetables. I wouldn’t order this as a main but I would certainly split it as a side dish to accompany another dish as it was delicious.
A Thai staple – a green curry – Geang Kiew Wan Gai (£9) delivered that iconic taste of Thailand that most people are probably familiar with. Served with Jasmine Rice, this was a great dish if chilli heat isn’t your bag.
The Moo Prik Ging (£9) is pork belly in red curry sauce. I managed to snaffle 1 green bean before husband ate the entire dish to himself as he said it was moreish. Hot and spicy, the meat was tender and cubed in to perfect bite sized pieces. I can’t give any better description of this other than the plate was wiped clean in 2 minutes flat! A definite re-order from us I think!
My favourite was the Prawn Pad Thai (£11). Lord knows where they got these monster prawns from but I was impressed! The sweetness of the sauce coated the flat noodles and counterbalanced the sourness of the tamarind. Spicy, but not hot, this was a welcome reprieve at the table after the chicken salad and both curries. Again the crisp freshness of the vegetables was apparent.
Vicky was served her own Pad Thai Jay (£8) which was packed with crispy tofu, veg, egg ribbons and the same sauce as our version. The tofu was filling alongside the noodles which made the dish a winner. Tasty, filling goodness for £8? Yes please!
All the dishes are generous and could easily be shared so you get to try more. The salt + pepper squid and the pad thai were the highlights for me, in fact the squid was so good, I am working out when I can go back and have more! The dishes are well put together and the ingredients were very clearly fresh. We have all had those limp thai food in other restaurants with mushy veg!
If this is the start of things to come from the Chaophraya group, I truly cannot wait for us to get our very own Chaophraya restaurant at the top of the all new Eldon Square dining complex. It looks incredible!
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