Tonight it’s back to my blog’s birthplace and spiritual home (or one of them anyway), Covent Garden, for a taste of Thailand. I’ve visited the country several times (which you’ve no doubt read here) and do really love Thai food, so the chance to try somewhere new is always a pleasure.
SUDA has been open nearly three years and is just off St Martin’s Lane, set in a stylish courtyard (gotta love a courtyard)! It’s in a wonderful position as you can explore the buzz and excitement of the packed pavements of Covent Garden and Leicester Square, as well as getting away from it pretty instantly for a bit of relief and laid-back relaxation.
There’s a lovely downstairs bar which serves a range of delicious cocktails. The restaurant is upstairs, it’s spacious and light-filled, overlooking the courtyard and shops below.
The menu offers flavours from across the whole country, so there’s lots to choose from, including some really different dishes I hadn’t had before.
Starters sounded intriguing with a mix of old favourites and some excitingly different dishes. The Pla Hor Bai Teoy or pandan-wrapped sea bass marinated with coriander root and sesame is totally fabulous. These little parcels of deliciousness reveal sweet and spicy pieces of plump sea bass, piping hot! Wow.
You can also tuck into lovely satays (a regular lunch favourite of mine when in Thailand), chicken and crab firecrackers or Thai fish and prawn lollipops. How exotic does that sound? One of their Signature starters is a fresh rice wrap filled with braised duck and Thai herbs. Abundant with freshness and crunchiness it’s served with the dipping sauce in the bottom of each little glass, the taste of summer in a wrap.
For mains you need to make a decision on what sort of dish you’re desiring, choosing from curries, noodles, stir-fries, soups and salads and then decide on your variant, ie what sort of meat …well that’s the best way I thought about doing it!
And it worked. I think we managed to choose one of the delights of the menu. Kai Soi Gai (Chiang Mai style yellow curry noodle soup with chicken) comes from the north of Thailand (which I’ve never visited) and was quite a revelation with a unique flavour. Touches of aniseed and tamarind added a real depth to this wonderful broth and the chicken was beautifully tender and tasty.
SUDA has a section on the menu dedicated to Som Tum, the classic Thai green papaya salad. Green papaya is grated, mixed with other salad ingredients like tomatoes and grated carrots and sprinkled with peanuts and a spicy dressing. A zesty, crunchy combo of amazing textures and flavours. It’s served with a range of grilled meat, and we opted for the Gae Yang Som Tum where it came with grilled lamp chops with lemongrass and chilli sauce. Tender meat, great sauce, amazing salad, the perfect combination. A beautifully colourful plate, too.
The downstairs bar is the perfect place for a tasty post-work cocktail if you don’t have time for dinner.
Service is friendly and helpful and the food…well, let’s just say we eat a lot of Thai food and this is the best we’ve had for quite some time. And it’s great value, too.
Oh and a word of advice from a Covent Garden veteran. Avoid Covent Garden tube station, which has lifts rather than escalators, resulting in a lot of queuing and some pushing. Rather catch the tube to Leicester Square or Charing Cross, depending what part of Covent Garden you are visiting. SUDA is about five minutes walk from Leicester Square. And NEVER get the tube from Leicester Square to Covent Garden (something I did for years when I moved to London). It’s a very pleasant and short walk!
SUDA Thai is at St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden.