In contrast to other trendy Thai chain eateries in London that serve far less impressive food, Nam Thai in the Borough of Bromley prides itself on serving rich and authentic dishes.
A small family-run restaurant on East Street in Bromley, it opened just three years ago, and since then has built up a loyal following and garnered glowing reviews.
Originally from northern Thailand, the owners noticed that there was hardly any Thai cuisine in their neighborhood, and saw it as an opportunity to present thoughtfully made northern Thai home cooking in London.
Their set lunch is a rare gem. For £10 (US$13.50), you can take your pick from a selection of sumptuous two-course set menus. Spring rolls are made fresh to order, crispy and appetizing, served with the a rather spicy sweet-chili dipping sauce. Deep-fried, seasoned fishcake, made with ground fish, beans and red curry paste, was also refreshing to the palate.
For the main dishes, the restaurant’s signature coconut-based green curry (kaeng khiew wan) is mildly sweet, rich and fragrant with meat of your choice, French beans and Thai herbs, and perfectly matched with fragrant jasmine rice.
For those who are after something more exotic than pat Thai, why not try the pad bai kha bow, made with aromatic fried rice noodles, peppers, French beans, Thai basil, and chili mixed with pork and onions. Cooked in sweet, flavorsome Thai soy sauce and chili, the noodles reach a delicious al dente state.
Served in a ceramic pot, the tom yum soup was spicy but not overly so, filled with prawns and hearty vegetables such as carrots and celery, and spiced with lemongrass. Cooked with garlic and bean paste, Nam Thai’s stir-fry morning glory must be the best in town.
The warm, graceful decor of the restaurant – with its delicate wooden carvings and wall murals – exudes a sense of tranquillity, and for a moment you feel as if you have been transported to Thailand. The serving staff are friendly and helpful, although they seem to struggle to give diners due attention when the restaurant gets busy.
For those who enjoy rich meat dishes, Nam Thai’s slow-cooked Massaman lamb shank is a classic. But there is a delightful range of dishes on the menu to suit the taste of all diners, from spicy steamed fish to fried soft-shell crab to weeping tiger (grilled sirloin steak with a spicy dip). In addition to vegetarian dishes, vegetarian diners can also request curries and stir-fry dishes to be made with tofu, giving them plenty to choose from.
Finally, the sweet sticky rice served with fresh mango is simply divine, with its delicate balance of coconut milk and fresh fruit. So make sure you don’t miss it.
Located outside central London, Bromley is just a 20-minute direct train ride from London Victoria station. If you are interested in authentic Thai food in London, it is certainly worth the trip.
Address: 38A East Street, Bromley BR1 1QU, England.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12-2:30pm/5:30-10:30pm.