Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Thailand (Issan)

Esarn Kheaw
314 Uxbridge Road
020 8743 8930

The pleas of the photographer have fallen on deaf ears; my deaf, alarmingly red ears, which were captured for piss-poor posterity halfway through this meal, glowing like a red-hot poker, subtle as a fire alarm. No, picture taker, I'm not uploading your side-on portrait.

This is not a website where people come to laugh at me. It's where people come to laugh with me. But apart from a vintage PR mishap on the menu (Thames Water: 50p for a glass, £1 for a jug - oh you're so friendly, little local restaurant...), an amusing conversation with a Yemeni shopkeeper on the street (Me: "Good luck getting rid of your president!" Him: "You too!"), and a spotting of Adrian "I'm An Average Bloke You'd Find Down The Pub Drinking A Pint Of Beer" Chiles down the pub drinking a pint of beer, it wasn't an evening for laughs. It was an evening for serious - and thanks to Groupon*, seriously cheap - Thai food.

My ears turned red for the following reasons, listed in order of detectability: chilli, coriander, garlic, lime, onion and fish sauce. But mostly chilli. Daintily sprinkled over the northeast-style papaya salad, the red stuff menaced my mouth receptors like a whip to a masochist's backside. I purred.

Strictly adhering to a northeast-only diet, we ordered and adored the chicken marinaded in lemon and lime juice, onion, chilli, coriander and fish sauce. Purrrrr. And despite our calculations hinting at a mark-up of over 1,600%, we loved the son-in-law eggs, and not only for the silly name (something to do with your wife's mother threatening to use your genitals instead of eggs next time she cooks if you misbehave, so careful now, chaps). The deep-fried eggs came drizzled in a garlicky, lobe-glowingly sweet and sour sauce. Crispy sundried strips of beef and a pot of sticky rice rounded off the meal. Purrrfect.

Esarn Kheaw is a great little restaurant on a road full of Dovi possibilities. Nearby there's Mr Falafel (Palestine) and his eponymous stuffed snack, Red Sea (Yemen/Somalia/other failing states), Nepalese Tandoori (clue in name) and a bunch of Middle Eastern places including Dovi veteran Abu Zaad. I'm going back to Esarn Kheaw tomorrow - another Groupon** voucher to use up. I'll be the one with the red ears.

* Can I have £6 free credit for this plug?
** And the same again for this one please.

Esarn Kheaw on Urbanspoon


catering ny said...

Wow. Asian cuisine has variety of recipes and menus. Different part in Asia has own type of culture cuisine that really touches your appetite.

Brad @ Gastronoms said...

Glad that you like it - Esarn Kheaw is definitely one of my favourite Thai restaurants in London at the moment (if not my favourite). I too used the Groupon voucher, although have been back three or four times since.

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