I have been meaning to call here for quite some time now and once even got inside but, having arranged to meet someone and with only half an hour to spare, I walked out when I saw the size of the portions! Today I was back to being Billy Nomates so time was not a factor.
I read about Mommy Thai in an article in The Times a few months ago so decided to give it a go. I am pleased that I did but I must say that I left a little disappointed. They have a great value lunch deal which is served every day between noon and 4.00pm at £7.95 for two courses, in my case a starter and a main. This being a Thai establishment, however, they are both served in the traditional way on the same plate and at the same time.
The atmosphere is definitely Thai cafe with basic tables and chairs. The posters on the ground floor walls add to the ambiance, as does the upstairs decor, which is where I dined. I took my seat at a small table for two, but given the size of the plates, or small trays as they really were, a pair of diners would be pushed to find enough horizontal space as was proven by the couple on the next table who I let impinge on mine to rid themselves of the cutlery tin and pickle carousel. For one, it was perfect.
A charming gentleman arrived to take my order which comprised Steam Pork Dumplings with fried garlic and dumpling sauce for starters and Kra Pow Moo Krob, thankfully translated as crispy pork, holy basil, chilli garlic, long bean on top of rice. (Add a fried egg for just £1) it continued, so I obeyed. I also got a bottle of Singha Beer to go with it all. The crispy pork dish was from the Foodie’s Menu rather than the normal one so I was informed of a further £1 surcharge. I didn’t mind this because at least I had been told before I ordered, unlike my experience at a Vietnamese place just round the corner a few months ago. What with that and the egg, the meal was £9.95, still good value for what was promised, the beer adding a further £3.50, again not out of the way.
Thankfully the bottle swiftly arrived and was perfectly chilled without being too icy. It was joined after a few minutes, and a couple of small sips, by the food. As I mentioned the whole shebang came on the same dish and looked delicious although when viewed from one angle there was a gap on the plate making it look as though there was something missing. I checked to make sure that this was not the case and, having satisfied myself that it was all present and correct, dug in. The dumplings were amazing, lovely and moist packed with minced pork which still had texture to it. The sauce was superb and the fried garlic topping crisp as a contrasting texture. Sadly the same could not be said for the ‘crispy’ pork which was in no way crispy, just overdone and chewy to the point of being almost leather like and only tepid. The taste was really good and meant that I finished eating the meat but the damage was done. The odd piece was on the tender side and therefore much better but crispy means crispy and, as there seemed to be very little fat content I fail to see how they hoped ever to make it so. The heat, or lack of it, seemed to indicate that it had been kept warm also preventing the promised texture. The rice was bog standard boiled and the egg on top was borderline rubbery. I have had fried eggs on Thai food before so I know that it should have been better than this.
I am not normally one to shy away from dessert, even if I have somewhat overindulged in the mains but the only three puds on offer were also based on rice this time so I passed.
All in all I was very disappointed, ironically because the things which were done well, i.e. the dumplings and the rice showed what the kitchen was capable of thus highlighting the failure of the egg and pork. I hope that this was just an aberration and that everything is normally wonderful but that is why I write these articles incognito, so that I get the normal experience. It must also be pointed out that this is a cash only eatery so please make sure that you have the necessary readies when it comes to settling the bill. There is a small sign to this effect by the till but it is better you know before you call.
As is usually the case, everyone else’s choices looked far more appetising than mine, but I dare say that they all thought the same about the pork. Looks can often be deceptive, take me for example, I am not really fat and bald once you get to know me.