I was warned against this place before moving to London, but I figured I had nothing to lose – the restaurant’s close to my yoga studio, and I only had an hour to nourish my belly and get back to campus for a friend’s recital.
Oh so wrong.
I called the restaurant from the yoga studio, ordering shrimp rolls and pad thai. Two very standard (and difficult to mess up) items, that should be at least average at any Thai restaurant (or restaurant claiming to be Thai). I was ravenous after my yoga class, and pulled out my stuffed-to-the-brim clam shell of pad thai. With my splintery disposable chopsticks, I shoveled a few steaming bites into my mouth. My mouth was burning 12 seconds later – not because of the steam, but the excessive sambal (which is an Indonesian chili paste, no?). Yes, that’s right – burning. And I can take spice, usually even from authentic Asian restaurants. Even worse, the sweet-salty-bitter-spicy balance was off: too bitter (see note about spice), too salty (excessive fish sauce).
No saving grace with the ridiculously priced (6.95$ for two!) shrimp rolls. I had originally thought that splurging the extra 1.45$ extra for shrimp would be worth it and that I had nothing to lose. Oooooh dear. I was wrong to expect a Montreal-pho-house quality of spring roll, but I had a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, it would be at least mediocre-to-average quality. Nope. No herbs (?!). Piddly amount of cucumber. One piece of shrimp. Something that vaguely resembled white noodles. Tiny serving. And the peanut sauce was not peanut sauce: it was a dollop of peanut butter in a lot of way-too-sweet coconut milk. Of course, the extremely large and topped to the brim container of condiment that comes with a takeout order never makes sense either, but that’s a tangentially related rant.
Bangkok Pad Thai
735 Richmond Street