I love Thai food: the chillies, the freshness, the wonderful herbs and spices amalgamating in simple but at the same time exceptionally flavoursome dishes. I have been to Thailand on three occasions and have eaten my way back and forth through the Thai menu, in fact I decided then that I could easily live on nothing but Thai food for the rest of my life.
Trying to recreate a similar gastronomical experience in London has proved much more difficult than expected. I have tried a plethora of different Thai restaurants in the capital in search for THE one, for my favourite Thai, but even though I found a few cheap Thai places that I quite like, such as Suchard in Bermondsey or Yelo in Hoxton,Â their food seems rather tuned down and Westernised. I am not even mentioning places like Rosa and Busaba Ethai, which sadly have rather little in common with the cuisine I experienced in Thailand. Another irritating fact is that most Thai places in London have the same generic menu offering only few dishes that are not variations of Thai classics (such as papaya salad, prawn toast, pad Thai, green and red curry and gaprow).
So I was all the more excited when I read about The Skinny Bib’s discovery, namely The Heron in Edgeware Road. I should probably mention that the Skinny Bib is not only food blogger with excellent and reliable taste buds, but also Thai, so an opinion that needs to be trusted.
So I joined The Skinny Bib, the other bib and Tamarind and Thyme for a Thai feast. (all the pictures are courtesy of Su-Lin from Tamarind and Thyme, even though it says HungryinLondon on them, I don’t know how to get rid off this, but they are hers).
The Heron is a pub in the middle of a council estate and no one would ever imagine that it hosts a Thai eaterie in the basement. In front of the door some smoking beer drinking locals look like straight out of the Jeremy Kyle show. Through the pub entrance right and down the stairs you just need to follow the Thai tunes and end up in a little Bangkok. Thai waiters and chefs, Thai patrons and – to add a finishing touch – a Thai karaoke screen on the wall (for the courageous among you).
What you have to know about the Heron is, that there is a ‘tourist menu‘ (the same generic menu described above) and a menu for Thais. This menu is the interesting one and lovely Skinny Bib has translated for us! So print out his translation and head for some of the most authentic, delicious and mind-blowingly spicy (in a good way) Thai food. And some of the dishes were seriously weird (in a good way), please look at the catfish salad and tell me if this looks like fish to you:
I won’t bore you with descriptions, just look at the pictures and imagine a lot of spice, coriander, lemon grass, ginger, fish sauce, lime leaves and ingredients you have no idea what they could possibly be.
All was good. If I had to choose my favourites it would be the salads (the Thai sausage one was absolutely superb, the papaya salad fresh and zingy and the squid one full of stunning textures and flavours) and the beautiful Tom Yum Soup. Price-wise, most mains range around 8 or 9 pounds, so if you don’t overorder or drink too much Singha beer, you should not be payingÂ more than 20 quid a head.
I can’t wait to go back! In my books, this is the best Thai in London.
- Food: 8.5/0
- Atmosphere: 8/10 (for the authenticity) 5/10 (if you don’t like Thai pop_
- Service: 6.5/10
- Value for Money: 8/10
- Chances of returning: 100%
- Verdict: this is one of these rare finds that make it worth being a foodie in search of the ultimate pleasure. Great place!