Sorry that I am starting to repeat myself but it is almost impossible to find palatable and authentic Thai food in London. Thai food in London is generic, usually too greasy and by far not spicy enough. Â Diners who have not been to Thailand and enjoyed the gorgeous and multifaceted cuisine of this beautiful country, are made to believe by chains such as Busaba Eathai that this is the way Thai food is supposed to taste like. Â Siam Central in Charlotte Street is just another restaurant in the same vein. Â The food is ok and very cheap, it’s just not Thai.
Siam CentralÂ has a ‘normal’ menu and as well as – hitting the pulse of time – a Thai tapas menu. Â ’Thai tapas menu’ certainly sounds more exciting than it is, as it basically consists of an uninspired variety of Thai starters (mostly fried) and some salads that you would usually find on a normal menu. Â We ordered 2 Thai tapas (or, as I would call them, starters).
I didn’t like the Prawn and Chicken Dumplings (4) which came with a soy based garlic dipping sauce. Â The open dumplings stuffed with a tasteless filling of unpleasantly mushy consistency and questionable origin were far too greasy. Â As opposed to many Thai restaurants, Â Siam CentralÂ Â was not stingy on the green papaya for my obligatory Green Papaya Salad (5). Â It was not a bad little salad but had little to do with the wonderful and mind-blowingly spicy variant I had every day freshly made to order on Koh Samui beach. Â In fact it totally lacked chillies and I also couldn’t detect any dried shrimp.
Â Drunken Noodles with Chicken (6) were a cheap and filling dish and it is this kind of comfort food that you just eat without feeling any real pleasure. Â Again it was too greasy and prepared with mild chillies. Yawn. Â The menu suggested that there should Thai holy basil in this dish. Â We carefully searched the whole plate and identified one wilted leaf that might have in its prime been holy basil. Â A generous additionÂ of this aromatic herb which would have certainly improved this one-dimensional dish. Â TheÂ Green Curry with Beef (6.25) was decent but again far too conservative on the spice. Â It was advertised as coming with aubergines, and I did manage to find one little piece.
I have yet to find a Charlotte Street restaurant I want to return to Â (apart from Yog that is) and Siam CentralÂ is certainly not going to become my new favourite Thai. Â I would probably not mind eating there in my lunch break or, if I lived in the flat above, I might pick up a take away from there once in a while. Â The food is edible but so indistinct and without character that it mainly serves the purpose of suppressing hunger rather than giving you a pleasurable experience.
- Food: 5/10
- Ambiance: 5/10
- Service:Â 6/10
- Value for Money: 6/10
- Chances of Returning: 5%
- Verdict:Â Siam Central is fine for a quick lunch or informal dinner to recession-busting prices, stay away though if you fancy “real” Thai.