16 February 2009
When you hear of pavilions in Kennington it is easy to think you are spending a day at the Oval, either watching leather hit willow or if at a Twenty20 encounter watching the punters getting leathered in a quite different manner, writes John Prendergast...
Down Kennington Road there is another pavilion to rival this fine historic centre for sport, which serves some mighty fine Thai cuisine in a pleasing easy atmosphere.
Being from Peckham I am always loath to hand over any of my belongings to anybody in case they do a runner, so when the staff offered to take my coat it took a minute or two of persuasion from the missus before I handed over any of my goods.
But it was a theme that was repeated all evening, where staff took time to make you feel at ease and help make your evening a pleasant stay.
The missus had met me directly from an acting class, as she is aspiring for a lead role in the West End one day. So it was handy to be given a lengthy menu to study while she waffled on about the mental exertions of pretending to be a tree for an hour - money well spent I'm sure.
There's plenty on offer with a range of fish and meat dishes, as well as a wide variety for those not of a carnivorous leaning.
We both tried to go a bit left field with our starters, with myself going for a Mee Krob, a crispy noodle dish with deep fried chicken and a sweet tamarind sauce, while the missus took the advice of the waitress and opted for Miang Thai.
Both were presently beautifully, with the Miang Thai proving to be a really delicious opener to the evening. A wonderful simply dish of chapou leaves filled with a mix of spices and subtle flavours with a hint of coconut, but unusually coupled with a nice kick of chilli. The menu promised this dish was sensational and it lived up to the pre-match hype.
The Mee Krob was a much sweeter affair, but still pretty tasty, with the crispy noodles giving the dish a real crunch which we lapped up in a manner that was much too quick, and unhealthy, for either of our digestive systems.
Regulars to my reviews will know the missus has a tendency to eat like a competitor in the World Hot Dog speed eating championships - a must watch for those who have not tuned in so far - so rather anally I have slapped a ten minute rule on her meals. So now she has to take at least that time to savour her food, all in aid of looking after her future health I can assure you.
This new regime was not assisted by the Pad Thai that was served up, lovely and sweet with delicious light noodles that made it even more difficult for her to put the cutlery down than it normally is. For this one instance I relaxed my draconian rules, and off the leash the missus gobbled up her meal.
With further assistance from the staff I went for the Balinese Curry, with the warning that it was a touch hot, and it was a delight. It lacked the expected heat that was promised, but the lovely aroma drew you in and the duck in the curry was cooked perfectly. As I said there was a lack of a fierce spicy flavour, but it left a lingering tingle that was nevertheless pleasing.
It perhaps should not come have as a surprise that the meal was a success, since the pavilion has been awarded the Thai Select Award from the Royal Thai Government. From the ornate garnish, such as a carrot cut in the shape of a flower, and fruit that is dished out it is clear the chefs here need little reason to show off their elaborate skills.
The venue itself was open and spacious with a steady crowd on the evening we attended and you can imagine on a sunny day the glass venue is even more delightful to sit in. Being sited opposite Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park the view is quite pleasant, despite the busy road in between, and being open from eleven to eleven every day there is every chance for the people of Southwark to tip toe over the border and enjoy some delicious fare.
The advantage that Thai food has over Indian food, and Kennington Road has two restaurants that serve great food of the latter type, is that when you finish you feel full but not stuffed to the brim. Happy we had found a new favourite Thai venue, myself and the missus strolled off to meet a few old friends with her relaying some more of her luvvy tales and myself wishing I had bought my ipod along.
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