In the world of the restaurateur, “chain” is something of an ugly word. Conjuring images of fast food franchises and picture-heavy menus, it doesn’t instil confidence. However, recently there has been something of a campaign against this slightly hipster assertion that independent is best.
Thai Square is one such name which is turning the tide. Having been to their expansive riverside restaurant in Putney, with its unique architecture, bold decor and distinctly thai theme, I was keen to try out their newer premises north of the river in West London’s Fulham.
Upon entering the restaurant, it’s clear that style and class are high priorities. Despite being long and narrow, the restaurant is moodily lit, a wall striped with mirrors creating the illusion of space. Sat near the front of the restaurant, armed with sparkling cutlery and an extensive menu, we made our selections.
To start, I went for the duck spring rolls while my guest chose the grilled scallops, which were beautifully cooked and served in a light yet spicy sauce. Nesstled amongst cabbage, spring onions, carrots and vermicelli, there was less duck in the spring rolls than I expected, but the flavour of the meat shone through. Furthermore, as is always the case with a good hoi sin, the sauce was both viscous and deliciously sweet.
Having washed down the starters with colourful cocktails, the mains soon arrived. I had chosen the lobster noodles while my guest had gone for the Jungle Curry. Like a normal person, I was expecting to receive a noodle dish containing pieces of lobster. However, this was something of an underestimation of what is Thai Square’s most extravagant dish. A whole lobster is served on a bed of egg noodles in black pepper sauce.
The majority of the lobster is fried and then placed back into its shell. However, the rest of the lobster, including the all-important claws, is steamed. This leaves you to pry the meat out of the claws in the traditional way, nutcrackers and all.
By far the most luxurious noodle dish I’ve eaten, the lobster noodles was a real treat. A great mix of textures, paired perfectly with a mild yet flavoursome sauce, this wildcard of a dish was the star of the show. My only complaint would be that there was too much lobster which, when you think about it, isn’t really a valid complaint at all.
The Jungle Curry didn’t disappoint either. It had a certain freshness about it and the spiciness you would expect. They were the perfect dishes to share - while the lobster provided quantity, the Jungle Curry provided a kick.
Far too full of lobster, spice and all things nice, dessert was most definitely not on the cards. Two starters, two mains and two cocktails each came to £97.
In West London, there’s plenty of competition when it comes to dining out. But with its Buddhist decor, strong Eastern influences and top quality food, Thai Square stands out from the crowd.