London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Covent Garden

Thai restaurants are ten-a-penny in London, so it takes something a little special to stand out from the crowd. When the competition is as strong as it is, everything has to be first class for the restaurant to survive. Occasionally though, a new venue emerges that should flourish and will soon be considered in the top-drawer. Covent Garden's Suda is one such restaurant.

In the last couple of years, a whole new courtyard has appeared between St Martin's Lane and Long Acre housing various restaurants, most obviously Jamie's Italian and Cantina Laredo, which have entrances on the main road, but Suda is hidden away from view at the heart of the courtyard. This concealment prevents it from being swamped with tourists and keeps it as a secret for those in the know.

The whole development is brand new, so the restaurant itself looks very modern with a glass and chrome exterior hiding a contemporary dining room inside. The walls are adorned with artistic photographs, part of an exhibition, but the majority of the fixtures and fittings are the very essence of sleek modernity. The mid-week atmosphere is sparkling without being boisterous with attentive staff ready to help.

While we explored the menu, we sampled a couple of the delicious house cocktails. The Strawberry Lovers is a refreshing and fruity mix of vodka, fresh strawberries, basil and champagne, while the Thai Sunrise, which consisted of tequila, Cointreau, passion fruit, lime juice, sugar, grenadine, packed a bit more of a punch. Stronger than expected, it certainly helped us build up an appetite.

Quickly, our starters arrived and their presentation was possibly the highlight of the whole meal, and tasting them revealed them to be as delicious as they appeared. The fresh rice wrap with braised duck and Thai herbs (Guaytiew Liu Suan), a house special, was presented in four shot glasses, the soft wrap reminiscent of dim sum rice flour casings. The duck was aromatic and tender with fresh, crisp vegetables. The second starter was crabmeat rolls with five spice tofu served with tamarind sauce (Porpia-Sod). Served in tall glasses, the rolls were around seven inches long and pencil-thin with the crab and tofu mixture running through the full length. These were fried with crispy coating, with the tamarind sauce like a spiced, sweet jam in which to dip them.

Having worked up a sufficient appetite, we didn't have to wait too long for our main courses. The menu had set these out into separate categories to aid our decision, with stir fries, grilled food and Tom Sum, all presented separately. The Tom Sum particularly appealed, a spicy salad, with papaya, dried shrimp, fish sauce and lime which we ordered alongside a grilled lamb chop with lemongrass. To say this was spicy would be an understatement, this is definitely one for lovers of chili but we definitely recommend it if heat is your thing. The meat is soft and delicately flavoured, and complemented well by the accompanying jasmine rice.

We also tasted the tenderloin of beef in oyster sauce with pak choi (Nua Phad Nam Man Hoy), served with the sticky rice and a side of broccoli with shiitake mushrooms. The beef was outstandingly delicate and really melted in the mouth while the rice was the stickiest we've ever seen. If we had to find any fault though, it would be that the portions were slightly on the small side. Probably a good thing if you're watching your waistline, but we recommend ordering a side dish of veg with your main course.

All in all, we certainly recommend Suda. A delightfully modern Thai restaurant with attentive service and first class food, you just have to know where to look.....

St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2E 9AB

Average price for main meal: £9
Average price for a glass of wine: £5
Food and drink: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Price: 4/5


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