Recommended to us food blogger types on more than one occasion by Ravenous Fox (and you need to bookmark his site if you love ogling delicious recipes as much as I do), I made a point of finally getting round to trying Thai House Cafe this week. Compared to the flashing neon and kitsch bric-a-brac of Zaap Newcastle, Thai House is an unassuming and low key eatery located not far away on Clayton Street.
The welcome was warm, and straight away staff made a beeline for Dinky. It was quiet when we arrived but that didn’t last long. Thai House Cafe may have the feel of a hidden gem, but it definitely attracts the punters. A dreary Wednesday night and they’d run out of tables before we’d finished our meal. I digress..
The menu was overwhelming, especially as it heavily features meat and fish. Wading through pages of options, we were concerned about that sneaky ingredient – fish sauce. We chatted about what was suitable, and they seemed slightly confused by the concept of veganism. I had a rough idea what could be ok for Mr. Canny to eat from the selection, but didn’t want to presume.
An off-menu clear broth with Tofu, vegetables and glass noodles was created for him, although the listed red bean paste alternative would have been fine too. After further discussion in which Mr. Canny explained he wasn’t allergic to beans and ate soya, our lovely waitress brought the sauce out for him to mix in himself. This enlivened what was quite a bland bowl of food with a hit of umami, it has to be said. Clarity on their ingredients and allergens would avoid these issues in future.
I ordered myself Tofu & Vegetable Massaman, which the Teen stole from me. Comparing to Zaap’s version, I feel this one knocks its socks off. Creamy, with an aromatic warmth to it and vegetables still al dente, this tastes like the real deal. The bowl was large enough for two to share, although we hadn’t realised that until the plates arrived.
A mix of sweetcorn, cauliflower, aubergine, mushrooms and carrots, the chunks of tofu were an added bonus in the coconut milk and peanut sauce. The only way this could have been improved is with a scattering of freshly chopped coriander, but the Teen welcomed its omission.
He spurned his own main of Pad Phed, which is a spicy stir-fry dish, as the taste of Star Anise was off-putting to him. It had more heat than the Massaman, and benefited from a drizzle of coconut cream to finish it off. I enjoyed his spoils.
It would be easy to avoid new restaurants on account of our dietary requirements, but sometimes you have to put faith in the skill of a kitchen to conjure up dishes that are going to be suitable. Thai House Cafe’s staff weren’t perfect in understanding veganism, but they gamely tried to accommodate. They were especially good with Dinky, taking her off while we tucked into our main courses. At £42 for 3 mains and drinks, which included beers for Mr. Canny, we thought the prices weren’t bad. With large portions, we’d recommend perhaps sharing a main between two which leaves room to try out their starters too.
There’s a quirky line of brightly coloured sodas served in glasses, which I was slightly disappointed not to have tried when I saw them served up. It would be good for them to post their menu online, allowing people to browse the options on offer ahead of time. Their Facebook page doesn’t enlighten on the subject either, with posts written in Thai. These are small complaints about a restaurant that serves up some of the best Thai food you’ll find in the Toon, and is a must-visit.
Thanks for reading,
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