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Wednesday 24 October 2012

Bargain Refuel at Thai Pepper

Rich gives the low down on our visit to Thai Pepper before our night of guilty pleasures at The Gallimaufry, which was sing-a-long enjoyable fun.

Thai Pepper is one of many Thai restaurants now peppering Bristol, and which is widely accepted by most as being a good ‘cheap and cheerful’ dining experience. Situated on Cheltenham Road and armed with a slightly basic and dated website, ‘cheap and cheerful’ does undersell the venue somewhat.
Very Pretty Crockery
A small restaurant, and light on decoration it offers a ‘bring your own’ alcohol policy that it puts down to religious reasons, and happily only charges a small corkage fee of £2 per person. The menu is also large and varied (without being too much so) and offers a good selection of vegetarian options.
Prawn Cracker Boat
Owing to the cheap prices on offer, and wanting to have a decent amount to review, we picked a selection of starters to share, taking in Thai prawn crackers, Ka Nom Pung Na Gung (prawn toast) and Taow Hoo Tord (fried bean curd). Off to a good start, the crackers had flavour (as let’s face it, most don’t) the prawn toast was light, non-greasy and very meaty, while the fried bean curd was just delicious.
Prawn Toast
Fried Bean Curd
What though was particularly nice with each of these starters was the sweet chilli dip that came with all of them. Where too many chilli dips have a thick cloying syrupy texture and are more sweet than chilli, this one had a lightness to it and a nice clean and sharp tang to it, that just added to each of the dishes. Whether it was a home made or bought sauce we don’t know, but I’d really love it if more restaurants used this sauce instead of the usual bought chilli syrups you normally find.
Gai Path Ma Muang Him Ma Parn (chicken & cashew)
Mu Path Pick (pork with ginger)
On to the mains, and my lady dining companions opted for Mu Path Pick pork and Gai Path Ma Muang Him Ma Parn, or to be more helpful, pork stir fried with fresh ginger, spring onion and mushroom, and chicken with cashew nuts, spring onion and mushrooms. Both of which got a positive double thumbs up. I went for the Paht Pick Khing pork, which is medium-to-hot red paste stir fried pork dish usually served with green beans, and having had a fair few in my time, of varying quality, I was very surprised with just how good this one was. A very moreish chilli flavour was complemented brilliantly with the infusion from citrus leaves.
Paht Pick Khing
Food then, good , and the drinks (in this case our own white wine acquired from Corks Of Cotham) also very good. ‘Cheap and cheerful’ does it a disservice, as while not 5-star dining , it does do very good and nicely presented Thai food for a very good price, and on those standards it does very well. The service was perhaps a little slow, and stuck behind a plant and pillar we were in a fairly bad position to get anyone's attention, but overall no complaints and the food was very tasty. So if you are feeling the pinch but still fancy a treat, two courses with wine worked out at about £14 each but mains are under the £7 mark if you wanted to tighten the belt even more. To check out the menu visit their website.

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