Saturday, 31 May 2014

Janetira, Soho

The best food I have had in Thailand was the cheapest.  The kind cooked up at the side of the street, in tiny but incredibly efficient makeshift kitchens.  Fragrant, rich massaman curry in cheery plastic bowls, crispy chicken skewers wandering through sticky Bangkok and tangy Pad Thai.  All the perfect mix of spice/salt/sour/sweet.

I haven’t been very exhaustive in my search, but the Thai food I’ve had in London has mainly just a bit lack-lustre, lacking the vibrancy.  I need to explore more (including The Begging Bowl, and Som Saa).  I’d also like to cook more from my copy of David Thompson’s Thai Street Food – an absolutely beautiful book, but the giant size and giant lists of ingredients/recipe steps seems to have stopped me so far.

But in the meantime, the very good (and inexpensive) Janetira on Soho’s Brewer Street is where to go for a fix.  I had seen a few mentions recently, all name-checking the scary sounding mackerel curry.  It gets 6 chilli symbols on the menu (most dishes with one, two or none).  There’s a board that lists their recommendations, including the mackerel, labelled as ‘super duper spicy’.  We wussed out, and instead went for the other three on the board.

First - the crispy pork, rather confusingly on the ‘vegetable section’ of the full menu.  There was kale, but rather big chunks or tender pork belly with crisp fat too.  The other smaller plate was the excellently titled son in law balls, which is actually crispy fried eggs, with a sweet/sour tamarind sauce and sprinkling of crispy onions.




From the bigger plates, the Moo Ping pork skewers were tender, crispy on the outside, with a neat parcel of sticky rice, and a little dish of spicy sauce packed with chilli and fish sauce.  The final dish came from the noodle section on the full menu, the noodles bobbing in a delicious, deeply-savoury red curry sauce, complete with golden fried shredded wanton and a chicken drumstick.  A really comforting bowl.


The bill was £20 each, with service and a bottle of Singha.  Before I (finally) get round to cooking from Thompson’s Thai Street Food, I’ll be back to try more of the dishes.  It’s the best Thai food I’ve had in the city to date, and a good start to a bit of further exploration this summer.

(We sat under a red light, hence the lovely glow to all the above photos)


Janetira on Urbanspoon

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