WE HAVE a saying around our house of “Well, you just failed Mr and Mrs”.
It’s trotted out when one of us gets something wrong on the other’s likes and dislikes.
I had been labouring under the belief Mrs B wasn’t overly fond of Thai food because of her aversion to lemon grass.
So when we were looking for somewhere to eat with pals, I hesitated to suggest Royal Thai because “you’re not keen on Thai.”
“What makes you think that?” she said. “Thai’s fine.”
Oops. Still, at least it solved the where to eat dilemma.
Royal Thai is one of those Tardis like places on Crown Terrace. The door, one of many on the street, leads to a cavernous restaurant, that’s elegant, all dim lights, blue spots and slightly mysterious.
We opted for sharesies with one of the many banquet offerings.
The starters, brought with smiling speed and efficiency, offered a mountain of food.
The chicken satay skewers were tender, but really needed the peanuty satay sauce to add zing, while the ribs were meaty and more-ish thanks to the tang and slight smokiness of the sauce.
While we all “mmm-ed” over the spring rolls, the star attraction was the “laab moo” or the minced pork salad. This was a delight of noodles, slivers of carrots and onions all slathered in a sweet, sour and hot dressing.
And on to the next course – crispy duck for the rest of the crew, a spicy tom yum soup for me.
The duck was moist, crispy and rolled up with cucumber and spring onion was pancake paradise with perfect bite.
My soup was a stunning fragrant broth that carried a fierce kick – and two of the biggest king prawns I have ever seen.
By now the chat was as freely flowing as the food, with lots of laughs and praise for just how fresh and delicious everything had been. The smiles got bigger when the mains arrived.
The seafood dish saw more of those gigantic king prawns arriving, this time awash in a rich garlicky sauce that offered the occasional burst of whole pepper pod. It went well with the rice, that had char siu-style pork through it.
The shredded chilli chicken was the heavyweight on the heat front, with big blasts of chilli.
That was compensated for by the sweet notes of tamarind running through it. It combined well with the noodles, a meal in itself, full of veg and prawns.
The standout dish for me, though, was the beef. Aromatic, it had a coconut-based sauce with anise notes and, again, a fiery kick. I’d go back just for that.
Despite getting close to being stuffed, we still had a good go at the sweet trolley.
This was the only down note of the night. The humdrum cakes on offer were okay, but just not as spectacular – or Thai – as everything else.
Still, we were happy bunnies when we left – especially me because now I have a whole range of Thai restaurants to explore with my missus.