Restaurant Review: Koh Thai Tapas

I’ve always loved the sound of Thai food and the ingredients involved, but had yet to go to a really good Thai restaurant. So as soon as I saw this new place, I was intrigued – not just by the style of cooking but also the concept of tapas, because that’s my idea of a really great meal: a proper feast, with loads of different dishes to help yourself from.

So there was a lot riding on this place – but it certainly didn’t disappoint. The former premises of La Tasca on Broad St have been stylishly renovated to house this new restaurant, part of a small but evidently successful chain originally from Bournemouth, and the staff were cheerful and friendly, creating a lovely warm atmosphere. We pored over the menu for quite some time, trying to choose from a huge array of tempting things, before deciding not to restrain ourselves and ordering recklessly left, right and centre. When the food came, we could barely fit it all on the table, but even with ten dishes between three of us and a bottle of wine, it only came to £22 a head – not bad considering we were properly stuffed by the end of it. The individual dishes start at £4.95 each and there are loads to choose from, so if you share a variety with a few friends you can end up with a really good deal.

The great thing about a menu like this, particularly when it’s a cuisine you haven’t really tried before, is that you can try lots of different dishes and it doesn’t matter if you don’t like one of them. That said, I enjoyed every scrap of every dish we ordered – squid tempura, beautifully light and crispy with a sweet, spicy dipping sauce, tender grilled chicken with rich satay sauce, creamy penang chicken curry, dim sum so beautifully light in texture that it was almost melt-in-the-mouth. The side dishes were gorgeous too – I particularly liked the sticky rice, which I hadn’t tried before; perfect for breaking off and using to mop up all those lovely sauces.

As I said, our table was positively groaning with food, but none of us could bring ourselves to stop until the plates were scraped clean. To me, that’s the real sign of a good restaurant. That, and the fact that when I walked past the following day (less than 24 hours after we’d filled ourselves to bursting with good Thai food), I caught myself wondering if it was too soon to pop in for lunch.