Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: Salathai Restaurant, Bath

Another review of a Thai restaurant I see! Yes, I cannot hide that I am rather obsessed with this cuisine. When I was very young, I believe about seven years old, I remember seeing a travel or cookery program on Thailand. At one point it showed a cook toasting huge amounts of coconut on a large hotplate thing. As soon as I saw this show, I went downstairs and said to my mum “Mummy, mummy, please can we go to a Thai restaurant! Pleeeease?? You can make it my birthday present if you want!”. Of course I got what I wanted, being the cunning foodie little seven year old that I was, and have been in love with Thai food ever since.

I’m a bit of a regular at Salathai, but only on weekday lunches, when it’s not very busy and they have a Fab lunch deal on (£5.50 for one course or £7.50 for two, with uggins of tea or coffee- and most of the menu available). Also it would be good to mention that it is no longer a ‘basement’ restaurant- they bought out the abandoned newsagents next to it and now seems much more noticeable and lighter.

It was a Sunday evening and a bit of an anniversary meal for me and Nick, and so was in good spirits. Talking about spirits, I arrived about ten minutes early and got seated, hoping to be asked for a drink order whilst I waited. Nope. Nothing. After I was sat down I was completely ignored. Nick arrived and they showed him to my table, and left us with the menu for quite a long time. By the time they came to take our order, we ordered drinks and the meal as well. I don’t know about you but personally I like to order a drink first and mull over the menu with a beverage. We ordered a couple of Chang beers and our starters came swiftly. I had the Por Pia (spring rolls) and he had the Chicken Tom Yum. Both were absolutely gorgeous. The spring rolls had thin almost see-through pastry and the filling was tasty and delicately shredded. Proper spring rolls are not like the ones you get in the takeaway, where they are all fatty and there is more pastry that filling- they are like what you get in Salathai, tasty and authentic. Nick’s Tom Yum soup was pretty nice too, very spicy, sweet and sour.

I wasn’t particularly happy when the main course came along. Nick’s red Thai curry and my coconut and lemongrass rice arrived. So we had my side dish, and nick’s main dish, so neither of us could start eating. Also the waitress smudged a bunch of the red curry sauce onto my plate which I thought was a little careless. My Chicken sizzling platter and nick’s stick rice then took a really long time to arrive, and by the time it had arrived, Nick’s curry was a bit on the lukewarm side. The food however was utterly delicious. I thoroughly recommend Salathai’s Thai red curry, it’s the best that I have tried and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s hot but not too hot, creamy, tangy, sweet and full of tasty and tender meat and vegetables. I fancied a change however, so I ordered the Chicken Kra ta Raun (sizzling platter). The chicken and vegetables were in a type of oyster sauce I believe, and quite tasty. The coconut and lemongrass rice was utterly delicious and cooked to perfection. However, service let us down again even during the main course, because as soon as the main course was plonked down the waitress buggered off- and I wanted to ask for a bottle of soy sauce for the table. In the end when no one came I just got up, went to the other side of the restaurant and asked for some at the front desk (it is separated by these two pillars, so the front desk cannot see certain parts of the restaurant, though this is no excuse to ignore any customers, especially seeing as the restaurant wasn’t atall busy).

We had a couple more beers and we finished the night, the bill ending up at £22 each (for two courses, with sides and two drinks each).

It’s such a shame how the front of house can let down a restaurant. The food here is utterly fantastic; I would say one of the best Thai restaurant in town, but if they don’t pay enough attention to their customers their going to have problems. The manageress is very nice, and along with me there are a quite a few regular diners, to whom she is very friendly, but I think she needs to pay more attention in training her staff.

I give the restaurant 9/10 for food but 5/10 for service, giving it an overall 7/10. I hope your front of house treatment is better than mine this time, but I would still reccomend coming here anyway- just for the grub!

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