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8 Aug

My interest in Ngam began when I was living in the East Village only one block away. My old housemate had ordered from there and had a huge box of ‘Chiang Mai Fries.’ He offered me one. Everything changed. This was a game changer.

After ordering take away from them many a time, but really not branching out with dishes (I have no idea why) a group of six of us decided to go on a busy summer night. As packed as it was, magically they had room for us. It’s owned by Chef Hong Thaimee who featured on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, she’s also worked in some of New York’s finest restaurants including Jean George’s Spice Market.

We of course started off with the splendourous Chiang Mai Fries – Kabocha pumpkin, sweet potato, homemade red curry mayo, sweet and sour peanut relish. Crispy to bite, a curried flavour, comfort food interior and without a doubt the most delicious dish you’ll have tasted all year. And for only $8!
Chaing Mai FriesI tried everyone’s dishes, don’t you just love that? When people are excited about what they’re eating, so much so that they want you to experience it too, food truly brings people together.

Here’s a few of the dishes we had:

“Pad See Ewe” Smokey Wok Charred Noodles with Black Soy Sauce with chicken. This is comfort food on true form. The noodles taste so smokey they’re almost barbecued. A really incredibly fresh taste, salty and with a mix of crunchy broccoli and cauliflower too. This is a dish that takes the staple Pad Thai and goes one up. It’s got all your favourite characteristics and flavours, only it does it better.

Pad See EweThe Lobster Dumpling “Kao Soy” – Maine lobster, homemade lobster dumplings, homemade had rolled egg noodles, homemade kao soy curry, pickled mustard, shallots, cilantro. I can hear your mouth watering! This dish was very special, it has an elite quality to it that takes it above the comfort food level, even though it embodies all the characteristics of comfort. It is creamy, so creamy, flavoured to perfection and the lobster dumplings are infused with cilantro (coriander) with just the right hit of it, not so much so that it’s overwhelming. The reason it steps into the realm of the elite is for one, the presentation, it’s spectacular and two, it’s the quality of the lobster, the flavour that comes through, the mix of textures (from crunch, to creamy, to melt in your mouth) this dish has it all. Absolutely flawless.

Lobster DumplingUp next was “The Dark Knight” – Housemade black squid ink “bah mee” noodle, fried calamari, black pepper sauce, brussel sprouts, Thai long chili. This looked amazing, the black noodles are so intriguing and then the flashes of red and green from the chili and sprouts make this a stand out dish. What struck me with this dish was the spice, there’s a big kick to it, but it just makes you want more and more. The noodles are delicious and the calamari is battered to perfection.

The Dark NightWe of course tried other dishes too, including the Cutie Duckling “Ghang Ped Bhed Yang” – Roasted Long Island duck, homemade “ghang ped” curry, lychee, heirloom tomatoes, Thai basil sauce. The duck was as crispy as can be on the outside with the most delectable, fall of the bone, meat. This is food to be reckoned with.

The atmosphere in the restaurant is buzzing without being too loud, it’s constantly busy – a testament to how good the food is. You’re provided with wonderful service and it embodies what you want from a dining out experience.

Noticing the sign that is painted on their wall it really sums it all up.

Ngam SignTry this place, don’t go there unless you’re having the Chiang Mai Fries and eat to your heart’s content. It’s guilt free too because not only do they source all their produce from local farms but they only serve hormone-free beef, chicken and pork as well as use organic and cage free eggs and dairy products in their dishes. They also only use seafood not on the endangered sea food list. You’re in for a real treat.

Rate: 5

Ngam – 99 3rd Avenue (between 12th & 13th Street) New York, NY 10003

Tel: (212) 777-8424

Follow them on Twitter – @ngamnyc
NGam on Urbanspoon


Kaosarn – Brixton

23 Aug

I had never been to Brixton Village until this Wednesday just gone. There, I said it. Would you believe it? No, I can’t either.

It was a lovely, warm evening and we wandered through the whole market ‘oohing’ and ‘aaahing’ at places I had heard of and could now put a shop front to the name, so to speak. The one I really wanted to try was Kaosarn.

I had heard really good things and the reviews aren’t wrong. This is casual dining at its finest. Adorned with tonnes of outside seating, it bustled at the entrance to the Village and looked exceedingly inviting. We got there at the right time as there was only a small wait. The moment we sat down, there was a massive queue. It is very much in demand, clearly.


We chose the Satay Gai to share as a starter. I totally assumed it would be the standard fare of chicken that’s a bit boring, with an obvious peanut sauce/dip. I was wrong. The succulent chicken was marinated beautifully and ultimately was soft and, most importantly tasted delicious and authentic. It reminded me of my mum’s. The peanut sauce was only ok, but honestly I could have eaten the chicken on its own, it was that good.

satay gai

Onto the mains. Between us we had the most obvious of Thai dishes. These were; green chicken curry, red chicken curry and chicken pad thai.

Chicken fest.

The pad thai was incredible, I haven’t had one this good since Spice (13th St & University Place, just south of Union Square, NY) and that is really saying something, let me tell you. The noodles had truly absorbed all the flavours of the sauce and spices, kind of like when you have spag bol the next day and it just tastes SO much better. The chicken was tender and soft, yet again, and there wasn’t too much tofu (padding). Just my kind of dinner. It was a huge portion and greedily, I managed to finish it.

pad thai

The red and green curries, both served with rice, were equally as deelish. The sauce was at the right thickness and the flavours really burst through. The service is casual and it’s very much a ‘clear dishes as and when people have finished’ sort of place, but the food is that good you really don’t mind about it being so casual. It’s simple, good quality and not too pricey.

red curry

green curry

So, first visit to Brixton Village was a success…I’m guessing I’ll be back.

Rate: 4.5
Brixton Village Market, London, SW9 8PR
020 7095 8922
Kaosarn on Urbanspoon
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East Street

16 Sep


What I love about East Street is it’s cool, easy and cheap. It’s a no fuss sort of place that has awesome decor and good food.

The food isn’t out of this world, amazing, but it is good. They use fresh ingredients and really just get the point. You want to go here when you want a good old catch up with friends and you don’t need to worry about cost, service, quality etc as its all there, express style.

On this particular occasion I chose the deal of £7.95 for a main and a side, the Eastern Express Menu, although the side is basically a starter. You can choose from quite a few options and this price is if you order before 7. Sweet deal if you ask me!

I chose the Tod Man Khao Pod (three delicately flavoured corn fritters with a chilli and peanut dip) to start with. This was great! Really fresh, the batter was so deelish and the inside was a good mix of spices and ingredients. The dip was nice but there wasn’t a lot and the chopped peanuts were a bit pointless as you couldn’t get them to go on the fritter.

Onto the main feature. I chose the Singapore Noodles (Rice vermicelli with prawns, chicken breast, spring onion & carrot, with a mild curry flavour) which was a really good sized portion. It was comfort food, delicious noodles with a lovely curried taste to it. There was plenty of chicken in there too!


The service was good, they were there when you needed them and it was just easy and simple. The decor is like you’ve walked into an Asian market with lots of signs, products, maps and photos adorning the walls. It’s colourful and really a wonderful place to sit. One thing I love is that the bathrooms have Japanese airport style announcements being aired. The place just has a really cool feel to it. Definitely worth a visit!


Rate: 3.3

East Street
3-5 Rathbone Place, London
0207 323 0860
East Street Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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Banana Tree – Clapham Junction

12 Sep

I’ve been to Banana a couple of times before and because it had been a while I thought I’d see what it was up to now as it’s always a buzzing atmosphere and I do love Thai food! So, off to Banana, right next to the corner of the Battersea Rise and Northcote Road junction. I don’t know of many other Thai places nearby so it seems it’s uniqueness in this respect means it has a constant chain of people waiting for  a table. Well positioned opposite The Goat and next to a Nandos; different strokes for different folks and all.

We waited about 20 minutes for a table and this was 7:30 on a Tuesday evening, it’s obviously a popular place. We were seated at one of the communal tables. It really does have a great buzzy atmosphere and the aroma from the food is really enticing!

We ordered Crispy Pepper Spiced Chicken Rolls (Yam, Prawn and Chicken Stuffing) served with Plum sauce to start with. This looked a little unappetising as you can see, kind of like out of date, cooked from frozen chicken nuggets. The taste was really delicious though, it had a hint of sweetness which must have been the sweet potato. However, the consistency is how you would imagine when looking at it. Not so much the inside, but the shell was a little chewy, from the deep fry and had a ‘left out for a bit’ kind of taste. The Plum sauce…mmmmmmm…deelish. There’s probably a lot of sugar in there, but it’s SO worth it. I did think £5.70 was a little steep as they are only small.

We picked the most traditional of dishes – Chicken Pad Thai and Chicken Green Curry. The curry came with rice, salad, crackers and some sort of fried balls (!) as part of their special.

The Pad Thai looked great, it was a hefty portion and smelled really good. The noodles tasted like they could have been one of two things; al dente or slightly old. They were a little hard, not all soft and slippery like they should be. The taste was ok, it got better as you ploughed through – but a little bland.

The Green Curry – they got this right! It was really spot on. Spicy, but not too much and soft chunks of chicken with bamboo shoots, carrot, peas etc. Definitely the better of the two dishes. The accoutrements fluttering around the side were ok, nice but definitely not as good as the main feature! I was really happy with this dish as the others had been ok, but not amazing.

The service left a lot to be desired. They didn’t really pay any attention and after our starters were cleared and we had been waiting a while, the two guys next to us ordered. About two minutes after they ordered, their food came. We said to them that we thought it might be ours as it looked like our dishes, there was then a lot of confusion. Our waiter came over, said that indeed it was our food and then their waitress came over and said it was their food. If you look at it from either angle it’s pretty slack. If it was their food, then why the crud has their’s come out so quickly and ours hadn’t and if it wasn’t their food, why the crud are they getting the order wrong and then creating a weird fuss afterwards? (FYI, no apology for any of this, but we did end up getting the food and their’s came out shortly afterwards). They were very slow with clearing, taking orders, everything and we got the impression that our fellow diners felt the same way. Needless to say, I took the tip off at the end as it was automatically included and it most definitely was not deserved.

Rate: 3

Banana Tree – Clapham Junction

75-79 Battersea Rise SW11 1HN

020 7228 2828

Banana Tree on Urbanspoon
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