My pick of the best Thai restaurants in London's west-end, all food under £30.
Located in the heart of Soho, right near China Town and only a 5 minute walk from Leicester Square tube station, this small and intimate restaurant is tucked away at the corner near Caffe Concerto. There is a bar downstairs, but upstairs there are tables, chairs and plush (leather) sofas. There is much to love about Thai Tho and its relaxed atmosphere, that is carried on from lunch-time to dinner. The lovely waitresses will greet you and have you sat at a table of your preference and even when it gets slightly busy on a Friday or Saturday evening, the waitresses will not rush your food ordering.
At dinner time, it transforms into a dark and pretty Oriental hideout- away from the hustle and bustle of the West-End. Choose from the selection of tantalizing dishes and let the flavours take over your taste buds. Be sure to try from the stir-fry section. The starters are all great too and your bill won’t mount up to a freakishly high price. Gai Pad Kee Ma is for anyone who likes a bit of spice in their life and is a colourful mixture of chicken and vegetables, although I think the chefs could be more generous with the chilli because on the menu it has a chilli rating of 2. As the portion size of the sauces are quite large, I would advise getting two bowls of rice for the ratio to be just right. All in all, I have adored Thai Tho since the first time I ate there and recommend it to anyone who wants a taste of Thailand. 42 Rupert St, London W1D 6DP
Tucked away at the backstreets of Soho; Banana Tree is a 2 minute walk from Thai Tho and is a lively, trendy restaurant, serving Indo-Chinese food. If you’re looking for beautiful cousine on a budget of £20, then Banana Tree is the place for you and the low price doesn’t compromise with the taste or quality. It is usually quiet on a weekday at lunch time and you can watch the chefs cook while you wait for your food, there are a wide range of dishes suiting to everybody’s dietary needs and the staff are helpful with explaining the ingredients your order contains.
If stir fry is at the top of your list and you’re craving variety, then Blackened Monks Noodles is a mix of wheat noodles mixed with crunchy vegetables and tofu, salad on the side, sweet corn cake and sesame rice crackers. You won’t be disappointed. The Phad Thai is also among my favourites and is a stir fry without the excess oil. Afterwards, if you’re feeling for something sweet but could do without the extra calories, try the Spiced Malay Tea, it’s deliciously aromatic- perfect for warming you up. The mains are cheap and cheerful, however the starters are a bit on the pricey side. In conclusion, I will definitely put Banana Tree on my list and rate it for it’s relaxed environment and communal style tables. 103 Wardour St, London W1F 0UG
Thai Square is a multi chain restaurant and one of them is situated in Covent Garden, which can be difficult to get to because the area is known for its small streets, but it is worth finding. It is quite large inside but on most occasions, you will rarely ever have to wait long for your food. The waitresses are always polite and courteous too. For all you chilli lovers out there, Jungle Curry is a vibrant mixture of bamboo shoots, aubergine, long beans and your selection of chicken, beef or prawns. It is a tomato-based source and there is a selcton of different rices to go with it.
Again, the portion sizes of the sauces are generous, so depending on your rice: sauce preference, two portions of rice may be ideal. From the vegetarian starters section, the Som Tum Jay is a popular salad- featuring an abundance of raw vegetables with a flavoursome sweet and sour sauce. I would recommend the Banana Fritters as a treat afterwards, they are crispy on the outside which is achieved through frying and the delicious, small balls have gooey banana on the inside. (Served with ice cream.) A downside to the service is that the waiters can hover a bit too much which can make you feel slightly uncomfortable but other than that, I think that Thai Square deserves its 3.5 stars. 166-170 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JB