The Thai House, Eastbourne, East Sussex - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 16:24 08 December 2010 | UPDATED: 11:50 28 February 2013
The Thai House, 55 Grove Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4TX
After a gruelling afternoon watching Wimbledon and worrying whether Rafa would win his eighth grand slam or be overtaken by the Fed Express, Lulu Larkin was exhausted. Having only got up from the sofa to change ends, she was in need of fresh air and sustenance. Would the new Thai House restaurant in Eastbourne be a match made in heaven? She set off to find out, in a gleaming black Bangkok taxi...
Sarah phoned to say that a wonderful new Thai restaurant had opened in Eastbourne and to celebrate her impending marriage, would Daniel and I like to join her for supper? Was that a rhetorical question?
The Thai House opened in Eastbournes bustling Little Chelsea area at the beginning of the year but had already endeared itself to a growing number of customers impressed by the wonderful food, friendly staff and welcoming ambience.
I was also intrigued by the shiny black, liveried tuk-tuk Id seen chugging around town to promote the opening.
I rang the restaurant to ask whether it could be hired but was told it wasnt yet licensed for passengers and the driver could only take friends. After assuring them that wed all get on like a house on fire, they agreed and arranged for Mark Braemar to meet us outside the Congress Theatre at 7. And there he was with his gleaming Thai taxi.
Nobody would bat an eyelid if they saw a tuk-tuk phut-phutting along the streets of Bankgok, but heads turned when we rode through Eastbournes town centre. People waved at us as if we were royalty and we waved back with unregal enthusiasm.
During our exhilarating ride, Mark revealed he was co-owner of The Thai House with his wife, Monchusar, fondly known as Kung (pronounced Koong), whose childhood dream in Muang Phrae, Northern Thailand, had been to open a restaurant. And had Mark met her on holiday there? No, it was in the vegetable section of Tesco in Watford, where they were both studying at business college. They fell in love, got married and moved to Eastbourne, where Mark established a successful architectural recruitment agency. But Kung became restless and, determined to have a career of her own, she worked long hours in restaurants cooking, serving, cleaning in order to save enough to achieve her ambition.
Entering The Thai House
We were greeted at The Thai House with lovely, friendly smiles by the beautiful Kung and her equally elegant and charming waitresses,Tan and Fai, all enviably slim and beautifully dressed like dainty dolls in national costume.The interior is intimate and welcoming: a fusion of modern dcor with traditional artefacts, ornaments, paintings and Thai music plucked lutes, gongs, chimes, reed pips and saw-peep fiddles playing unobtrusively in the background. It was more like a home than a house. It was enchanting.
As was the food. To accompany our Chang beer, we were given a complimentary plate of Thai dips and crackers to munch while looking through the menu. It was quite daunting as many dishes were unfamiliar: salads were yum Im sure they were - and beef was nua while pork, bafflingly was moo. But Kung was at hand to demystify and make recommendations.
As a vegetarian, Sarah swooped on the deep fried tofu and satay mushrooms while Daniel and I shared the chefs platter of spring rolls, spare ribs, chicken teriyaki, curried Thai fish cakes and French delight, a variety of prawn toasts. All were, well, delightful.
I love the subtle sophistication of Thai cuisine, its exquisite attention to detail and the intriguing harmony of flavours that elude identification. Even the exotic names of their herbs and spices waft you away to a sleepy lagoon with tropical fish nibbling your toes.
Meanwhile, back in Eastbourne we moved on to our main courses: massaman tofu a curry with cashew nuts, tofu and potato for S, pla tod grob, - crispy seabass with sweet and sour papaya salad and jasmine rice for D while I chose, the marinated pork fillet salad really a deliciously saucy stir fry with sticky rice, one of Marks discoveries. Hed called by hungry one lunchtime and the chef rustled it up for him. It was so delicious, he persuaded Kung to put it on the menu and its now one of their most popular dishes.
Daniel loves his sweets, so he succumbed to the deep-fried bananas while S and I took the healthier option of fresh mango with home-made coconut ice cream, a traditional and seasonal Thai dessert. A perfect finish to a splendid meal.
What's the verdict?
Ive no hesitation in recommending The Thai House to anyone visiting Eastbourne. Or why not make a special trip? They offer a two-course meal at lunchtime for 9.95 including a drink but the a-la-carte menu, excellent wine at less than 12 a bottle and Thai beers around 3 are all great value.
Queen Sirikit of Thailand celebrates her birthday on August 12 but dont wait until then. Youll be treated like royalty every time.
The Thai House
55 Grove Road,
tel: 01323 646155