For restaurant critics, offbeat formulas make for easy copy. Reviewing this ambitious-looking new Clerkenwell venture – which prominently advertises its ‘Thai-Indian cuisine’ – therefore looked set to be a cinch.
My old friend obligingly set about ordering a Thai set lunch to complement my Indian one. I began to congratulate myself on how easily the column was to be filled up with descriptions of the varying national styles of dishes (interspersed with the occasional insightful point of comparison between the two).
But it was not to be. Those enticed in by the prominently advertised Thai set lunch (or, indeed, the Ã la carte) are told – without much in the way of apology, or explanation – that Thai cuisine is now ‘off’. For good, it seems. So this performance, it turned out, was to be Hamlet very much without the Prince.
What remained was a far cry from the quirky culinary experience with which I had hoped to regale you. In fact, remove the Thai ‘angle’, and what’s left is a pretty unremarkable Indian restaurant, of the type which continues to colonise many environs of the City. The cooking – rather at the level you might have expected if the kitchen had been struggling to cope with two great cuisines at once – seemed undistinguished for a brigade that now only needs concern itself with one. The service was fine, if not especially engaging, but looked as if it might get rather over-stretched as the place filled up.
So is there any postive reason at all seek this restaurant out? Mercifully, it does turn out that there is at least one: an unusually light and grand function room (for 25), which would make a pleasant and good-value venue for private dining. But any culinary adventure is very definitely off the menu.