Som Saa a greatly anticipated Thai restaurant, after the numerous pop ups and residencies in East London, run by three guys from the UK and Australia. I was a little apprehensive of a Thai restaurant, run by three guys who weren’t from Thailand… and then you hear their accolades from working in numerous Michelin starred restaurants and of course Thailand; between them they have had an incredible amount of experience always focusing around Thai cuisine. Finally London is starting to catch up with quality Asian food, some of my favourite meals and restaurant openings in 2016, such as, Hoppers a Sri Lankan restaurant in Soho, and Gunpowder a modern Indian restaurant just around the corner from Som Saa. I’m no expert in Thai food but I did live there for three months and was spoilt with the number of fresh and perfectly balanced spicy, sweet, sour, salty dishes I had for literally pence. So much so that I actually haven’t bothered to try many places in London for the risk of insipid Westernised ‘Green Thai curry’.`When we arrived on a Monday evening it was buzzing, they have a no reservations policy, and a lovely bar to wait at until the rest of your party arrives. Som Saa is Northern Thai food just a few curries on the menu, along with salads, grills and soups, all made to share, about four or five dishes between two people. We already had our eye on the whole deep fried seabass I had read about in another blog, I love a whole fish with the head on makes me feel like I’m closer to the ocean =)
Here he is, the beauty, loads of meat on one fish the skin is coated in crispy flavours, sour well spiced and topped with fresh herbs. This was our favourite dish, although it looks a bit daunting the meat pulls away from the bones, it isn’t too much of a challenge. As we neared the end of this dish we were scooping up any scraps left behind and even nibbling on the crispy fins!
We actually started with a soup, a traditional start to a Thai meal, we choose the hot and sour duck soup with offal. When they say hot, they mean it, refreshingly spicy and sour cutting through the rich creamy chunks of offal. A great start to cleanse our palate and clear out the old sinuses.
Another dish we choose and a real highlight was the beef cheek curry with Thai basil, and sprinkled with roasted peanuts. This dish along with the fish were not spicy at all, so if you are not a fan of spicy food don’t worry they have a good selection ranging in levels of heat. This is probably the first Thai curry I have had in the UK that wasn’t drowning in coconut milk. Well spiced, great flavour and tender pieces of beef.
The final dish was crispy fried pork, probably our least memorable dish, although the flavours were good, it wasn’t as crispy as we would have liked and it is a fairly small portion for £9.50; we were in agreement the rest of their prices were reasonable.
We came away from Som Saa our taste buds dancing from so many flavour combinations which we rarely eat. Fantastic new restaurant in East London.