Back when I was little, I was lucky enough to have a lot of homecooked meals, even in between classes. My friends and I would have lunch delivered by our drivers to school and we’d all have a table of pot lucked hot meals. In high school, our cafeteria served pretty decent viands as well like stews, breaded pork chops, beef stroganoff, fish fillet in black bean sauce, etc so you can say I ate well in school. Lunch was always more than just a sandwich or a salad. It was the full shebang, and I genuinely believe it made me function better.
Since moving to London, homecooked meals resorted to one-pot dishes or anything you can bang in the oven. Not very exciting, and all too frustrating. Sometimes, I regret not learning from the angels who’ve cooked for our family through the years (Manang Mylene, Manang Merly, Manang Eva, I doubt they’re reading this but I hope they know I appreciate them a lot). Most of the time, I just eat out.
There’s also really not a lot of choice for “comforting lunch” spots near work. You get the usual McPret, McEat and quick fix cafes but it’s not exactly like Covent Garden (where I used to work) aka The Place That Spoils You For Choice. Unless I power walk to Borough Market or Southbank, the only fairly decent options require over an hour of dining – and frankly, I don’t have the luxury of time.
Enter Thai Silk.
Behind the arches of Southwark station lies this Thai restaurant which turns into a bar-cum-disco-karaoke place at night. It’s my lil guilty pleasure (the restaurant, not the bar). It’s quick, cheery and reminiscent of home cooking.
I take my papaya salad seriously as I grew up eating the stuff. Thai Silk’s papaya salad is quite a vision, you can immediately see there’s a good amount of stuff on the plate to give you a texture party. It delivers on that, with the papaya strips maintaining a decent crunch as it marries with the sauce. It could have a spicier kick, though – but that’s my fire-hungry tongue’s opinion.
A Thai classic, the red curry is quite rich in flavour. The sauce itself has an authentic taste and it reminded me of when my friend Porn (no really) cooked three types of curry for our class party. Thai Silk’s dish is slightly saltier than how I’d like it, but nothing a good cup of coconut rice can’t rectify.
I find other people prefer eating Thai food with either plain rice or pineapple rice. For me, it’s coconut rice all the way.
I have two favourite dishes at Thai Silk. The first one is their special pad Thai, which is served with king prawns instead of tiger prawns (that’s pretty much the difference, really). To be honest, I’ve had better pad Thai before. But there’s something so comforting about having this dish in between or after a long tiring day that I’ve grown to like it. Beats having a sandwich at your desk or resorting to a sad pre-cooked meal any day.
I also really like their moo yang. This is proper Southeast Asian barbecue, folks. There’s nothing like a simple piece of marinated pork chucked on the barbie to grill. It’s good with post-beer drinks. It reminds me of those pork barbecue skewers I would devour at lunch (with garlic fried rice).
If you’re a seafood fan, Thai Silk also has a decent selection of fruits de mer. I had the phad nam prig gao, a dish of prawns cooked in chilli paste and veggies. This really reminds me of homecooking – my parent’s cook would make something similar except she would cook the prawns shell-on.
My late grandma (my dad’s mom) used to cook this warm dessert/snack made of bananas, tapioca, glutinous balls and coconut milk. I never really liked warm, fruity dishes but for some strange reason, I was drawn to try Thai Silk’s kuay buad chee. It’s an acquired taste, and though I found the dessert slightly on the salty side, it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.
Verdict on Thai Silk
Here’s the thing. Thai Silk is not the best Thai restaurant in London. BUT it’s a decent place to go to when you’re craving Southeast Asian comfort. Portions are quite generous and it’s super good value for money as the most expensive thing on the menu here doesn’t even hit the £20 mark. If you work around the area, go at lunch. It’s defo worth taking an hour away from your desk for.