Formerly called Thai Passion, this was taken over a year ago by new owners who have invested much love and time into redeveloping this lovely little spot into a cosy restaurant with fantastic food.
Having been to Thailand for the first time earlier this year for our honeymoon, I admit to being enamoured with the culture, people and food. There are so many Thai restaurants that serve a good standard of Thai food, especially if like me you are a sucker for green curry! But most of them lack the authentic tastes and smells that anyone who has been to Thailand craves. And the Pandan Leaf definitely delivers this with a subtle and sophisticated passion.
On arrival, our enthusiastic waiter served us our drinks and everyone's favourite, Thai crackers! The drinks list is extensive, with many varieties of wine, beer (Thai beers Singha and Chang available) and soft drinks. For starters we ordered Goong Sarong - spiced prawns wrapped in pastry. Not just a usual fried treat, they were tender and packed with flavour. We then ordered a very authentic dish called Lab Gai, a beautifully spicy minced chicken salad with fresh mint, chillies, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and toasted ground rice. It is borderline HOT so be prepared or ask the chef to tone it down if you arent too sure. To give you an idea, if you can handle proper Papaya salad then this is a walk in the park - we LOVED it!
Next a good old helping of stir fried veggies. These were fresh and delicious, with a silky buttery flavour to them. Healthy probably never tasted so good! The piece d'resistance has to be the Pla Nueng See Eiw - Steamed sea bass with spring onion, ginger, chilli and soy sauce. Was SO good. Soft fish that falls apart in the mouth, which keeps its great flavour but embraces the chilli and other Thai seasoning perfectly. If you want something healthy without sacrificing the treat, go for steamed fish every time!
And to treat ourselves for dessert, we went for the chef's new recipe of Pandan Leaf Pancakes with sticky coconut rice & ice cream. This was not on the menu yet but we were lucky enough to try it. AMAZING! I am not a massive fan of Thai desserts but this was really special. The pancake is not too sweet (or too green!) and hidden inside is the lovely surprise of sweet sticky coconut. It was not too sweet or sickly at all, and this portion was perfect for two. Even the ice cream which I thought would be unnecessary, added a lovely texture to the mix.
All in all an utterly delicious, fresh and reasonably priced meal. This is truly a hidden gem and I wish it was my neighbourhood restaurant so I could visit all the time! You can even book the alcove for a semi-private dinner for 16 people, perfect for a nice birthday or celebration dinner. The sister restaurant, The Greedy Elephant, is in Weybridge and I am already looking forward to an excuse to check that out too!
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