Restaurant Review: Suda Thai, Covent Garden in London
St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden: a calmer pocket in comparison to its surroundings and most importantly without swarms of tourists. My past visits included a fleeting visit to a blow dry bar and to an independent wine bar opposite; which is busting with European vibes. In saying this I must have overlooked its Thai neighbour – Suda. Warm enough to sit at one of their outside tables, Suda doesn’t represent the clichéd Thai nuances that we’re accustomed to in the UK; it has a modern and industrial design with minimalist and a non fuss attitude. This restaurant suits city life.
Scouring their vast menu, which is designed for sharing, it covers all bases including favourites such as pad Thai, red and green curries as well as featuring more contemporary options and combinations, inspired by the streets of Bangkok and far corners of Thailand. If you’re in the area and looking for a pit stop with some decent refreshment, Suda’s selection of cocktails are just the ticket. We began our evening with watermelon and lychee martinis, the latter served with fat, juicy lychees. These cocktails definitely compete with the food.
Looking for a cross section of different bites to ease us in alongside a prawn tom yum soup, which they describe as ‘the king of soups’, we ordered Suda’s platter to share. This features a selection of their signature starters: chicken satay, kanom jeeb, duck roll, fishcake, prawn cake & chicken on toast. Alongside, we chose some prawn crackers (always a favourite) and some fishcakes. Their starters and platters do exactly what they say on the tin and are brilliant for sharing, something to consider as a light lunch. And yes this could be a meal in itself, as by the time we moved onto the main course we were pretty full up.
Mulling over the choice of curries, (these include beef pangang, chicken massaman and roasted duck as well as a tasting curry concept) I did finally decide on a dish which I was then told to be a particular signature from the grill list; the tamarind duck. Impressively laid out on a long white china platter, this dish is an utter treat to the eyes. Sadly our previous enjoyment over the platter and small bites held me back and subsequently was unable to finish. This dish I must add is extremely rich (even with rice). Other options on the grill menu is a herbed lamb chop (particularly European sounding), chilli and cashew chicken, black pepper beef, lime sea bass, weeping tiger (sirlon beef) and oyster beef – just to name a few.
Suda is the little sister of The Patara restaurant group who consider themselves at the forefront of contemporary fine Thai dining across London. To date they boast restaurants in Soho, Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington which they say endeavour to showcase the very best in fine and contemporary Thai cuisine. Suda itself is fun, slightly quirky and its location in St Martin’s Courtyard is particularly lovely over the summer months. It is easy to over indulge here and if I were to return would recommend to whoever I am with to focus on their small, sharing plates, platters and of course, the brilliant cocktails.
Despite my love for Thai food and that I’m no expert on the flavours from this exotic country; Suda seems to offer a huge array of Thai dishes with thereabout almost every spice and herb available. From grilled fish to chicken, beef, salads and soups; even my fussiest of friends would not struggle to pin point something of fancy. I may have overlooked Suda previously but now I know it’s there I plan to head back; probably for a prawn cracker and cocktail or two.
Address: St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Pl, London WC2E 9AB, 020 7240 8010, www.suda-thai.com