A baby-free date night at Blue Orchid, Aspley Guise

Two weekends ago, Ashley and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Our lovely neighbour agreed to look after Alfie for the couple of hours, so we could actually enjoy ourselves – and she even recommended the restaurant. I was lucky in Essex that there were so many good Thai restaurants – it’s my favourite cuisine – but since moving to MK, I’ve been unable to find any, especially that deliver. Blue Orchid will no doubt become a firm favourite and when we go out for dinner more often, will be first choice.

We managed to book a table for two for 7pm the night before. I imagine that’s because it was a Sunday (it was fairly busy, mind), but I would recommend booking early – especially if you’re a larger party, or want Friday/Saturday night – to avoid disappointment. That said, the restaurant is fairly large and in addition to indoor seating, there’s a beautiful atmospheric courtyard.

Upon arrival, we were immediately shown to our table where the a la carte and wine menus were waiting. We were offered Thai prawn crackers with chilli dipping sauce, which of course we accepted, while we looked at the menu. I say looked at the menu, I more often than not, choose one of two dishes (beef penang or weeping tiger... known by other names, at Blue Orchid it’s tiger cry steak). Instead we had the ultimate restaurant discussion: starter or no starter.
In the end, starters got the thumbs up and we simply ordered the mixed starters for two. Consisting of satay chicken, vegetable spring roll and battered tiger prawn (in a wonton basket), sesame prawn toast and chicken wings, the platter was beautifully presented with obligatory carrot carving. A selection of dipping sauces accompanied it (sweet chilli, satay and that one you always get at Thai restaurants that looks like vinegar topped with vegetables... I must find out what it is! If you know, please let me know). The toasts and spring rolls were crisp and not at all greasy; I loved the spicy, sticky glaze on the wings; but the satay chicken was the highlight, so succulent and the sauce was beautiful and the perfect consistency. Of course, we filled up on starters and the waiter asked if we wanted a break or the main dishes brought out straight away, which was nice. We replied that there was no urgency.
For our main courses, we both chose a curry and shared a portion of jasmine rice. Ash ordered a lamb yellow curry, which was creamy and lightly fragranced. There was plenty of meat, accompanied by onions and large chunks of potato. I tried a spoonful and loved the sauce, which was a lot milder than other curries – I don’t think I’d ever had a yellow curry before, but probably wouldn’t be inclined to order one as I prefer vegetables in mine. I ended up going for the – you guessed it – beef penang, which didn’t disappoint. It was a little hotter than I’m used to, but there was a whole chilli as garnish, in addition to the heat of the sauce. There was so much beef and it was really tender – I couldn’t manage it all, so had it boxed up to take home.
We shared a dessert, despite both feeling rather full – and Ash chose the mango delight. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but there were vanilla and mango ice creams with a sponge base. It was light and refreshing, which is exactly what we needed after a heavy dinner. I wouldn’t have been able to manage a whole dessert (even fritters and ice cream... shock!) and only had a couple of spoonfuls to try.

The service was excellent, with the staff attentive and efficient. We were given an adequate amount of time between courses and weren’t waiting ages for the bill, either. The meal came to just over £50 including the tip, which in my opinion is more than reasonable. We’ll definitely be returning... Alfie loves Thai too, so he’ll have to come along next time!

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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