A subdued New Year’s Eve feast, courtesy of Thai Home Cooking

Thai mixed starter platter with dipping saucesDespite the recent update, I’d love to wish all my lovely readers and followers a happy New Year. Did you dress up or down? Cook an extravagant meal, OTT buffet or just order a takeaway? And did you see in midnight with a flute of champagne, or just go to bed?

We had booked a night away at a hotel in Tunbridge, which obviously got cancelled midway through December. It was to be expected, as I think they were in tier 3 at that point, but it was disappointing, nonetheless. I couldn’t be bothered to cook, and thankfully Thai Home Cooking had a slot left for their New Year’s set menu for two – so I ordered that. We enjoyed it in our loungewear – I had dressed up on Christmas Day, so couldn’t be bothered to make an effort twice. And we stayed up until about 1am, seeing the New Year in with some fizz.

But, back to the food. The meal was priced at £59.50, which I think is more than reasonable – not only for the occasion but for the amount of food on offer. It’s around the same price I’ve paid in the past for meals at home, and in fact, I have paid more too.

Everything came ready cooked in plastic or foil containers, suitable for re-heating and the portions really were immense. We had an interval after our salad to videocall some friends, but even without that on the schedule, I was starting to feel full at this point. Needless to say, we had leftovers for the next day – and the food was still delicious then too. In hindsight, we could have let Alfie share – the starters were created for two, but everything else could have been shared between three.

Starter: Mixed Platter

(Prawn toast, prawn in breadcrumbs, duck spring rolls and chicken satay, with dipping sauces)

I absolutely adore mixed hors d’oeuvres and these were so tasty. I loved that all the dipping sauces accompanied the items nicely – and there was a pot of that beautiful Thai dipping sauce with the diced veg which is my all-time favourite. The chicken satay was so succulent, with a rich but silky, peanutty sauce. The spring rolls were jam-packed full of shredded duck and veg – and so crunchy. But my favourite was the prawn toast. For something so simple, it’s just delicious but so often gets done so wrong – either soggy or too greasy. This was so good; I could have eaten a whole tray… they’re definitely my favourite picky starter. 

Bowl of Thai chicken and coconut soup

Soup: Tom Kha Gai

(Coconut and galangal soup, with chicken)

I cannot remember the last time I had a Thai soup, but this hit the spot nicely. It was so fragrant, flavoursome, and warming – a great interlude between courses. It was creamy with the coconut, and the chicken was really tender. I’d never had galangal before and had to Google what it was – but the texture reminded me of sliced ginger, just without that strong taste. I thoroughly enjoyed the soup and would definitely be inclined to order some in a restaurant in the future (when we are allowed out!).

Plate of Thai minced chicken salad

Salad: Laab Gai

(Ground chicken, coriander, mint, Thai basil and red onion, dressed in lime juice and red chilli)

Random fact for you now: whenever we used to go out to our local Thai restaurant in Brentwood, we would always have a salad course. My dad would usually choose a salad with vermicelli noodles in, and it was the most delicious and freshest thing ever. But it got to a point where I couldn’t physically eat it without being in a lot of pain – not sure whether it was the heat – and so, it had been years and years since I had eaten a Thai salad.

This took me back. But boy, did it pack a punch. I think I got chilli in my first mouthful, and then became immune to the flavour. I just loved the softness of the chicken, the freshness of all the herbs. It was light and it was delicious. I almost wish I had some lettuce leaves, so that I could have created some chicken salad wraps. It was like a palate cleanser, so refreshing. But I was thankful for a breather at this point.

A selection of Thai main courses. Curries and rice

Main courses: Ped Makarm; Lamb Massaman; and Pad Char Gai. Served with mixed vegetables in oyster sauce and coconut rice

(fried duck breast in a tangy tamarind sauce; mild lamb curry with potatoes; and a spicy stir-fry with chicken, whole fresh peppercorn, Thai basil, onion and pepper in an oyster sauce)

What a beautiful array of dishes, I didn’t even know where to start! Everything was delicious and I couldn’t pinpoint my favourite dish, because I just loved them all. I wouldn’t usually order a massaman curry – I’m not sure why, but there’s something about rice and potatoes together which kinda throws me. But believe me when I say this is not carb overload. The potatoes were so light and soaked up that gorgeously nutty and silky-smooth sauce nicely. The large chunks of lamb were beautiful, so tender and just melted off the fork. I was actually blown away with how exquisite it was.

And then I tried the duck – wow. I could have genuinely eaten the whole container to myself. The duck was just cooked so wonderfully, a little bit crispy and with a beautiful sauce. Again, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered duck from a Thai before, but it’s safe to say I’ve been missing out. The chicken was really good too. I loved the coating but couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. It was light and so moreish. All the flavours complemented each other nicely, and it was a mild dish, considering the peppercorn. The choice for the Pad Char was chicken or haddock and I think I made a good choice.

As I mentioned, there was more than enough for two – even two hungry adults! Everything which was re-heated the next day, did so just fine and it still tasted good. But what a way to end the year!

The menu for January 6-9th is up on the Facebook page. It’s back to the usual set menu price I believe, with the options of ordering additional starters and sides, should you wish. There’s also collection only on a couple of days, with a delivery option also available – but you need to find out radius and eligibility. Be sure to book up before all the slots go – it’s very popular. Now I’m hoping there’s a menu for the weekend of my birthday… not hinting, much!

Love, Lucy xx

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