Best Thai Restaurants In London

By Ellie Smith

2 months ago

Where to feed your chilli penchant


There’s much more to Thai food than green curries: Thailand’s cuisine is wonderfully varied, from fiery curries in the South to grilled meats in the North East and fragrant soups of the central region. Fans can find all this and more across London, which is home to a variety of great Thai restaurants. Though menus are wide-ranging, all tend to be friendly, low-key spots offering brilliant food – with a hearty dose of spice, naturally. Find our favourites below, from neighbourhood joints in Peckham to LA-inspired hotspots in the West.

Best Thai Restaurants In London

Sour Mango salad & Kolae chicken bamboo skewer

Sour Mango salad & Kolae chicken bamboo skewer. © Ben Broomfield Photography

Kolae

From the founders of som saa (more on that below), Kolae is the latest Thai restaurant to land in London, and it’s making a mark in buzzy Borough Market. Taking over a restored old coach house, the restaurant sprawls across three floors with a laid back elegance showcased in sofas, wood floors, and kitchen side bar stools. Drawing its name from the Southern Thai cooking style, Kolae is all about fresh ingredients generously coated in a fragrant coconut marinade before being grilled over open flames; see this in action with a seat at the bar. The seasonal menu draws on UK-sourced meat and fish, plus veggies from Thailand, transformed into mouthwatering bites. Start with a crunch: the moreish yet refreshing biryani rice crackers with pickled ginger and green nahm jim soothe rumbling stomachs deliciously before the mains arrive. Then tuck into the likes of hot and sour soup of beef shin, phuket style soy braised middlewhite belly and ribs, and don’t miss the exceptional kolae chicken bamboo skewer – you might just want to order more. By Olivia Emily

6 Park St, London SE1 9AB, kolae.com

Smoking Goat, Soho

Smoking Goat

Word of warning: if you’re not a fan of spice, Smoking Goat isn’t the place for you. It’s all about the heat at Ben Champan’s buzzing Thai restaurant, which opened following the success of the now-closed smaller Soho original. Thai barbecue small plates and seafood are the focus ­– think tamarind smoked lamb ribs, stir fried pork, grilled mackerel and chilli fish sauce wings, paired with some of the best fried rice in town. Brave diners should try the infamous Laab-style pork, and cool down with a glass of vino from the excellent value wine list.

64 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ, smokinggoatbar.com

John and Desiree Chantarasak

AngloThai

After a string of sellout pop-ups, collaborations and even a book, AngloThai is returning this summer with a pop-up at 180 Strand’s Outcrop. The brainchild of husband-and-wife duo John and Desiree Chantarasak, AngloThai is all about marrying the cooking techniques and flavours of Thailand with the seasonal produce of the British Isles. This ethos will continue in the restaurant, which was picked up by MJMK Restaurants – the group behind Santiago Lastra’s Mexican fine dining eatery KOL. Chef John heads up the food side, while sommelier Desiree will be curating a selection of environmentally-friendly wines. No word on the menu yet, but a recent pop-up served dishes like soy-marinated Iberico pork skewers with roasted chilli, and garlic and coriander grilled poussin, to give you a taste of the vibes.

Popping up at Outcrop this Summer 180 Strand, London WC2R 3DA, anglothai.co.uk

Som Saa

After beginning its life as a pop-up, Som Saa found a permanent home in Shoreditch a few years ago following a successful crowdfunding campaign. Head chefs Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie dish up regional Thai dishes such as pad pak fai daeng, a spicy stir fry of greens and mushrooms; nahm dtok pla thort, deep fried seabass with isaan herbs; and gaeng gari jay, a curry featuring golden beetroot and pink fir potatoes. There’s also a dedicated vegan offering, plus a set menu (‘Tem Toh’) where you can leave your fate in the hands of the kitchen team. Its cocktail bar is open throughout the evening and focuses on drinks that pair well with Thai food, such as the Rak Tong Ham, a blend of chilli, cucumber and lime leaf infused tequila.

43A Commercial St, London E1 6BD, somsaa.com

Chicken dish at Speedboat Bar in London

Speedboat Bar

This is another fiery number, opened last year on the edge of Chinatown. It’s the second restaurant from chef Luke Farrell, the name behind other JKS ventures Viet Populaire and Plaza Khao Gaeng, and takes its inspiration from the Thai-Chinese restaurants in Bangkok. Luke grows Thai herbs, spices and vegetables in his own greenhouses in Dorset, which he uses to create aromatic curries, spicy noodle dishes and fresh seafood salads. Drinks are of equal importance to food here – Speedboat is a self-proclaimed party hotspot – with a focus on whiskey sodas (made with an extra spiky homemade soda) and sharing towers of Singha beer. It’s open until 1am too, with a Thai pop, rock and traditional mor lam soundtrack keeping things lively until the early hours.

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL, speedboatbar.co.uk

Champor Champor

In Malay ‘champor-champor’ translates as mix and match – which sets the tone for this vibrant fusion restaurant in London Bridge. The cuisine is a blend of Thai and Malaysian, with globally inspired decor featuring tribal artefacts and Buddha statues. Begin with starters of green papaya and tofu, pan-fried tandoori prawns with Thai salsa, and grilled satay duck breast ahead of laksas, sizzling seafood platters, turmeric curries and more.

62-64 Weston St, London SE1 3QJ, champor-champor.com

Interiors at Chet's

Chet’s

After a successful pop-up at Rondo la Cave in the Holborn branch of The Hoxton, Thai-American hotspot Chet’s found a permanent home in the Shepherd’s Bush Hoxton at the end of last year. The brainchild of Kris Yenbamroong, the name behind cult LA food hangout NIGHT + MARKET, it blends classic Americana dishes with the fragrances and textures of Thai cuisine. Food is fun, casual and fiery, with menus available from breakfast through to dinner. Visit in the morning to try the famed Five-Spice Cinnabun, or enjoy dinner dishes such as curried noodles with katsu-style fried chicken, grilled lamb steak with lemongrass, and a beef burger spiced with Thai flavours. To drink, there’s drip coffee and spicy shakes by day, and punchy cocktails by night, like the Holy Chet!, made with white vermouth, basil and Martini Ambrato.

65 Shepherd’s Bush Grn, London W12 8QE, chetsrestaurant.co.uk

The Begging Bowl

In Thai culture, a ‘begging bowl’ is a vessel traditionally used by monks to collect alms (either money or food), which has come to symbolise community. This spirit is channeled in The Begging Bowl, a neighbourhood restaurant in Peckham serving regional Thai food, founded by chef Jane Alty and business partner Jamie Younger back in 2012. The menu includes dishes inspired by all provinces of Thailand, from creamy curries of the south to grilled meats in the North East. Authentic ingredients from Bangkok are used – including some specialist Thai staples like rose apple, banana blossoms and hog plum – alongside locally sourced meat and fish, with dishes served tapas-style. Think stir-fried hispi cabbage with fermented yellow beans and chilli, deep-fried sea bass with green mango, five spice braised duck, and charcoal grilled celeriac with peanut curry.

168 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4BW, thebeggingbowl.co.uk

Featured image: Speedboat Bar