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Walking down busy Finchley Road in North West London on Saturday, my flatmate and I chanced upon a sign that said £3.95 for two courses outside the popular Bangkok Thai restaurant. Having missed breakfast, we were both rather hungry; so it was too tempting to resist and we wandered inside.
The pleasant waitress informed us that the special menu deal is only available on week days. But given that the menu listed various other main course options for under a fiver, we didn't mind too much that we had to forego the planned starter. (A bit naughty that they'd left the board outside though, huh?)
The restaurant has a pleasant, relaxed feel. It's a wee bit run down but generally tidy. The wall paper is peeling away in places and even the name-board outside doesn't seem to have withstood the credit crunch as some letters have fallen away. But the cutlery was spotless.
With the help of our friendly waitress, we managed to request a vegetable green curry without the customary fish sauce or shrimp paste. She also honestly said to me that all the starters are cross-contaminated with meat / seafood as they are fried in the same oil. She advised me to stick with the main courses which are made to order dish by dish. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that the cross-contamination takes place, but glad they were genuine and had told me about it. That way, I could avoid ordering a starter there.
The curry was clean-tasting, very flavoursome and topped with crunchy vegetables. My friend who is an omnivore was also happy with his meal. At a nearby table, we saw the waitress sit down with the owner to eat their own meal. It's very much a family business.
Our simple meal drew to a close. A soft drink , a pot of jasmine tea and two main courses added up to just about £11, which was very reasonable, given the depth of flavour and simplicity of the food and indeed the pleasant service. In fact, I must laud the excellent service - I requested the waitress to write out the name of the dish I had eaten in Thai for me (I was travelling to Belgium the next day and not particularly keen to explain no shrimp paste , no fish sauce in French to the Thai restaurant I planned to visit). She very helpfully did (and saved me a lot of trouble).
I'd certainly recommend Bangkok Thai to my less fastidiously veggie and meaty friends. If you're fussily veggie like me though, visiting at weekends is probably a good idea, because the owner's more-fluent-English-speaking waitress (called Gift , yes that's what she said her name was) works then, so she is more likely to make sure you get a properly veggie dish, given the potential for inadvertent cross-contamination / seafood inclusions otherwise.
17, New College Parade
London NW3 5EP