Sri Suwoon is the Thai gem hiding in Pimlico

thai-restaurant-pimlico-victoria

Discovering an excellent independent Thai restaurant hidden alone in the quiet residential streets of Pimlico was a bit like finding treasure – I was pleasantly surprised, yet uncertain about who else knows it’s there.

You probably wouldn’t find cosy two-floor restaurant, Sri Suwoon, if you weren’t looking for it (or without Google Maps). It appears that the locals are in on it though, because shortly after we arrive on a Monday evening, the restaurant is nearly full.

Visiting with a bunch of cousins meant we got lots of dishes to share – my favourite way to eat out. For starters, the chilli oyster mushrooms and chilli squid tempura were outstanding – the seasoning is just so and they both had a good crunch. The appetiser selection was generous and included all the classics: chicken satay, prawn toast, spare ribs, prawn tempura and some sort of bean curd patty which was very tasty.

The food crept closer to five-star with the mains: the drunken sea bass was mind-blowing (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t the biggest fan of fish). The chargrilled steak salad was refreshing; the beef pieces melted in my mouth. The vegetarian Thai green curry was perfection in a bowl; it’s as good as that from nearby Thai chain Mango Tree, and £4 cheaper too.

On that note, Sri Suwoon is pretty good value for money: our two-course meal for five people came to £110, approximately £22 each, and it’s just a seven minute walk away from Victoria station. Despite its proximity to this commuter hub, the independent restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere with a local feel.

Our meal really surpassed our expectations; Sri Suwoon is suddenly up there as one of my top five Thai joints in London.

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Busaba Eatthai Restaurant, Bond Street branch

If you’re after an authentic Thai dining experience, visit a branch of Busaba.

As soon as you walk through the door in the Bird Street branch, you’re greeted with a warm, thick aroma of green curry mixed with spices.

Solid oak tables and benches line the big restaurant space, and low lights dip in the centre of each.

There are coat hangers and racks dotted around, and chatter fills every corner of the restaurant.

It has a youthful, stylish atmosphere, but this wouldn’t be the ideal location if you were looking for a quiet, romantic meal.

The drinks menu is impressive, with a range of wines and juice concoctions. They even offer cherry soda, popped and fizzing fresh out of a glass bottle!

The food menu is relatively simple. It offers a great selection of meat dishes, but the vegetarian options are not so vast.

Portions are large and food arrives promptly after ordering. Presentation of the food is impressive too.

Pandan Chicken (£5.30)

As a side dish, I’d definitely recommend the Pandan chicken (£5.30). You carefully unwrap the Pandan leaf to reveal succulent steaming pieces of tender chicken marinated in garlic, coriander and spices.

There is even a recipe for the Pandan chicken on the website. If you want to try it yourself click here!

For mains, the Jungle Curry (£8.40) is popular. It’s a spicy hotpot of grilled chicken pieces with vegetables, including aubergine, bamboo shoot and French beans. But be warned, this dish is spicy!

The Char-grilled chicken with spicy cucumber and sticky rice (£9.80) sounds appetising but what they don’t mention on the menu is that the chicken is left on the bone. This doesn’t go down too well with your stomach if you’re really hungry and have to spend ages de-boning the meat!

Green chicken curry (£8.70)


The green curry fried rice (£8.70) looks very appetising but is actually very bland.

What the restaurant is best known for is its calamari dishes.

In terms of pricing, an average meal is likely to cost between £15 and £20 per person.

The chain is very popular. Evenings are extremely busy in the Bird Street branch, even on weekdays.

Unfortunately they don’t do reservations so if you want to be seated within five minutes, be sure to arrive at the restaurant between 7 and 7.30pm, as thereafter the queue starts to build and extends out the door by about 8.30pm.

The staff are friendly but your dinner can feel a little rushed due to the need to seat the people forming the ever-extending queue.

We went on a Thursday evening, and the queue outside when we left just after 8pm was insane.

Each table in the restaurant seats around 8 people, sometimes more, and there is a chance that you will be seated beside people you don’t know as staff attempt to seat as many people as possible at a time.

In terms of appearance, Busaba is like an upmarket version of Wagamama in terms of appearance, and prices are slightly higher.

Overall though, this was a great Thai experience, in London.