“ Address: Unit 6 / The Long Shop / 16 Watermills Way / London / SW19 2RD „
Ban Yai is a small Thai restaurant based in Merton Abbey Mills near Wimbledon, which is a small market type area with boutique shops and restaurants. There is free parking nearby or else it is walking distance from Colliers Wood Underground Station (Northern Line).
Whilst visiting in the area one hot weekend (yes, we did get a few hot weekends last summer) we walked through the nearby park and along the river to Merton Abbey Mills and decided to stop here for a bite to eat as I am a big Thai food fan. Although there were plenty of places outside, there wasn't any shade so we elected to eat inside which was more pleasant. The inside is very small with just a few cloth covered tables and typical Thai restaurant décor in the pictures and carvings. They had a good value lunch menu which was £4.95 for one course and £6.95 for two. We were happy just to have the one course. There was also an excellent vegetarian selection and nut dishes were clearly marked.
As an idea on the lunch menu, starters included vegetarian Spring rolls, Chicken Satay, corncakes and hot and sour soup. The A la Carte menu also featured some prawn dishes, scallops and a mixed platter. Starters were priced from £3.65 up to £7.25 for the platter.For my main I dithered for ages. As a veggie I had an excellent choice as most dishes could be served with chicken, beef, prawn or vegetables and I am not used to having so many options! I tried to steer away from the curries or a Pad Thai that I normally have, to take the opportunity to try something new. In the end I went for Pad Bai Kapaow because I liked the name. It was stir fried vegetables with Thai basil, fresh chillies and 'oyster' flavoured sauce (vegetarian) and served with Thai Jasmine rice. It was served beautifully, with the rice in a neat mound and a good selection of finely chopped vegetables. I found the heat manageable, but my friend had a taste and thought it had more of a kick. My friend decided to go from the a la carte menu. Here there was a wider range of fish dishes, curries and stir fries. He went for Pad Kratiem Prik Thai with chicken (£5.95), which was also available with vegetables or beef, or prawns or scallops for an extra charge. A la carte dishes didn't come with rice so he went for steamed jasmine rice for an extra £1.65. The rice came on one plate with a small salad and the chicken on a separate dish. The chicken was stir fried with garlic, white pepper and coriander and 'oyster' sauce and you can you could see the specks of pepper in the sauce. He struggled to finish it because of the intensity of the pepper, but really enjoyed it nonetheless. To drink we had a Chang beer and a diet coke.
Overall our bill came to £17 which is great value for two people for lunch. I cannot fault the service, the restaurant was very busy with many people eating outside but the traditionally dressed staff worked hard and we were always spoken to politely. We also didn't have a long wait for our food, which we had been expecting. There are no toilets in the restaurant as far as I am aware. The public toilets for the whole site are based in the next building. They are OK, but may be missing toilet paper. We both really enjoyed our meal and would be happy to come back here again. The food was freshly cooked to a high standard, well presented, and good value