Good cheap Thai food in Putney
Bourgainvillea Thai Cafe (Putney, London)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Bourgainvillea Thai Cafe (Putney, London)
Advantages: Cheap, great food, great service
Disadvantages: No alcohol available to buy (but you can BYOB), cash only
This 'cafe' is a tiny restaurant about two minutes from East Putney tube station in London and is a real little gem, offering fabulously fresh food for very good prices. If you are ever in the area and enjoy Thai food, it really is worth a visit.
1 Keswick Broadway
Upper Richmond Road
Tel: 020 8874 5096
As you come out of East Putney tube station, turn right down Upper Richmond Road, walk past the Somerfields, cross the road and there is a small collection of businesses (including a taxi service) which includes the restaurant. The number 37 and 337 buses also pass right outside and can be caught from Clapham Junction.
These are perhaps not standard, so it is worthwhile checking in advance. It is open every evening from 6pm-10pm. From Monday to Friday, it is open for lunch from 11.30am-3.00pm. However, it is shut for lunch on weekends. There is a take-away service in the evenings, free for home delivery within a 1 mile radius; £1 per mile thereafter.
This is incredibly simple. It is a very small room with perhaps five or six tables of differing size (one could sit about 12 people) with the kitchen tacked on behind the counter and in full view of the customers. There are a few pictures on the wall, but nothing particularly noteworthy - probably why they manage to keep the prices down so low.
If you are hoping for a boozy evening, you could be disappointed unless you are well-prepared. There is no alcohol sold on the premises, although there is a wide selection of soft drinks and tea. However, before anyone panics, you can bring your own bottle, and there is a Somerfield practically right next door. We took a bottle of wine; they happily provided us with glasses for a measly pound.
The menu isn't the largest I've ever seen, but it still had practically everything I could expect from a Thai menu. Starters begin at £1.50, the average being about £3.50, and include things like spring rolls, tempura, satay, prawn toast and fish cakes. Main dishes consist largely of curries (red, green and yellow) and stir-fried meat and vegetables and cost around £6 per dish. There is also a selection of soups, salads, rice dishes and noodles. There is a very impressive vegetarian menu, including a selection of seven separate mains.
As often seems to happen with Thai restaurants in London, the kitchen is open-plan and directly behind the counter so that customers are able to see how the food is prepared. This gives a real sense of freshness, and it really comes through in the food.
We had a selection of dishes, including fish cakes, deep fried king prawns and steamed dumplings for starters, chicken with cashew nuts and chilli, garlic and basil with pork for mains. This came with steamed rice and Pad Thai noodles with chicken. Everything was beautifully cooked and seasoned - slightly spicy, but not over-poweringly so. The main dishes came with a good proportion of vegetables, especially peppers, onions and aubergine, as well as basil. Best of all, it wasn't swimming in oil.
This was truly excellent. There were two girls who appeared to be both cooks and waitresses, but they were both polite, smiley, attentive without being overly so and generally a pleasure to have around. We spent two hours there, but never once felt like perhaps we ought to go. The food was served promptly and the restaurant was glowingly clean.
Well, there aren't really any. There didn't appear to be a toilet at all, although I'm sure that legally they have to provide one for staff, so maybe it would be possible to ask. Wheelchair access would be fine - there are no steps up to the restaurant.
We paid just over ten pounds per person, which, considering the quality of the food and the amount that we ate, was very good value. Of course, alcohol would need to be factored in for anyone wanting to bring their own. However, it is still excellent value, particularly for London. One problem: it is cash only, so anyone used to paying for everything by credit card could be disappointed.
I will definitely be returning here. It is excellent value for money, and the disadvantages - cash only and no alcohol sold on the premises - are largely unimportant when everything else is taken into consideration. Highly recommended.
Summary: Great value, especially for London!