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Siam Cottage Thai Restaurant (Chelmsford)

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44 Moulsham St, Chelmsford, Essex. Tel: 01245 352245.

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      03.01.2002 14:36
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      If you are looking for a great place to eat in Chelmsford then there really are only two main choices - the trendy London-style Bada in Bromfield Road(subject of a previous review) or the superb Eastern delights of Siam Cottage in Moulsham Street. Whilst you can eat on a reasonable budget at Bada its a different matter at Siam Cottage, so if you’re feeling in the mood for some Thai food then you’d better bring your credit card because it could work out a costly affair...but you certainly get what you pay for! ~Design~ Siam Cottage is a Thai restaurant built inside an old 16th century cottage in Moulsham Street Chelmsford. Whilst external appearances look rather unappealing, rather like an old cottage with smokey glassed restaurant facade slapped on it, internally it is absolutely gorgeous - the contrast is amazing. I have to say I have a penchant for all things Eastern anyway but the decor in many of these kind of restaurants leaves much to be desired - a few fans, couple of dragons and you’re there seems to be the philosphy of many a similar restaurant - but not here. The proprietors of The Siam Cottage have strived very hard to retain the original architecture of the 16th century cottage and to work in the beautiful carved woodwork of their own country around that to give the impression of a ‘Thai teak house’...it works divinely and I swear the food tastes better for it in some strange way! The real ‘feel’ of authenticity is topped off by the waiters and waitresses who are all decked out in traditional Thai costume and the low, not intrusive music which plays gently in the background. I can’t fault the design at all, so I’m not going to try - its lovely and its the cleanest restaurant I have been into (except the meticulous Bada) in the Chelmsford area as well. Some pictures of the design: http://www.thaisrus.com/page3.html nb. the colouring in the photos is a little odd! ~Prices~ Well...you get what you pay for here as with anything in life. I wouldn’t say that its a restuarant which is going to rival the top London ones but its certainly the most expensive place in town...that I know of anyway. Don’t expect much change from £30 per person...and don’t be too surprised if you go for starters, side-salad, drinks, dessert(I swear I had a dessert but they’re not listed on the online menus) etc. to find it creeping upto and over £40 either. You can go there and try to eat on a ‘budget’ as it were as well, but it just all looks so nice...well its always so easy to get carried away when you see what the other table is having. The number of times you wander in somewhere and aren’t going to have a dessert...or just one drink eh? I have been here just the once (on a special occassion - student loans don’t stretch this far very often) and the bill was huge at the end of the night. Lunch menu however seems very reasonable from looking at their website - I’ve never tried it myself but for less than £5 for can get a decent meal...plus drinks of course. ~Food~ I suppose its not much use me spouting off things like “Pla Rad Plic” or “Kho Samui” etc. from the menu so I’ll save us all from that. Suffice to say that The Siam Cottage has an extensive menu from which to choose from, so much so that you’ll end up spoilt for choice. Better still there are two menus to choose from - the general menu and also a special menu which caters especially for vegetarian diners, and this too isn’t too badly stocked for a change should you be of a vegetarian persuasion. Its not hugely impressive, but its there at least and its better than some of the others I’ve seen elsewhere. The food here is simply gorgeous, there is certainly no argument to be had on that score. They claim their chefs are some of the top ones in Ba
      nkok(tell me a place which doesn’t claim similar!) and for once I may be tempted to believe it! Of course, I’m no culinary expert but I can tell you I have never come across anyone who hasn’t been more than satisfied with the quality of food here. It really is delicious, but one word of warning is that if you do not like spicy food then you need to be careful what you are ordering from the menu because some Thai food can be very spicy indeed. Fortunately the staff are incredibly friendly and ery approachable in such matters...without being clingy and annoying like in the Indian restaurant not too far away...but thats another review. Check the online menus at: Dinner(main): http://www.thaisrus.com/page4.html Dinner(vegetarian): http://www.thaisrus.com/page11.html Lunch: http://www.thaisrus.com/page14.html ~Accessibility~ Siam Cottage is situated at the Southern end of Chelmsford’s town centre in Moulsham Street. Getting there shouldn’t be too much of a problem depending on how you intend to do so. Its within walking distance from the from the train/bus station, at least 15-20 minutes through the centre of town although you might not want to go trapsing through the mean streets of Chelmsford late at night all glammed up. The main taxi ranks are in the same place for for that matter, although there’s some by old Judge Tindal’s statue which you’ll know about if you’re a local, or probably stumble across walking through the pedestrianised town centre if not. They are quite missable though so its best to look for the mean looking old judge - you can’t miss him - he’s a big black statue usually sporting a traffic cone on his head or a halloween mask because us students never cease to find that amusing year after year after year...the taxi ranks are right by him and it’ll save a few minutes walking if you spot them. If on the other hand you are c
      oming by car then there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Siam Cottage is about 10 minutes walk from the main multi-storey carpark but there is a smaller car park at the head of Moulsham Street as well which is literally just behind The Siam Cottage. Alternatively you can risk parking in Moulsham Street itself, most of it sports those lovely double yellow line thingumies, but parts do not and there are a few sneaky side alleys you can slip down as well. ;o) A map of the area is provided by Siam Cottage on their site here: http://www.thaisrus.com/page16.html ...but I’m a little sceptical about how useful it is because of its size and blurriness. ~Other Bits and Pieces~ Siam Cottage is a ‘nice’ establishment so probably not the one to fall into after a night in the pub no matter how much of a good idea it might seem at the time. Being at ‘that’ end of town, its also away from the main attractions of Chelmsford’s nightlife, away from Dukes and Zeus (the two main nightclubs) or from the Cramphorn theatre so if you’d probably be better advised to go somewhere like Bada, or the Italian place whose name I can never remember, which is on their doorstep if you are looking to ‘go on’ to one of these afterwards. why anyone would want to eat a big meal and then hit a club is beyond me but I know loads of you do. Being at ‘that’ end of town it also avoids the nightclub crowd which seems to ensure a much quieter, more relaxing evening out...which makes me sound like an old fogey but you know what I mean! I should also say that they take corporate bookings and private functions on their second floor, but as to pricing etc. I have no idea having never used the service. ~Overall~ If I were recommending a place to eat in Chelmsford then the choice would be between the Siam Cottage and Bada. Personally I like the Siam Cottage but they’re two comple
      tely different establishments. If you want “London Chic” go to Bada, if you want a taste of the Far East then you’d be hard pressed to find better than the Siam Cottage in Essex. Its an excellent restaurant and one I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of a night out in the Chelmsford area. ~General Info~~ ~Contact Details~ Address: Siam Cottage Thai Restaurant, 44 Moulsham St, Chelmsford, Essex, Telephone: 01245 352245 Email : thaifood@aol.com Website: http://www.siamcottage.com/ ~Opening Times~ Monday - Saturday : 12pm - 3pm(lunch), 6pm - 12am(dinner) Sunday : 6pm - 12am(dinner only) Food orders available until 10:45

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