“ 1191 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8TQ.Tel: 0141 229 1191 „
Thai Siam was our choice of eatery recently after an early evening excursion to the theatre. It was a wet, miserable evening but the welcome was warm and the atmosphere cosy.
Situated in the West End of Glasgow at 1191 Argyle Street, Thai Siam is unimpressive from the outside, just another building in a row of shops with a neon sign. However the interior is modern and tastefully decorated. The restaurant seats approximately 60 on decent sized tables. There is the obligatory fish tank, a small bar area and the walls are sparsely decorated with large prints and three-dimensional textured pictures of Buddha.
We were greeted by smiling and friendly staff, dressed in traditional Thai costume who led us straight to our table. There was a basket of complimentary Thai prawn crackers waiting for us - and none of those white, polystyrene-like Chinese takeaway crackers - they were darker, crisper and actually smelled and tasted of prawn. We made short work of them, while we perused the extensive menu.
The choice is absolutely bamboozling - an excellent selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes, noodles, soups, salads, curries, stir fries and sizzling dishes.
It was thirsty work deciding what to eat so we ordered an imported Singha beer each. These were perfectly chilled, brought to our table in the bottles and poured for us.
We are not terribly au fait with Thai food, so we decided to order one of the set Banquet meals in order to sample a couple of different dishes.
The plate of starters was positively groaning. HUGE Goong Tempura (prawns), delicate Poh Pia Gai (chicken spring rolls), tender spicy chicken wings, tasty Gra Dook Tord (barbecued pork ribs) and succulent chicken skewers with satay sauce. As if this wasn't enough, very spare square inch of the platter was piled high with deliciously fresh mixed vegetable tempura - I identified peppers, mange tout, courgette and aubergine. All this was accompanied by a small dish of sweet chilli dipping sauce as well as the dish of slightly spicy satay sauce. I wasn't a huge fan of the ribs (which made Mr Carcraig very happy!) but I thought everything else was fabulously fresh tasting and tasty.
Our main courses consisted of a sizeable bowl of Gang Sub-Pa-Rod Gai (chicken and pineapple curry), a platter of Pad Gratiam Prig-Tai (fried chicken, pork and prawn) and Pad Pak Ruam (Stir fried vegetables). All this was accompanied by a large bowl of jasmine steamed rice.
The chicken and pineapple curry was swimming in a delicious coconut sauce with enough chillies to pack a decent punch. The chicken was tender and I suspect the pineapple was of the fresh, rather than tinned, persuasion. I could have happily eaten the curry sauce with the fragrant and slightly sticky rice alone.
The fried dish was slightly light on the prawn front but this didn't detract from the dish. Large pieces of sliced tender pork and chicken, topped with a couple of butterfly prawns in a light sauce with just enough cracked black pepper to give the dish a kick.
The vegetable dish was so fresh tasting, the colours were vibrant and the pieces were cooked just how I like them - just slightly on the crisp side still. It was a light and healthy accompaniment along with the bowl of rice.
We had ordered a glass each of the house red (175ml £3), which was very palatable and served at an appropriate temperature. We were also brought glasses of iced tap water which were replenished without us having to ask.
After all this I was completely stuffed, unsurprisingly, and I was unable to sample the banana or pineapple fritters that sounded very tempting - I am definitely going to try to leave a corner for them next time though. Mr Carcraig, however, decided he did have a small corner left and plumped for the Siam Bombe - a tennis-ball sized dollop of deep fried ice cream.....He found the thick crispy batter a bit too much, but the ice cream, locally produced by Crolla, was creamy and really superb.
After all this, we relaxed at our table with a pot of Thai tea (which to me was very similar to Chinese jasmine tea).
The service throughout was exemplary. The staff were very attentive, efficient and polite and asked us several times if our food was to our liking. I was very impressed with the manner in which they handled a diner on an adjacent table who decided once his meal had arrived that the dish he had ordered was not really what he wanted. They asked him what dish he had in mind and then relayed this to the chef before returning with a new dish for him. And they did all this without giving the impression of being irritated in the slightest.
We availed ourselves of the "facilities" during our visit and can confirm that nothing was amiss in this area. Clean and well appointed, nothing negative to report.
Our bill was brought to us with a small dish of jelly beans - and for this veritable feast of delicious food and drink the total was £52.60. For fare of this quality, albeit slightly out with the city centre, I thought this was decent value.
Thai Siam have a second branch in Paisley and a full menu, contact details and other information can be found on their website at www.thaisiamglasgow.com.
They offer a special lunch menu starting from £7.90 for two courses and a Pre-Theatre menu of three courses for just £11.90. Takeaway service also available.
Thai Siam, 1191 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8TQ
0141 229 1191