Monday, 8 May 2017

Farang - Thai Street Food

There were a couple of Thai restaurants on my list. Though Som Saa looked more interesting, Farang was more accessible in terms of securing a table. That was before we looked up on google map and realised it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere - took 2 train changes and a bus journey to an Italian restaurant that had small Farang posters plastered on the windows.

Granted it's a 6-month pop up, so the dining room still looked very much like an Italian restaurant, and a pretty old one too. The menu was small but interesting, as was the cocktail list. I started with a deliciously fruity cocktail while he went for the special, which was quite strong and gingery. The server, as expected, said everything on the menu was 'amazing', even went as far as saying she only worked there once a month. for the food. The one dish she highlighted was the 'Nham Prik Ong' and she described it as a bolognese with a rich tomato sauce - no thanks.

Prawn and pomegranate Miang Bites
These small parcels were feisty. The morsels of bouncy prawn cubes were masked by a small concoction of herbs, maybe dried shrimps, chopped nuts, crispy shallots and pomegranate, topped with chillies and a squeeze of lime. The flavours exploded in mouth as the heat from the chillies fired at the tastebuds, and powerful punches from other ingredients unravelled from the fresh fragrance leaf, finished with a touch of slight sweetness from a quarter of gooseberry. It was delicious, tongue-burningly hot, but delicious. The only criticism would be the nuts being too hard.

Grilled Cornish Mackerel with Nham Jim Jaew
This reminded me of the mackerel dish at Kiln, but I think I marginally preferred this one. This was equally spicy, the fish was thoroughly infused  with the heat from birds eye chillies, as was the salad on the side; the seeds were so interweaved with the shreds of vegetables, each mouthful was like a fireball.

Aromatic Curry of Coconut braised Beef Cheeks
This was absolutely delicious. The huge slab of beef cheek was braised to incredible softness, easily crushed into shreds with a spoon. The meat was interlaced with melting tendons, oozed bovine goodness. The curry had a deep richness that was enhanced by the coconut milk, bursting with spicy fragrance, clung well onto the hunky beef for a wholesome dish. The grainy potatoes, though greatly satisfying, was probably a tad too heavy, despite the bundle of pickled turnip wafers trying to lift the density. No doubt the highlight of the evening.

Jungle Curry of Monkfish and Salmon
We were warned of the jungle curry being the spiciest curry. I don't know what I was thinking. The fish fillets were served in a broth, and the thin layer of floating chilli oil looked relatively harmless, until the heat started to seep through my tongue, progressively setting my mouth on fire. And it lingered, the spiciness never vanished completely, it just perked up much faster with the next mouthful. Both types of fish were succulent and silky, and thoroughly infiltrated by chilli. It was good, but not something I would have again.

We were stuffed. Frankly the beef cheeks alone was filling enough. 

We didn't fall in love with Farang. It was different to the usual Thai fare in London, the kitchen didn't hold back on the chilliest and the style was much closer to Northern Thai / Laos cuisine. I prefer my Thai dinner with coconut cream and sticky rice though. It was really nice to try something different, it just wasn't for me. 

San Daniele Highbury
72 Highbury Park
Highbury East
N5 2XE
Tel: +44 207 226 1609

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