London does not have a shortage of Thai restaurants. Being a culturally diverse city that has so much to offer in terms of food, it comes as no surprise. Being a “Lahori” (from the Pakistani city of Lahore) I live to eat! Food is everything to me. Never thought I’d live in another city where there are new restaurants opening every day or there’s so much to do that it makes you feel overwhelmed at times.
This is where I come in! I thought this website will steer you through some great places to eat I’ve found so far and many more I haven’t managed to publish on the website. For everyday food news follow us on Twitter @foodiarieslon and “like” our Facebook Page: Food Diaries London.
Ok enough about self-promotion and more about this new Thai place, Naamyaa Cafe, I finally managed to check out! Back in August 2012, I tweeted about these guys opening up shop in Angel building. I’m a HUGE fan of Busaba Eathai! Even though it’s a chain and I tend to stay away from chain restaurants, this is one place that has managed to maintain its standards of service, quality and authenticity of the food.
Despite being under the same management as Busaba, I like the fact that Naamyaa Cafe has its own identity and the menu is more experimental- “an eclectic menu from the east and west” as they aptly put on their website.
So when I heard about their sister brand Naamyaa Cafe, I was instantly excited. Fast forward to August, 2013 (!!) and I finally managed to visit these guys.
I wasn’t sure how busy it would be so decided to tweet them. I saw that their Twitter feed was fairly active so thought I should get a prompt reply within the next hour or so. And I did! I love businesses that value social media and how important it is nowadays for their brand. So that was the first plus for me! They were very proactive and booked a table for me for 7PM, just in case 😉
The outside of the building is a classy black but once you enter, you’re taken into another domain. Regal, glossy, shiny, grand, understated elegance…va va voom! are all the words that come to mind. We were greeted at the reception and promptly taken to our table. The place was getting quite busy so they made the right decision in booking a table for us 🙂
We sat down and ordered some drinks. I ordered a really refreshing drink (FORGOT THE NAME! :/) made of Lychee and coconut water I think, but what I do remember is that it was sooo good that I ordered TWO! It was light and refreshing.
Next up was starters- with so much to choose from and not enough space in the stomach I wanted to go for some regulars to see how they would fare. So we ordered the Po Pia Jay (miniature vegetarian Thai spring rolls), as you do, and Golae Calamari.
I love the calamari at Busaba so was interested to see how these guys would do theirs. Despite everything I couldn’t help comparing the food. Suffice to say it wasn’t like Busaba’s at all. It had it’s own sweet and tangy flavour plus the way it was cut and cooked was completely different. The spring rolls were cooked perfectly. They were crispy and had the right amount of filling. In terms of taste- nothing different from what I’ve eaten before.
While we were taking a break from food and thinking of what main to order, one of the lovely staff members suggested we order the prawn crackers. What was so different about these crackers? They had a kick of chilli in them hence the difference in colour.
Whilst we were stuffing our face with the prawn crackers, we looked at the menu to see what mains to order. For any new Thai cafe/restaurant, I have to try their Green Chicken Curry no matter what! So we ordered a Green Chicken Curry and Naamyaa Red Curry Sea Bass out of the Naamyaa Set with a side of Jasmine rice. We’re all familiar with the curry but I had never tried a Naamyaa set. The image of it in the menu looked quite interesting and I decided to give it a go. The food took slightly longer than usual but the prawn crackers and the open views of the kitchen kept us busy! The staff knew we were waiting for the food as well so they kept us informed. I’d rather someone tells me what’s happening with my food rather than completely ignore until the food is ready to hit the table.
And then our food arrived! Mmmm the smell was sooo good. The Green Chicken Curry has lovely colours, mouthwatering flavours and a kick of chilli! Yum!
Now for the Naamyaa Red Curry Sea Bass. Just look at the colours and the presentation!! It looks amazing. Their lovely staff member knew we had not eaten it before so suggested the way to eat it. He asked us to mix it up a little and then taste bits of it to see what flavours we liked together and what worked for our individual palate. I loved the red curry and the flavours but I did find quite a few bones in the fish so had to be careful while chewing! The overall texture was quite interesting especially with the thin rice noodles. I would definitely recommend trying this dish as it’s different and not the regular curries we order at a Thai restaurant.
Overall I think this place was amazing and they totally nailed customer service (online and offline 😉 ) I definitely want to come back for a brunch and try something from their hot breakfast menu or even charcoal oven eggs! Mmmhmmmmm they sound delicious. A very versatile place- brunch, lunch, coffee or dinner; whatever you fancy!
It’s a 2 minutes walk from Angel station and the location is so convenient you can even bus it down from Kings Cross Station. I’m glad they stayed away from the busy Upper Street in Angel and set up house in Angel building instead. I was told they’re also opening in the recently popular Old Street/Shoreditch area so keep your eyes peeled people! They’re open for coffee and desserts all day long too, so those with a sweet tooth can pop by.
Please let me know if you’ve been here or planning to go. If you have already been to Naamyaa Cafe I’d love to know how your experience was and what you ordered. I’d love to try something new next time I visit.
P.S: Hummingbird Bakery is right next door so all you lovers of their red velvet cupcake know where to go next! 😉