Kaosarn, Brixton Village, Granville Arcade

Oh Khao San Road, Bangkok. How many times have I wandered down your bonkers strip, waiting for a bus to take me to Laos or Chaing Mai or the beaches in the South. How many times have I peered in the window of a tattoo parlour, panicked and walked away. How many times have I sniggered at the white kids getting corn rows or dreadlocks on your pavements, coo-ed at the stray puppies, admired ladyboys (but not their consorts), wandered round the surrounding alleyways with their Thai boxing dens and street food stalls where I ate phad thai and drank Singha or Beer Chang. Oh the fake Diesel jeans and the silver jewelry and the fisherman’s pants and the slogan t-shirts. How many times did I sleep in the Ghekko Guesthouse for a couple of dollars a night, lying under the broken fan to cool down. How exciting it was to find that secret rooftop pool to get away from the heat and humidity. But how sad I was to go back a couple of years ago and discover that you are now inhabited by drunken 16 year olds from Derby with a penchant for starting fights and peeing publicly. Ho hum.

I have no idea if Kaosan in Brixton is named after the Bangkok street so excuse me for the nostalgia-fest, but ANYWAY, Brixton has always lacked a brilliant dinner venue. Sure there are plenty of decent places – Hive Bar, Upstairs, The Ritzy, Satay Bar, Fujiyama – but nothing to get excited about. And of course for lunch options you’re sorted – Franca Manca, Rosie’s Deli, Wild Caper, Brixton Cornercopia – but the market shuts in the evening. You can always shimmy along Herne Hill way to the Lido Cafe, The Florence and The Prince Regent, but sometimes you just don’t want the walk.

So when Jay Rayner gave a glowing review of the family-run Thai restaurant Kaosan in Brixton, The Chef and I and it seems a huge number of other Brixtonites got terribly excited. And it is utterly brilliant. We went there on Tuesday night and had the most amazing meal. You can sit outside or inside and its BYO so we sat under the stars drinking bottles of Sol and eating deliciously spicy food – the atmosphere is brilliant and it had that holiday feeling which is soooo invaluable when you’re living in London.

The food was consistently excellent too. Tender and juicy pork skewers, delicately battered goong tod (king prawns), crispy gaew tod (prawn and pork filo parcels). And then the mains of gai yang, kow neaw, somtum (chicken in a gorgeous marinade with a spicy peanut salad and sticky rice) and the most delicious deep lamb massaman curry. And all this for £15 each.

We both agreed it was the best Thai meal we’d ever had in London and that (shock!) it was probably even better than most of the meals we’d ever had in Thailand. I’m dying to go back and try the pork ribs and the green and red curries and to bring friends and lots of wine and try pretty much everything else.

We met the owner Noy (Noi?) afterwards who was lovely – he runs it with his wife, neice and daughter, a proper family business, and he really cares about the atmosphere and ingredients and his regulars. He did start talking about the “concept” but I chose to ignore that part. He said if you brought a party along he’d make special bespoke meals for you, and he was an incredibly lovely and happy man.

I am so so thrilled to find a fantastic resto in Brixton so thanks to JR for finding it! Icing on the cake was seeing the big man himself on the way there…

Kaosarn on Urbanspoon

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6 responses to “Kaosarn, Brixton Village, Granville Arcade

  1. Keep meaning to try this place. No excuse seeing as I’m in Stockwell

  2. Pingback: The Brixton Week Ahead | Brixton Blog

  3. great but theres a new thai restaurant opening in clapham soon with similar concept

  4. I personally, having visited this restaurant on two occasions would suggest that it be avoided…the food is good enough, but the staff are exceptionally rude and determined to create a bad atmosphere, one the basis of my experience yesterday, where I was quite literally scorned by a member of the family for asking to sit in a window table, with no reservation card on it, and told to “sit where I’m told to sit”! This establishment doesn’t deserve to receive such high ratings if it means they are under the mistaken belief that they can treat customers so badly. Understandably, I walked out on this occasion, and asked them why they were being so rude. I only wished I had done so on my previous attempt to have a pleasant meal there, when I had to wait for an inexcusably long time for my food, while having to endure table after table of other diners being served before me. When I politely pointed out that I had been waiting for rather a long time for them to even TAKE My Order, they were very brusque with me indeed. Not good enough, folks!

  5. Brixton Village is all very well, but the landlords have no interest in looking after the building and no interest in fair rents. These foodie places will be gone in year or two, having generated enough publicity to facilitate rent hikes and chain stores. You are being used yb a greedy corporation – namely LAP (London and Associated Properties).

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