Asiatique - Hidden Gem in East Sheen
Asiatique in Sheen offers traditional Thai dishes, combining classic flavours that delight the tastebuds
Thai food has become one of the nation’s favourites. And not surprising – a recent poll of the ‘World’s 50 Best Foods’ found seven Thai dishes were on the list – more than any other country.
So why do we love Thai food so much? Tony Rattanapanya, owner of the cosy and much-loved Asiatique Thai restaurant in East Sheen understands the attraction: ‘There is nothing bland about traditional Thai cooking. It is the perfect blend of strong, aromatic spices and herbs combined with the freshest meat and vegetables.’ And Asiatique has perfected this blend, creating dishes that are not only delicious, but healthy, too.
Traditional Thai food combines four key tastes: sweet, salty, sour and bitter and it is getting the balance of these right that makes the perfect dish. Herbs and spices such as Thai basil, chilli, ginger, tamarind and lemongrass are staples.
We tried the Prawn Tempura (£7.50) and Chicken Tom Yum Soup (£6.50) for starters. The prawns were sumptuously large and deliciously crispy and were given a real zing with the accompanying sweet chilli sauce. The soup, a head-clearing strong mix of chicken mushrooms, lemongrass, lime leaves and chilli gave real heat on a cold night – less spicy versions are available!
The décor at Asiatique is beautiful in its simplicity – a place of calm and tranquillity with authentic Thai accessories that really set the tone of the restaurant.
Preparing Thai food is a celebration in itself and a chance for families to get together. The restaurant is obviously no exception as a large Thai family of eight arrived at around 9.30pm as we were leaving – always a good sign of authentic food.
The menu is wide, with chicken, beef, pork and prawn options for most dishes, so it was difficult to make a choice from such a great selection. For our mains we went for the chicken Panang curry, a mildly spicy dry curry, with lime leaves and sweet basil, and the beef Pad Khing (both £9.95), a stir fried curry with ginger, mushrooms and spring onions, which were full of flavour without being too spicy. The accompanying jasmine rice, pak choi and Singapore noodles were perfect.
We couldn’t resist trying the lemon and mango sorbets, which were icily fresh and fruity tasting – a wonderful end to a great meal.