To any Bournemouth local, Koh Thai seems like an obvious place to visit and review. It’s something of an institution on the Bournemouth independent restaurant scheme after starting up life a handful of years back in the modest Boscombe outlet which quickly became famous for its authentic Thai-inspired cuisine.
It’s not exactly the most underground of Bournemouth restaurant businesses, but it would be rude not to share the reality of how great this place is.
You pretty much always have to book if you’re hoping for a table during evening service – especially on weekends. Friday and Saturday night walk-ins are pretty much out of the window, and it’s clear to see why.
The food is flavoursome Thai fusion, with quality ingredients. A pal of mine who’s been to Thailand more times than there are days in the week calls it the best Thai restaurant outside of Thailand. I certainly call it the best restaurant in town, not only because Thai is my very favourite international cuisine.
Atmosphere is also great. The newer Bournemouth branch is notably larger than the Boscombe one, and is usually the busier of the two despite the increase in tables. Decor is non-fussy with just an influence of Thai which sets a scene without going overboard.
I pretty much always pick a nice selection of dishes to be shared across a table of friends – it’s near impossible to pick just one dish for yourself. That’s the beauty of the tapas setup – you can have a bit of everything!
Amongst my must-haves is the Chicken Satay, tender pieces of chicken with a deliciously moreish peanut sauce. I defy any satay fan to resist – it’s without a doubt the best I’ve ever tried. Secondly the 24 hour ribs, the tender meat of which just falls off the bone and packs a punch. The meat is infused with flavour after being marinated in a soy-based sauce. Trust me, it’s great.
I can’t resist the crispy beef, and refuse to leave without having any. It’s really good quality meat, coated in a batter and accompanied by a delicious soy-based sauce. I could polish off one of these to myself before the plate even lands on the table. Yum!
My main of choice is the yellow egg noodles with chicken, which is made fresh which means I can ask to have it without pesky onions. Probably my favourite dish on the menu along with the crispy beef, it’s everything a greasy Chinese takeaway chow mein ought to be. Vegetables come deliciously ‘al dente’ and the tender pieces of chicken are fairly generously added.
I think the things which strike me most about Koh Thai – along with the bloomin’ delicious food – are the amazingly reasonable prices. Considering the quality and freshness of the ingredients used, I’m always amazed by just how cheap these dishes are. For the same ballpark price as a greasy takeaway or chain-store Asian diner, Koh Thai serve really impressive food which is actually reminiscent of the country of origin. Sure, Thai street food is something to be reckoned with and keeps tourists raving about it, but if a trip across Asia isn’t in your price range a trip to Bournemouth Triangle or Boscombe High Street can give you a hint of what the country has to offer.
Have you been to Koh Thai? What’s your must-have dish from the menu?