Thai Taste has been around for many years, but has recently been smartened up. The dining room is now a long, narrow room with a mirror along one wall, and a raised area at the far end where the waitresses congregated and socialised in between occasional forays to the dining room. Although the tablecloths are paper the room itself is quite smart; there appears to be a bar downstairs. The menu offers familiar Thai dishes, with starters £4.95 to £7.95, curries and stir-fried dishes around £7.95 and main courses up to £17.95. There was a short wine list, starting at £13.50 and with selections such as Echevarria Merlot 2008 at £16.50 for a wine that costs £6 in the shops, Saint Claire Riesling 2007 at £22.95 for a wine that retails at £8, up to a bit of a bargain in the form of Chateau Guillot Pomerol 2002 at £45 for a wine that will set you back around £27 (weirdly this was priced the same as the 2004 vintage of the same wine, which can be purchased for £19 retail). Thai beer was £3.50 a bottle.
Som tam was the classic spicy salad made with shredded green papaya, chilli, lemon juice and fish sauce, and in this case with tomatoes, peanuts, shrimps and French beans, served on a lettuce leaf. The sauce had some chilli kick, though the vegetables were rather tasteless, and the papaya itself seemed rather tired (between 0/10 and 1/10). Tom yum goong did not have the complex blend of spices that it should have, though the prawns within it were actually cooked quite well (1/10).
Sea bass was pan-fried whole and garnished with Thai basil leaves in a sweet chilli sauce. The fish was cooked well enough, though the sauce was uninteresting and surprisingly bland (1/10). However a dish of mixed vegetables lacked almost any spice at all, and so was really just a plate of poor quality, overcooked mixed vegetables with nothing to disguise this fact (0/10). Panang curry with prawns had a dull, one-dimensional sauce with slightly over-cooked prawns (0/10). I found the pad Thai quite unpleasant, the texture of the noodles dense and suffering from a faint but distinctly odd sweet taste note that was just weird (0/10).
Service was friendly but bumbling. It was not very busy, but despite three waitresses it took a long time to take the order, and then drinks arrived after the starters. The waitresses all retreated to the far end of the restaurant to chat to each other after delivering dishes, so getting attention (for important things like more beer) was tricky. The bill came to £38 a head, with no desserts and just three beers between two. Overall the cooking swung between vaguely competent and not good at all. It surely should not be that difficult to be able to cook this kind of food, but this is yet another London Thai restaurant that seems to me sub-standard.