Thai upon Thames is on the Twickenham side of the river, quite near the Richmond bridge in a parade of shops. It has a long, narrow dining room with cream walls and lino floor, with assorted Thai prints and photos hanging on the walls.
The menu is quite lengthy and fairly conventional. There was a short wine list, which commits the cardinal sin of not listing vintages. This is important because not only do prices of many wines vary significantly between vintages, but some red wines in particular can be unapproachable in their early years due to tannin, so it is critical to know which vintage is on offer in order to see whether you are getting a wine at its peak or one that still has several years to go before being ready to drink. Example wines included Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Garden Series Riesling at £23 for a wine that cost around £7 in the shops, Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc at £30 for a wine that costs around £9 retail in its youth, and Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape for £38 for a wine that you can buy for between £16 and £28 in early vintages.
A tom yum goong soup (£4.95) was not an auspicious start to the meal. The stock was un unappealing grey colour, and although the few prawns present were cooked OK the stock was disappointingly dull and one-dimensional, lacking the range of ingredients and spices that a good version of this soup should have (10/20).
I had the classic som tam salad (£5.95), which rather oddly did not use green papaya, which is traditionally its main ingredient, instead substituting shredded swede. This did not work out that badly, and the spicy dressing was fine (11/20), but it would be best to declare this major ingredient change on the menu; when I enquired about this I was told that green papaya was “hard to get” (it isn’t, my local Thai supermarket stocks it regularly and had plenty today).
Main courses also showed inconsistency. A dish of salmon with basil leaves and onions arrived visibly and obviously badly overcooked, the surface of the salmon pieces dried out. One taste was enough to confirm that this was inedible (10/20). To be fair, when I send this back it came back better cooked, though the salmon was remarkably tasteless.
Prawn and pineapple curry with prawns had again a rather ordinary coconut milk-based sauce, with adequately cooked prawns, that could have done with a bit more chilli kick (11/20 if I am being kind). Some stir-fried mixed vegetables were adequate though again could have done with a bit more spice in my view (maybe 11/20). Pad Thai noodles were probably the best dish, with pleasant texture and comfortably in 11/20 territory.
The bill came to £35 a head once a tip was added. Service itself was very friendly and pleasant. This was a pretty inconsistent meal with a couple of really poor dishes, so although overall the meal averaged somewhere between 10/20 and 11/20, it would be hard to recommend this place.
My thoughts on La Buvette in Richmond https://t.co/huZHtiaP8e https://t.co/YgnaDYQfvN