Located above a pub (the Market bar) on Portobello road the restaurant is filled with ornate wooden carved arches in a bid to create a Thai atmosphere. MTV boyfriend and I visited on a Friday night and Market Thai is fairly quiet which is not a great sign. Undeterred we order a serve of spring rolls and a couple of Singha beers to start. The spring rolls are small and crunchy, filled with tangy vermicelli noodles and vegetables.
The menu contains all the Thai classics such as Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai noodles and Massamun curry. Ignore these though the dish to order is the Pla Lad Prik which comprises crispy deep fried pieces of sea bass served with carrots, beans, mushrooms and broccoli and slathered in a spicy chilli and tamarind sauce. The texture of the sea bass provides a welcome foil to the stir fried vegetables. The Gratiem Prik Tai is just as good. This beef stir fry with garlic and pepper is served sizzling hot on an iron dish. The beef is tender and has just a hint of garlic and pepper with a mild heat.
The servings of Jasmine steamed rice are generous in size and light and fluffy. The only disappointment is the Pud Puk stir fried bean shoots and mushrooms in an oyster sauce as the vegetables have been overcooked and are a little flaccid. Service is friendly and exudes the famous Thai hospitality.
Pla Lad Prik
So is my quest over? Is Market Thai the holy grail? My verdict is good, perhaps great but not amazing Thai. The food is generally of a high standard but lacks the wow factor and the restaurant itself is slightly tired and needs a little more hustle, bustle and atmosphere in general. That said, I think I will return just for the Pla Lad Prik alone.
Details: 240 Portobello Road, Notting Hill W11 1LL (Ph 020 7460 6538)
Category: Restaurants - Thai, W11