Garden and Grill

In my search for the holy grail of Thai restaurants, Garden and Grill has all the makings of being the one. It serves cheap and cheerful Thai food. It has a great outdoor terrace overlooking Portobello road in Notting Hill (with heaters for Winter). What’s more it does BYO – a real rarity in London. I really thought this might be the time when my search through London might have come to an end. Unfortunately, the food on offer is just not very good.
Pinky in blanket
Curious as to what it was, we ordered the “Pinky in blanket” to begin (£5). A handful of prawns arrived, wrapped in rice paper that has been deep fried and served with a slightly spicy sweet chilli sauce. Despite the strange name these were not a bad take on the more traditional spring roll. However, from here things went down hill. Pad Thai (£7.95) is one of my favourite Thai dishes, and when it is made correctly, the balance between the sweetness of the sugar, the acidity of the lime and the bitterness of the fish sauce creates an incredibly moreish dish. Sadly, Garden and Grill’s version of Pad Thai had over dosed on the sugar and the noodles were gluggy rather than pliant.

Pad Thai
The most disappointing dish was the Thai beef salad which was a totally inappropriate name for the slab of beef that arrived on my plate with a tiny portion of lettuce. Not quite the slivers of rare beef and delicately dressed plate of leaves I was expecting. The beef was tough, monotonous and bizarrely it was even served with small boiled potatoes which did not seem very Thai at all.
Thai beef salad – not so much salad as just beef
Garden and Grill has so much going for it, but the fact the food does not pass muster means that it is one to avoid. Sure the prices are fairly cheap, but this doesn’t have to mean poor quality – just look at the excellent and bargain priced Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland road. My search continues.
Details: 253a Portobello road, Notting Hill W11 1LR (Ph 020 7313 6511) Tube: Ladbroke Grove
Damage: Reasonable
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Market Thai which is just opposite Garden and Grill, or my favourite Thai so far in London, Patara Thai.

Garden Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. What a shocker! Why is it Pad Thai so sweet in Thai places in the UK? But really that beef dish takes the biscuit, it looks like pub food. If it was described as steak, potatoes & salad, it would’ve been more apt.

    For decent Thai, have you tried 101 Thai Kitchen? It’s in Hammersmith (nearest tube, Stamford Brook).

  2. Jesus Christ! What on earth is that?! Oh dear.

  3. Try Suchard on Tooley Street by London Bridge…nothing fancy, but I like their pad se eu.

  4. That is the weirdest looking thai beef salad I’ve seen :/

  5. I’m really sorry to laugh at your expense but that steak & vege is the funniest Thai beef salad I’ve ever seen!

  6. oh, you may (or may not) be interested to know that the Battersea Thai festival is happening in Battersea Park this Sunday (25th July)
    Could be good for research, i here there will be London thai restaurants participating…

  7. That seems so sad – it’s like they served that “steak and potatoes” dish because they thought that’s what local customers want.

    Is the place often crowded? If so, maybe they’re just another place that’s found it hard to break out of their niche, however crappy it may be.

    Good Thai food is tough to find in London, it seems. I eat a lot of the green curry at Rosa’s in Spitalfields, but the few times I’ve strayed to other dishes, it hasn’t been pretty. Every now and then, I notice that their pad thai doesn’t use rice sticks, which is bizarre.

  8. Mr Noodles – It was worse than pub food. 101 Thai has been on my list for a long time – really need to make it there.

    Lizzie – I know.

    Krista – Great thanks for the tip

    Lou – So not a Thai beef salad. Thanks for the tip re the festival -there is a lot on this Sunday so I don’t know if I can make it but helpful for others to know about.

    Lex Eat – I almost laughed as well, it was either that or cry

    American in London – I still have to try Rosa’s although I hear they are expanding to Soho?

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