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.
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