Freelance writer and photographer who has contributed to UKTV, Expedia, Hotels.com and USA Today and lives in West London.
Published October 24th 2012
Great value Northern Thai food in Fulham
Set on the North End Road, Chaam is only a five-minute walk from Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea, one of the richest and most glamorous football clubs in the world. Handily, Fulham Broadway tube station (District Line) is even closer to the restaurant, just a short stroll.
Fulham extends to the north bank of the River Thames and is a largely residential area inhabited mainly by the well-to-do who can afford the £1m-plus property prices.
North End Road, just off West London's Fulham Road, is a bustling, commercial street and Chaam is set in a double fronted property with floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, the decor combines a minimalistic aesthetic with subtle lighting and wall displays of quirky Thai ceramics.
Family-run Chaam breaks out of the standard Thai restaurant mould by offering food from the northern Thailand provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. Purists will tell you that much of the Thai food available in London, good as it often is, is not the real deal since it's heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine.
At Chaam, both starter and main choices include a smattering of dishes familiar from other Thai restaurants, but it would be a crime to miss the chance of tasting some more unusual dishes, many with a heavy street food influence.
For a starter, try Mae Pim's Chiang Mai sausage, made to a secret family recipe that includes Thai curry paste, pork and kaffir leaves. If you're in soup mood, order the Chiang Mai style version – a kind of Tom Yum with lots of fresh Thai herbs and strips of chicken breast.
For a main, the Hung Lay comes highly recommended. It's an authentic northern red curry with pork, tamarind, ginger slices and turmeric. For a hearty noodle dish you won't go wrong with Kao Soi, egg noodles with chicken in a yellow curry paste soup topped with preserved cabbage, shallots and crispy noodles with a lime wedge to give it a piquant edge.
The restaurant has a short wine list and offers two types of Thai beer, Singha and the lesser known Chang.
If you thought you were bored of Thai food, a trip to Chaam with its markedly different cuisine is guaranteed to revive your interest. Plus this restaurant is great value, with most mains costing between £7 and £9.