PR Executive and freelance writer/translator from London. Love to see new places, practise yoga and eat good food. Read more at https://wanderwomanco.com/
Published March 25th 2018
Be there or be Thai Square
As one of the most unique buildings in Putney, if not London, it is not easy to miss Thai Square Putney Bridge. The restaurant stands proudly alongside the river, overtly designed to resemble a ship - complete with metal beams and soaringly wide windows which overlook the River Thames. In fact, it was recently voted as having the 3rd best view from a restaurant in the UK.
There is a contemporary feel as you approach the front doors, but it's all tradition inside. And although it may look empty from the outside, the party is happening upstairs - and on a drizzly Friday night in March, Thai Square at Putney Bridge is almost 100% full.
Having opened in 2011, the restaurant remains a South-West London favourite even 7 years after its conception. The staff are all Thai, as we Londoners have come to expect from any authentic Thai establishment, as are all the kitchen team.
We are greeted in Thai when we arrive and ushered past the fiery-red bar, up the candle-lit staircase to our white-clothed table. The sun had already set when we sat down, but you can tell that on a sunny afternoon there would be stiff competition for a seat here - even if only for the view.
The Executive Chef at Thai Square Putney Bridge since 2016 is Parichat Sanguthai, more affectionately known as Oula. Having travelled and worked extensively in Europe, Oula is known for blending western and eastern culinary influences, something that is all too visible in the new executive menu which was launched at Putney Bridge.
The best examples of Oula's experimental attitude are a starter of Grilled Scallops with Garlic Butter and Peppercorn; or the Duck Salad with Longan, a juicy tropical fruit. For mains she has developed a familiar Green Curry but serves it with succulent Lobster Tail, she sprinkles truffles on a noodles dish and there is a Grilled Black Cod with Chilli Jam.
As tempting as 'fusion' cuisine can be, we took a more traditional approach during our visit to Thai Square. To start, we went for the classic Chicken Satay skewers (£7.95) which were marinated with Thai herbs and coconut milk; and the Salt and Pepper Squid (£8.25).
For mains, the Duck Curry (£15.95) caught our eye. An incredibly fragrant, rich dish, the curry sauce is made with red curry paste and peppers, and a touch of sweetness comes from the lychees and pineapple slices. The deep-fried duck leg sits atop the curry, with the tender meat falling off the bone. When we say fragrant, it really is an indulgent curry, so best enjoyed with a side of Coconut Rice (£3.95) or Sticky Rice (£3.95).
Torn between the Pad Thai and the Drunken Noodles (£16.50), we asked our waitress her recommendation. "The Drunken Noodles are spicier, stir-fried with sirloin beef and fresh chillies, but overall the Pad Thai is a tastier dish" she said. The Pad Thai (£17.50) arrived and the wild-caught jumbo prawn surprised us by just how jumbo it was.
Already feeling full (the portions at Thai Square are very generous), we had a taste of two desserts: the Lychee Mousse and the Mango Sorbet. The Lychee Mousse comes garnished with rose petals and is the ideal palette refresher after the heavy aromatic flavours.
The interior of the restaurant strikes the same balance as the menu; where traditional Thai elegance meets contemporary, Western design. Like any good restaurant that has welcomed crowds every Friday and Saturday night for the past 7 years, the furniture and corners are a little tired, but the overall effect remains. There are antique artefacts, handcrafted plates and Buddha statues, all set against the glamourous backdrop of floor-to-ceiling windows and a romantic, bespoke chandelier hanging at the helm of the restaurant.
From the finest locally sourced produce to the curious marriage of east and western cuisine, Thai Square Putney Bridge remains one of the most distinctive Thai restaurants in the capital, on the simple basis of authentic flavours served against a quintessential English river view.