If you’ve never eaten great Thai food in London while listening to Nicki Minaj’s greatest hits, may I suggest killing two birds with one stone by visiting the Heron in Marleybone. While I am ill equipped to describe the complex food (this I will leave to my illustrious colleague, dining companion, and Thai food expert The Skinny Bib, whose descriptions of our delicious dishes are below), I will gladly detail the atmosphere, which transcends the bizarre.
The Heron fills a basement dining room near London’s Paddington Station. A staircase transports you from a ground-floor estate pub to an alternate dimension in which karaoke and inflatable decorative soccer balls reign. Wall-mounted flat screen TVs broadcast pop videos while magic happens in the kitchen. It’s an unusual place whose oddness melts away as the plates arrive. The Skinny Bib did the ordering and here’s what we ate in the fine company of our mutual friend and fellow blogger Gastro1:
Kai Yiew Mar Kra-Pow Krob – Deep fried century egg with minced pork, oyster sauce, chilli, garlic and holy basil. A hybrid of Chinese and Thai. Century egg is made from a kind of fermentation. The duck eggs are left to ferment in a liquid compound of tea leaf, sodium carbonate, and other mineral compound for up to a month. In Thai we call century egg “kai yiew mar” meaning eggs that smell like horse piss.
Gaeng Som Cha-Om Tod Khai – Orange Curry with Prawns and Bitter Leaf Omelette. Sour and spicy curry of many herbs (shallots, galangals, dried chilli, etc) with tamarind juice. “Orange” refers only to colour. No coconut milk.
Yum Plaa Duk Foo – Deep Fried Catfish Floss with Spicy Salad Dressing. Grilled and mashed up catfish. Deep fried. Served with dressing made from fish sauce, garlic, chilli, lime juice and toppled with red onions, shredded green mango and peanuts.
Sai Krok Isarn – Grilled fermented pork and rice sausages. Minced pork+boiled shredded pig skin+rice with some garlic paste and nitrate salt. Left to ferment for a few days and grilled.
Som Tam Naam – Green papaya salad with fermented pork sausage.
Yum Tua – deep fried peanuts with lime pieces, dried chilli, shallots, salt.
You can read The Skinny Bib’s post on the Heron here.
The Heron is located at 1 Norfolk Crescent (Sussex Garden end), W2 2DN London.