Sunday 27 January 2013

Thai Spice, Chorlton

I took my parents to Thai Spice a few years ago. Despite them never having eaten Thai food before, my Dad declared it the best meal he'd ever had!
When we were kids, and were taken for the occasional meal out on holiday in Torquay or Ilfracombe my Dad's mantra to us when choosing was always: "stick to what you know!" So when my sister chose something 'exotic' like Duck a l'orange and consequently didn't like it, the old saying would come up: "I told you, stick to what you know!" My Dad has been eating apple pie as his pudding of choice for about 40 years. They will always try something new though, and it was lovely to see them enjoying their first taste of Thai food.

When I eat Thai or Chinese, my Dad's old mantra comes up in the depths of my brain, and I often end up eating the same dish. At Thai Spice it's the Gaeng Panang. We don't go to Thai Spice regularly, but when we do, I always say, "why don't we come here more often?" It's a nice little place on Beech road, and on Saturday evening when we went, every table was full.

After the bowls of prawn crackers, we settled on the Thai Spice Mixed Starters: Chicken Satay, Spring Rolls, Pork Spare Ribs, Prawns on Toast, and Golden Triangles with a selection of Sauces (£13.95 for two.) Unlike yesterdays debacle at Olive & Thyme (I may get over it some day though I doubt it,) it's pretty good value for sharing. We especially like the spare ribs with their sweet & sticky sauce, and the meat falls off the bone.
Thai Spice Mixed Starters.

After a bit of a wait, our mains finally arrived. As I say, we always have the Gaeng Panang (Thick Red Curry with Coconut Milk, Peppers, Kaffir Lime Leaves and Sweet Basil Leaves; £8.75 for the chicken version.) I wish I'd have noticed that they do it with duck for £9.45, the chicken for me tasted too processed and dry. Same with the prawns, in some Chinese-Thai-Indian restaurants the prawns tend to be over cooked & become rubbery, so we avoid them.
The real draw here though is the sauce. That slight heat and fresh clean taste of the Kaffir leaves and lemon grass with the sumptuous creaminess of the coconut milk is unmistakably Thai. We got ours with Kao Suay: Steamed Thai Fragrant Jasmine Rice (£2.50.)

Gaeng Panang.

One  reason that we don't come here as often is that I get slightly irritated with the high mark up on the Tiger beer. As already discussed in earlier reviews, this is where restaurants really make money. But if you're drinking several beers over a meal like me, costs really do mount up. (It's around about £3 for a small bottle which to be fair is fairly standard in restaurants.) I probably go to average Indian Impress over the road five times for every one trip to Thai Spice. Why? Because it's BYO and so is a whole lot cheaper.
The 3 types of Ice cream looked good, you could see little black specs of vanilla from the inside of the vanilla bean, but it just tasted mainly of cold. I found a Glacé cherry, I've not eaten one of these since the 80's!

Ice cream selection.

Half of the table thought the Banana fritter served with ice cream was the work of the devil, half were looking forward to it all night, (including Mrs. Bacon) it's one of those; you love it or hate it. They loved it.
Banana Fritter. Enough for two to share.

However when it comes to Thai Spice, we all enjoyed our evening there. It is what it is, a cute little local neighbourhood Thai restaurant and none the worse for that.

Price: About £60 for 2, 3 courses & loads of beer which bumps up the cost.
Service: A bit slow but friendly.
Atmosphere: Nice cosy ambience & subdued lighting.
Food: ok.
Star dish: Gaeng Panang

Thai Spice
66a Beech Road
M21 9EG

Thai Spice on Urbanspoon


  1. I went here on a first date. The food and service was so bad that despite the occasion we still had to complain. We had the banquet. The starters were hard and had that very hot feel that you can only achieve in the microwave. The chicken satay was tasteless and tired. Spring rolls and samosas were an injurious threat to health they were so hot.

    The hot and sour soup was insipid and tasteless. The chicken in the soup appeared to have been made from rubber. The dish was super microwave hot.

    The main course was the finishing blow. The vegetables were not cooked. The pork was hard like it had been re-heated several times. The Thai Green Curry had chicken inside that was so tough mere chewing failed to break it down enough for us to swallow.

    The staff were inattentive to the point of being rude. At no point did they ask if we were happy with the meal or if we wanted another drink.

    When I complained to the waitress she then brought a bearded half wit with the manners of an imbecile over to ask us what was wrong again in an abrupt and rude manner so we explained yet again. He was rude and dismissive and did not apologise at any point for our poor experience. When we were paying a third member of staff again wanted to engage in a long conversation about what was wrong with the food in an attempt that she could be rude and dismissive of our complaint too.

    Never risk going to this restaurant. It makes Danone Thai frozen food look more authentic. I have had more polite conversation when being abused by a street drunk than with any member of the staff.

  2. Went there Sunday evening, 18/8/2013 with my wife.

    We ordered two Vegetable Tempura as our starters. The batter was nothing like the batter you'd expect at an authentic Thai restaurant. Instead of being light and airy, slightly transparent - our unsalted vegetables were covered in what looked like fish & chip shop batter, thick, dark brown and stodgy.

    Our mains were the Tofu Yellow Curry with Jasmin Rice & Tofu Red Curry with Coconut Rice. The yellow curry was something rather special; never have I tasted anything so offensive and pungent, but at the same time having one overall vile muddled taste - it was almost as if the sauce was 'add water to powder'. The Red curry, at first seemed decent, but the more I ate of it the worse it tasted - it got very sickly. Both rice were stodgy.

    We decided to walk back, slightly disappointed with our evening as we'd heard good things about this restaurant.

    It's never a good thing when you burp after a meal and the taste that's left in your mouth (the pungent curries) makes you feel like throwing up!

    The next day, we both had dodgy tummies.

    Not a great experience to say the least. Never going back there again. If you're looking for an authentic Thai meal for the same price try Ning's in Manchester or Chaophraya for slightly more money.

    1. Oh dear sounds awful. Not been back myself since the original review. We've been to Chaophraya a few years ago, it was quite good.

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