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Phetpailin Thai Restaurant review

Sarah Roe almost mingles Thai food and lap dancing

Published on March 2nd 2009.


Phetpailin Thai Restaurant review

THERE IS A MORE RECENT REVIEW OF THIS RESTAURANT NOW ON MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL. CLICK HERE.

Phetpailin is a bring your own bottle Thai restaurant in Chinatown, next to the Long Legs lap dancing bar. It shares its entranceway with a confusing array of other small businesses which is part of the charm. As we walked up a slightly seedy flight of stairs there seemed more chance of finding a budget hairdresser or an acupuncturist than somewhere you might want to have your dinner.

But it’s easy to forget the grime and din of the city as you step into the restaurant, the name of which means ‘Sapphire‘. Subtle blue fairy lights hang from the bar and the gentle strum of Thai traditional (one supposes) music fills the room. The bar is decorated with the awning of a country house, while ornate wooden carvings adorn the walls and wooden elephants parade along the window sills.

A large picture of the Buddhist monk Phramongkolthepmuni (does that translate as ‘he who is easy to pronounce?’ Ed?) stares out, in a slightly alarmingly manner, over the restaurant. This lends the venue a vaguely spiritual dimension, and all helps with the illusion that we have been transported far from George Street.

On our visit, the chilled down atmosphere was accentuated by the fact that it was very, very quiet. In fact there was no-one else at all. Still we were greeted by a charming and relaxed waitress dressed in traditional Thai clothing who led us to a table.

There’s a good range of choice, with the usual Thai favourites, including a particularly large seafood and vegetarian menu. For starters we ordered Khanam Pang Nah Moo (£4.50) (deep fried mix of minced pork, coriander, spread on bread, with a plum sauce) and vegetarian spring rolls. If you’re looking for a deep-fried taste sensation, the Khanam Pang Nah Moo could well hit the spot. Vegetarian spring rolls (£4.50) were also good, although they could have stuffed a few more vegetables in there.

Phetpailin’s a homely sort of a place, so we opted for a good old-fashioned dish, with the prawn Thai green curry (£7.95), and it’s certainly not a disappointment. A fragrant soupy mix of lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves and coconut milk, with succulent prawns and fresh vegetables, this was a real symphony of taste, and was clearly made fresh to order. Teamed with a deceptively small bowl of sticky rice (£3.00), this was Thai country cooking at its best.

The Nuea Pad Khee Mao (£7.50) (shredded beef with garlic, chillies, lime leaves, baby aubergines and basil) was fresh and full of flavour, although my dining partner found the beef a little tough. Judging by the size of our stomachs afterwards we really should have resisted the greedy Westerner tendency and stuck with one portion of the sticky rice between us, rather than two.

If you’ve still got room for dessert there’s an extensive range of ice cream and yoghurt concoctions, but defeated by the sticky rice, and a slight sense of embarrassment in front of the watchful eyes of the Buddhist monk, we opted instead for cleansing Jasmine tea.

Later we talk to Egaphon Thongdelert, who took over the restaurant from his parents in October and aims to maintain a traditional kitchen, serving food mainly from Central Thailand. As the main chef in the kitchen he is fastidious about flavours, and makes all dishes fresh to order. “You’ve got to get the right balance of flavours and everyone has different preferences,“ he says. “I encourage customers to let me know if they want a dish spicier or sweeter, and I will make it to order for them.” Although Phetpailin is still not that well-known in Manchester, Egaphon is developing a loyal following and says that around 30 per cent of his clients are repeat customers.

The several pictures of Phramongkolthepkuni around the restaurant are a reference to the meditation that Egaphon and his family practise, and which is an important part of the peaceful atmosphere which they have managed to create in the heart of the city.

Phetpailin is certainly not the slick, fashionable version of Thai restaurants we have become used to in Manchester. The flat screen TV with cheesy Thai pop tunes seems rather incongruous underneath the traditional awning of a Thai country house, the carpets are a bit grubby and the orchids aren’t real.

But it does have an authentic charm of its own and the food is tasty and reasonably priced. If you narrow your eyes a little, it’s just possible to imagine you might be in the suburbs of Bangkok.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GordoMarch 2nd 2009.

OOh, I am glad someone has reviewed this, it's one of my favourites from the cooking point of view, great homemade food; that chef is good at what he does. I think it is dry, but you can bring your own bottle (or cans), that needs to be checked and to boot, it's awesome value. These guys need to be supported folks.

GeoffMarch 2nd 2009.

How much is the corkage then please? Also can you have a 'value for money' rating please. This would be helpful (assuming you include costs also. ;o)

PaulMarch 2nd 2009.

And do they charge to pop your bring your own ?.

NorthernGeezerMarch 2nd 2009.

I tell you what else would help with the reviews, if they were dated, i aint got a clue when this was written or whether its current or wot>

ancoats girlMarch 2nd 2009.

Sounds yummy - might try there for lunch on Sunday.

EditorialMarch 2nd 2009.

Oops we missed those. Will get them up sharpish...sorry...give us a couple of hours.

Gritish FilmsMarch 2nd 2009.

Went here about 2 years ago, pretty dissapointing compared to what you can get at the Ko Samui for the same money at lunchtime.If any readers like there thai & live near Oldham...pop to the Lana Thai on huddersfield Road, Magic food & great staff. Open every day cept monday.

JaiMarch 2nd 2009.

I love this restaurant, we go there for groups and the service is always great, food always good. Its not the fanciest restaurant but it does what it says on the tin. BYO also means you get a good night out in town without being ripped off with over priced rubbish wine!

ADMarch 2nd 2009.

Might be helpful if you added some prices to this review...

DigMarch 2nd 2009.

I've never been to a Thai restaurant. I don't own any thai's. Same reason I've never been to watch Thai Boxing. I must invest in a Thai, my social life would benefit greatly.

SidMarch 2nd 2009.

I have been to Thailand and I like Thai food. I must say their food is quite authentic. I have been going to there for a dinner every week. Unfortunately, it has been very quiet lately. The credit crunch does affect all the restaurants' business in China Town. Sad !!

PaulMarch 2nd 2009.

This review raises more questions than answers

Alice in WonderlandMarch 2nd 2009.

So was the bowl of rice deceptively small or deceptively big then??

MontblueMarch 2nd 2009.

Been going to this little gem for a while. Fantastic, especially the tamarind duck and reasonably priced. It is BYO and they dont charge corkage.

emma graceMarch 2nd 2009.

Nice one, i've been looking for a new thai restaurant to try for ages...

EditorialMarch 2nd 2009.

NorthernGeezer, look below this box in the blue box beneath....it's always there. But we should make dates more obvious.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2009.

agree

John McrMarch 2nd 2009.

So..... how much was it??

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