Cocktails, spice and everything nice! The Pepper Tree is without doubt one our favourite Thai restaurant south of the river, offering street-food style dining, a relaxed but lively atmosphere and duck spring rolls that are so good they’ll change your life. Or at least force you to order another portion. Here’s our review from our visit…
The Pepper Tree is an authentic slice of South East Asia in the heart of Clapham Common - a two minute walk from the Tube station and a few doors down from Honky Tonk. We headed down on a chilly Friday evening and rushed inside to the warmth and scents of Thailand. The place is contemporary and clean, with low hanging lights and modern Thai drawings etched on the walls.
A young and enthusiastic waiter welcomed us as we squidged onto a canteen style bench at the front of the restaurant. The place was packed and lively with gaggles of twenty-somethings clinking glasses and chatting over mammoth bowls of noodle soup - and in the space of us arriving to sitting down a queue had started to form at the door.
First things first - drinks. We’d heard the tipples here are the real deal so started with a Lychee Mai Tai and Chilli Mojito. As we began complimenting the cocktails (and the mojito’s strong fiery aftertaste), our waiter reappeared with a big bowl of prawn crackers and an array of flavour packed dipping sauces.
After a few hurried mouth falls we realised we were hungrier than we thought, so grabbed the waiter and ordered duck spring rolls and chicken satay, followed by Chicken Laksa and Chicken Pad Thai. My intro was a bit of a spoiler into just how good the spring rolls were, but seriously, you have to try them! The chicken satay was bursting with traditional Thai flavours and came on handy skewers which made it very shareable (annoyingly).
For me the star of the show was the Chicken Laska. It’s basically a big hug in a bowl, soul warming and incredibly moreish. The soup itself was a fragrant and creamy coconut curry broth, filled with noodles, galangal, coriander, crunchy beansprouts, spring onion and zesty lemon.
The chef had flown in from Thailand the day before and so the dessert menu was quite minimal, but a scoop of coconut and mango ice cream was actually the perfect palate cleanser after our flavoursome feast. As we got our coats I made the mental note to put Thailand on my bucket list - as well as the rest of the Pepper Tree’s menu!
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