Established in Cardiff in 1985 by Noi Ramasut from Bangkok, and his Welsh wife Arlene Thomas, back then The Thai House was one of the only Thai restaurants in the UK - in fact, there were only five in the whole of London!
Now, with over fifteen hundred Thai restaurants throughout the UK, Thai food has proven itself to be one of Britain’s most popular cuisines. Amidst all of that change, The Thai House remains one of Cardiff's most respected and authentic Asian restaurants.
We paid them a recent visit to rediscover their warm and friendly Thai hospitality, and a selection of their most mouthwatering dishes...
Eating "Thai-style" means sharing, so to start, the Wriggle team tried a sharing portion of Miang Kam. These are do-it-yourself style little parcels of spring green leaves with chillies, lime, nuts, dried shrimp and a sweet sticky sauce; these little flavour bombs deliver a mouth-watering explosion of authentic Thai flavours - hot, sour, spicy and sweet.
Next it was time for Dom Yam Gung, a piquant clear soup with king prawns, lemon grass, coriander and chillies. Already the spice levels were creeping up, but hey, this is authentic Thai food, and that prickly heat is exactly why we love it so much!
Next it was time for the real feast - sharing platters of Penang Ner (a southern Thai dry curry of spicy beef with ground peanuts and coconut), Pla Nung (steamed sea bass with ginger, celery, coriander and picked plums), Larb Bed (a northern dish of spicy minced duck, lime and coriander mixed with nutty jewels of roasted ground rice) and steamed vegetables dressed with coconut milk and deep fried garlic.
All of these dishes were served to share, with our own individual portions of sticky steamed jasmine rice. Whilst our waitresses in traditional dress explained the ingredients and preparation for each as it was brought the the table, we were encouraged to eat as the Thais eat; taking a little of each dish to eat with a forkful of rice at a time.
By the time we had finished our feast, we were full to the brim, but we made just enough room for a scoop of cooling citrus sorbet served with iced slices of strawberry and orange. Perfect after all of that chilli heat!
For a city that can sometimes seem dominated by chain restaurants and burger bars, it's amazing to think that this little gem has been hidden away in plain sight in the city centre for more than 30 years. The good news is that The Thai House aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and their food is still as authentic, fragrant, and cheek-flushingly flavourful as it has ever been. Be sure to pop in soon.
(Picture credit: www.explorewithed.co.uk)