I love Thai noodle soup far too much.
The Chinese-Thai population, more than half of whom are Teochew people, settled in Thailand hundreds of years ago and have contributed greatly to the culture. The Thai word for noodles, ‘kuay tiaow,’ is one of many loan words from the Teochew dialect. Noodles are one of many wonderful items with Chinese roots used in Thai cooking, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes and used in a seemingly endless number of combinations. Most British diners know of pad thai, a stir-fried noodle dish with an interesting history that has a nigh-ubiquitous presence in Thai eateries in Britain, but there is so much more to Thai noodles—and indeed Thai cuisine—than that one dish.
When Janetira recently tweeted about releasing their new menu with 30% off until Sunday 18th August, I immediately wanted to go. Their new spread includes five noodle soups; I could see right away that these were intelligently chosen: there are clear soups, spicy soups, and a curry-based soup, all are Thai favourites which show the wonderful variations present in the cuisine. That in itself made me feel hopeful.
…the people who served us were kind and attentive…
My expectations were high when I arrived. I was grateful for the quietly elegant interior when I sat down for a quiet Sunday meal with J, glad that the people who served us were kind and attentive. My choice was chicken tom yam noodle soup (£7) and I recommended the khao soi Northern-style chicken curry noodle (£8.50) to J.
In Thailand, an absolute must for a noodle soup shop is the condiment caddy, a set of four seasonings (fish sauce, sugar, chillies in vinegar, chilli powder) that diners add to their bowl to create noodle soup to their taste right at the table. Thai food is about putting together the perfect mouthful. My heart soared when our waiter set one down by my elbow before our noodles came.
…It was hot, sour, and remarkably delicious…
When the steaming bowls arrived before us, I tasted the broth of my tom yam noodles, squeezed over the lime wedge provided and added a splash of fish sauce. It was hot, sour, and remarkably delicious–quite like the many bowls of tom yam noodles I’ve enjoyed in Thailand. I found the noodles to be a touch brittle at first, but it wasn’t a big deal. The joy of noodles is that there are many bits in the bowl to nibble at: golden crunchy deep-fried wonton wrappers (to be eaten first, if you know what’s good for you), slices of mild fish cake, crisp bean sprouts, a plump fish ball, tender minced chicken. I salivate in memory and in hope.
J’s khao soi was surprisingly good. This dish often turns out uninteresting and mayonnaise-mild in any place outside of northern Thailand. I’ve only once had particularly wonderful khao soi at this one shop in Chiang Rai specialising in this dish. Janetira’s version was delicious in its own right: the broth is richly spiced and made with bone-in chicken pieces (it’s where the flavour’s at, don’t you know), while the noodles are flat egg noodles, some of which have been deep-fried til crisp as a topping. The khao soi came with—as it should—sliced shallots, preserved mustard greens to add as toppings, plus a lime wedge and chilli oil to season the broth.
…a wonderful place to eat…
The quality of the food, the sheer righteousness of the seasoning, and the attention to detail makes Janetira Eat Thai a wonderful place to eat. I will be sure to return.
You can view their new menu here. Note that the prices in the review reflect their 30% off promotion. If you have questions, the best way to contact them is via Twitter.
Janetira Eat Thai Restaurant
26 Brewer Street, W1F 0SR
Transport: It’s almost smack dab in the middle of 4 tube stations, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Rd, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus.
Tel: +44 020 7434 3777