On a rather chilly night, I headed over to Tuk Cho in busy Ealing to try out the pan Asian food on offer.
Having laid my sights on the restaurant we were greeted and seated by the friendly manager who walked us through the extensive and interesting menu. With an array of dishes from all over south East Asia we were hard pressed to pick just a couple, but with some help from our in restaurant expert we settled for some stunning and delicious food.
First on our list was the street snacks section that is akin to starters, but reflect the recipes that you would find on the streets of the chosen county. We opted for Goi Cuon, fresh tasting summer rolls that contain Asian herbs and rice wrapped in rice paper. They came with a warm hoi sin dipping sauce that was the perfect accompaniment to the cool flavours. Secondly we tried Sai Gog, an interesting take on a skewer that had a mix of pork, beef and spice wrapped around a sugar cane. Unsure as to what to do with our cane, we ate them which we were later told is fine, but sucking the sugary goodness out of them does the job just as well!
Next came the Muc Chien crispy calamari with a fiery burst of chilli and the fantastic sounding Sach ko ang manoa ch-kak that were in essence fillet steak with pineapple that you devour on a lettuce leaf. Having my reservations about the mix of beef and pineapple I dove in and was pleasantly surprised by the flavours. The manager later told me that the pineapple was fresh, cooked in juice and then served meaning a juicier and more fragrant slice of pineapple. Honestly it is worth going to Tuk Cho just for this dish and I am adamant that I will attempt to cook this for myself at home in the future.
Next on the agenda was the mains which are split up into different categroies: Curry, Stir fries, rice, noodles and salads. We ordered four amazing dishes; Yasai katsu, Khao pad sap pa rot, Thit bo kho, and Kaeng phet pet yang.
Bread crumbed sweet potato, Asian aubergine and courgettes formed the basis of the Yasai katsu, but throw into the mix a gorgeous, almost chip shop type sauce, and the dish was complete. Moreish and colourful, it was a good vegetarian dish that in my opinion is hard to come by in restaurants.
The Khao pad sap pa rot was the winner of the mains as it just had everything you could want in one dish. The friend rice was infused with the flavours of the pineapple and chilli and the chicken was tender. Add in the green beans, peanuts and egg and it has become a firm favourite. I had to share the bowl with a friend, but I am sure when I go back I will be demolishing the whole main by myself.
Thit bo kho was also a contender for the best of the night. Combining oyster sauce, star anise and spring onion it reminded me a of a sweeter and more fulfilling take on a black bean sauce. In fact I generally dislike oyster dishes, but would happily eat this any day. The fillet steak was melt in your mouthy and our choice of noodles complimented the dish perfectly.
Finally we took on the Kaeng phet pet yang. Juicy duck in a thick red curry with lychees. I was sceptical at first as I don’t like lychees, but the combination of the rich duck favours and sweet fragranced lychees really worked.
Tackling dessert was easy as the manager explained her favourite choices that soon became outs! We wolfed down the banana fritters that came with a luxurious ginger ice cream. The flavour of the ginger poking out behind the creaminess was easily a firm favourite. And lastly we went for the Lime leaf chocolate brownie with star anise ice cream. Think Sambuca flavours and gooey textures and you are about there.
It’s difficult to find a restaurant that you like that has so many wonderful dishes. The décor itself is bright and full of unique modern fixtures. The bar had a wall stacked with fruit and the service we received on the night was phenomenal. Looking around the team ware very dedicated and the manager who walked us through everything seemed to be doing the same for other customers.
We popped along on a Thursday and by the time we left (around 9ish) it was getting pretty packed. Interestingly there was a nice mix of types of people in the restaurant and the atmosphere was exciting. I hope to go back soon as I thoroughly enjoyed the food and defiantly try for yourself if you’re into Asian cuisine. And even if you’re not try it out you might surprise yourself.
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