Leeds is blessed with many lovely places to eat – restaurants, cafes, delis, supper clubs – we’ve got it all. I really do feel lucky to have so many great food choices, but unfortunately some of my favourites aren’t on my doorstep – or they weren’t!
Sukothai in Chapel Allerton has long been in my top three of places to eat in Leeds and a good takeaway from said establishment my failsafe recuperation aid when hungover (Thai food has that wonderful ability to make you feel healthier from the inside when you eat it). When I moved to the city centre, the distance from this branch and it’s sister restaurant Sukothai, Headingley where a source of great pain to me an undoubtedly the reason for many hangovers since to linger longer than they should. Fast forward to the end of summer and Sukothai South Parade opening and a very excited Fay.
I managed to squeeze in a takeaway the very first week of the restaurants opening – eating it without a hangover for more objective taste testing and I was pleased to find it delivered in every which way I’ve come to expect from Sukothai. However, it wasn’t until last week that I managed to arrange to dine in with a group of friends and this is what I found…
Much like the other branches of Sukothai, the restaurant itself is decadently decorated, though this has the added bonus of a small bar to the front, which is where we perched while we waited for our table. We had booked, so it was a little disappointing not to have our table ready for us, but the venue was packed out – as Sukothai always seems to be. We were soon seated at a table with an excellent view of the kitchen, giving me the perfect opportunity to watch the chefs do their work and stare longingly at every meal that headed passed us.
Our waitress came to take our order fairly quickly and I ordered the Khanom Jeeb (Steamed pork and prawn dumplings, served in soy sauce and topped with crispy garlic) at £5.95. We asked for some water for the table to drink along with the bottles of wine that we’d bought at the bar and found it a little odd that we were brought individual glasses of water, though this may have been a space saving exercise for the table, which was not overly spacious and fairly close to those nearby.
I’m a big fan of dumplings – Thai, Japanese and the ones that my Nana makes with loads of suet and cheese (I must make those soon now the cold weather has set in) and these were excellent (not too sure what happened with the photo). Moist, meaty yet delicate and with lots of crispy garlic and top and a delicious dipping sauce, They came with a side salad dressed in a light sweet chilli dressing. I enjoyed both sauces – maybe a little bit too much but just about resisted the urge to lick my plate clean because I was dining with more refined types.
Next up was Gang Kiew Wan Pak (Thai green curry with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, bean curd, courgette and mixed vegetables) £8.95, with a side order of jasmine rice. I love ordering bean curd dishes in good Thai restaurants because the curd usually comes out cooked perfectly and excellently flavoured by the curry. The curd pieces in this dish were large and flavoursome, but I would say I thought the veg was a little overdone and there was a tiny bit too much fish sauce in for my liking as it was the overriding flavour. The portions were not large, but I was contentedly full after both starters and main.
The restaurant was very full but were not pushed by waiting staff to clear our table and we finished our wine before settling up. Overall the food and dining experience was very good, though the staff were perhaps not quite as attentive as those I’ve come across during my outings in Chapel Allerton. With the inclusion of the bar, and open plan kitchen, I get the feeling Sukothai are aiming for a slightly slicker affair on South Parade and the decor and quick service certainly hit the mark.