Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Saengarun Thai, Leeds

I enjoyed a takeaway from Saengarun back in June last year, and made a mental note to return and dine in. What with one thing and another it's taken me nine months to get round to it, but I'm glad I finally did.

A group of us had a great meal there last weekend for a friend's birthday, so much so that I'm officially declaring it to be the second best Thai restaurant in Leeds (number one is Thai Aroy Dee of course). Officially as voted by me that is, which isn't really that official but never mind. It's very good, that's all you need to know.

We didn't share everything between everyone, splitting into smaller groups to order. I went three ways on a bit of a feast starting with a couple of salads and some dumplings.

We stuck to the classics with the salads, a som tam and a laab gai. The som tam was just as I remembered it, fresh, fiery and crunchy, an excellent rendition.

The laab was also pretty much perfect;- tender chicken, generous quantities of herbs and an assertive but balanced dressing.

Steamed pork and prawn dumplings (kanom jeeb) were fine, with a succulent filling but slightly overcooked skins. Nice but not quite up to the standard of the salads.

The highlight of the mains was this vegetarian mussaman curry. CW, if you read this, congratulations on a fantastic choice. I never think to order vegetarian curries or stir-fries in Thai restaurants, but I really should. In most cases the curry is all about the range and balance of flavours in the sauce, the meat being little more than inconsequential lumps of protein, providing a bit of texture but not much more.

Other things can do this job better, in this case cashew nuts and soft slices of tofu providing a wonderful contrast in textures and also adding flavour to the rich sauce. Crunchy, splintering cashews, their nutty taste enhancing the coconut rich broth. Spongy tofu soaking it all up as the spice builds. Really lovely.

A jungle curry with beef was good too, hot but refreshing with it, the broth zingy and herbal. The beef was a little bland and chewy though, it almost left me wishing for more tofu (never thought I'd ever write that).

The final dish was a pad ka prao (chilli and basil stir-fry) with pork. It tasted very good, no skimping on the basil as is often the case, but was a little wet for my tastes.

With jasmine rice to mop up the sauces and loads of beer (three each? maybe four?) the bill topped out at £25 a head including tip. Service was friendly but they did mess up a couple of things on our order, though the problems were quickly rectified. It's not an upmarket looking place but it is up a notch or two from Thai Aroy Dee in the decor stakes.

Recommended. I'll be back.


159 Briggate


Saengarun Thai on Urbanspoon

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