Thursday, 30 August 2012

Thainese - 313a Hoe Street

The quality of Walthamstow eateries has been on a slow but steady increase over the past few years. Not so long ago you would struggle to find a decent pizza in E17, but now we are spoilt for choice (the Spar, Peppe's at the Rose and Crown, the Nags Head and Oregano's for example). Something that has been noticeably absent however is a decent Thai restaurant. i'm a huge fan of South-East Asian food and have been hoping for years that some lovely little sushi bar or Thai place would open up in the village. So when I heard some twitter rumours about a new place called Thainese which had recently moved into Hoe Street, I knew I would have to pay them a visit.
Thainese is found along a rather quiet section of what I call the 'far' end of Hoe Street, close to the intersection with Grove Road. First impressions of the place were pretty good: sleek wooden tables and chairs and walls decorated with artwork and ornate metal lamps.We were greeted with friendly smiles by a man who appeared to be the owner and shown over to our table. The restaurant also boasts a rather unique feature of two cute and cosy little candlelit wooden cabins in the garden which can be reserved for a private party (see photos of the cabins on the Thainese website here).

The Food: Despite the name Thainese, the restaurant doesn't specialise only in Thai food, but also offers a range of Chinese and Singaporean dishes, in fact, according to  the website the head chef trained and worked in Singapore for over ten years. For starters we had crab rangoon, little crispy wonton parcels filled with a crab meat and served with a spicy dipping sauce. For the main course I had chicken Thai green curry, which was good although the sauce had more of the earthy undertones of a yellow curry  so was a little different to the traditional green curries I am used to (but still really nice!). Hubby ordered the beef claypot, beef noodles and vegetables slow-cooked in a spicy sauce. At £10.95, I'd say it was a pound or two overpriced, as were most of the dishes on the menu, although noodles and rice are included in the with all main dishes which makes the prices seem more reasonable. Service was attentive and incredibly friendly, and you could really tell how everyone was trying to make this new restaurant a success. I would definitely come again to try out more of the menu including the chef's speciality Singaporean dishes. One final thing to note is that there is no alcohol on the drinks menu, and no option to bring your own either. 

Claypot Beef
Chicken Green curry

The Verdict: If you're looking for authentic Thai food cooked by Thai chefs, this isn't the place for you ( I would suggest a visit to Singburi on Leytonstone High Road). But for some decent pan-asian food, and super friendly service, Thainese is definitely worth a visit.

You can find contact details, more information and a sample menu on the Thainese website here 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

William Morris Gallery re-opening

So the renovations in Lloyd Park seem to have been dragging on FOR EVER, certainly well past the original April 2012 predicted completion date. Between that and the great British weather we have been experiencing lately, it has somewhat scuppered my plans to spend most of my maternity leave sunbathing and picnicking in the park. But finally in the past week we have seen some progress. The path that runs through the centre of the park is now open, so I no longer have to drag the buggy across the quagmire of Aveling field on my way up to the station. The central island has been turfed over and is accessible by a new bridge, providing easy access all the way from the Brettenham Road entrance through to Forest Road. The new hub building, cafe and playgrounds in the centre are all looking very promising, although there seems like a lot of work still to do.
Ribbon Cutting
Walking up further into the park accross the island, the grounds and ornamental gardens surrounding the gallery building are looking fabulous and should be quite a sight when all the new plants and lawns have settled in. And round at the front of the William Morris gallery, an impressive new driveway has been put in, with ramps sweeping up to the entrance of the building itself, which has been re-opened to the public today! A little crowd had assembled for the ribbon-cutting ceremony before we all rushed eagerly inside.
The new William Morris gallery cafe
Downstairs, as previously, much of the exhibition showcased William Morris' work, with many of the exhibits updated with added child-friendly interactive features. There is also a large room which will house various different exhibitions throughout the year, currently on show is the impressive Walthamstow Tapestry by Grayson Perry. Almost as excitingly (for me!), just behind the contemporary exhibition room is a light and airy new cafe, with a conservatory style glass roof and patio overlooking the grounds. Sadly I didn't have time for a coffee break today as I was rushing off to the Lee Valley white water centre for some Olympic action, but I'm sure I will be back very soon to give a proper cake appraisal!

Part of the Walthamstow tapestry by Grayson Perry
The William Morris Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 - 17:00. You can find further details of upcoming exhibitions and events on the website here.

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