Following on from the Hammer & Pincers the Thai Grand, a friendly and long established Thai restaurant in Loughborough, had a hard act to follow. However there isn’t much of a basis for comparison given the difference in the food served and the style of surroundings, so let me park any ideas about comparisons here.
I have been frequenting the Thai Grand before it even existed. How so? Well I used to go to the previous restaurant run by the team behind the Grand – Yum Yums which had a smaller frontage and a more intimate vibe. When a failed sports bar closed down in the Rushes area of town then the opportunity was taken to move into a more modern venue. Keeping some of the trappings of the sports bar but fitting it out in tasteful Thai inspired decor the people behind the Thai Grand also brought with them their large menu.
Quite how a restaurant of this size can maintain such an extensive menu is beyond me but its a very popular place especially for work or birthday parties. As a result it can get rather loud at times but the service never suffers from the place being busy. Siggy and I get on well with all the staff and they are always accommodating when I want to go a little off-piste with the details of their set menus or tweaks to my choices. Unfortunately they weren’t able to rustle up some Chang beer for me so we had to settle for Singha which I still really enjoy, but like slightly less than Chang.
The Thai Grand is one of the more expensive restaurants in town, but you get good portion sizes and the service is great.
We always get the Thai prawn crackers as they are crisp, don’t taste fatty in the mouth and are also nice and spicy. They remind us both of a meal we had in Amsterdam at a Thai restaurant one night where the cracker was the size of a plate and just as tasty.
All the photos on this post will carry a blue tint due to the led lights they had strung up – perhaps in anticipation of the festive period. or maybe they knew it was my birthday 🙂
As well as the crackers we usually have the mixed platter to share. This consists of very nice chicken satay skewers, sweet chicken wings, sesame toast, sweet crispy noodles, spring rolls and fishcakes. Once they experimented with putting on ‘golden balls’ but they were tasteless fatty blobs of reconstituted chicken – pretty awful and lacking class – so they were quickly removed from the starter combo.
I’m sure that once upon a time they used to serve this with ribs as well. All the starters are bastard hot with the exception sometimes of the chicken wings. Why this should be I do not know.
Most dishes come with some fancy fruit or vegetable based sculpture which Siggy takes great delight in destroying. For instance the bird above quickly lost one of its wings. The starters come with three dips – satay, sweet chilli and that strange clear vinegary clear syrup with tiny bits of carrot and cucumber floating in it. All three are very nice and the chicken satay is way better here than in Dinner @ Oslo.
To accompany the mains we ordered some coconut rice – unlike Indian restaurants where this usually means rice adorned with grated desiccated coconut at the Grand this means it is cooked in coconut milk – sweet, sticky and strongly flavoured it is a true delight for the tastebuds.
Siggy had the duck in a sweet sauce with pineapple. Unfortunately the skin on the duck was a pain to remove especially given the fact that we were eating only with forks or spoons – no knives or chopsticks.
I have read on TripAdvisor, where I have already reviewed the Grand and lots of other places, that a lot of people find the restaurant lacking an authentic vibe of Thailand. I have never been but I guess a lot of the plates have been modified for Western tastes and perhaps The Basin (crap service, good food) or Sonny’s Street Food (good service, crazy chilled milky green tea) offer some more authentic dishes. Both are in Loughborough and have been reviewed by me as ‘couchmagpie’ on TripAdvisor if you are interested.
I chose something off the lunchtime menu which was the fried salmon fillet pieces in a red curry sauce. The red curry sauce as far as I am concerned is the real deal and sometimes can leave you with a running nose and a hammering heart rate. The salmon was a supposed healthy option given that it’s high in Omega 3.
There was a little coconut milk in the dish to temper the hot sauce and also three types of pepper. The coconut rice also helped to take some of the heat out of the curry.
Finally, anyone who reads this blog regularly (anyone?) will know that I like to check out the loos. This place has some awesome facilities in the men’s room. Very grand indeed…