Sunday, 11 September 2011

Review - Thai Corner Cafe, Surma

My friends are turning 21! I find this so bizarre, I still feel 16. To celebrate, we ate and drank and danced a lot. The eating involved stuffing 40 chicken nuggets from McDonalds in Brixton at 3am and being abominably rude to a stranger (I'm really sorry, stranger) but the less said about that the better. The main birthday meal took place at Thai Corner Cafe. It was so good that we were genuinely considering going there for lunch again the next day. I had the jungle curry.
I initially thought this was a mistake. I was disappointed as the sauce looked watery and seemed to taste like nothing but tinnitus-inducing chilli. However, when mixed with an appropriate quantity of rice, it was much better. And very appropriately titled - it was WILD. The vegetables were practically raw and the flavours would usurp Zoe Ball as presenter of Live and Kicking if we were still in the hay-day of Saturday morning kids' TV. As fond of the jungle curry as I eventually became, when I tried the Pad Thai (the portions were massive so those who had Pad Thai found their meals hard to finish because they were already full of prosecco and cake) I realised that I had ordered SO WRONGLY. That was the main reason I wanted to go back there the next day. So I could go and read the menu properly, in sobriety, and choose one of the noodle dishes. My friend said she had one of the spicier Pad Thai type dishes and that I would've loved it. Basically, the noodles were so addictive that despite all the cake and prosecco and vegetable crisps and wine and brownies and strawberries, I kept going back for more. The atmosphere of Thai Corner Cafe is also worth mentioning. It's lots of fun! My friend described it as going to eat in someone's living room and she's right, it is a lot like that. The meal also reminded me of this article I read recently. I'm so sorry, fellow diners. We were just full of booze and mirth. We didn't mean to ruin your evening.
As much as I wanted to go back for lunch the next day, I'm glad we didn't. We went to Surma (I think) on Lordship Lane for a Sunday buffet. I was initially reluctant because I thought that the buffet would be metal containers reminiscent of school dinners filled with stagnant curry. But Surma take a little bit more pride in their food and care more about customer satisfaction than effort. They only have a little bit of curry in each vat and they keep making the curry fresh. Also the choices they have are more interesting than most indian buffets I've visited before. Not so much with their meat dishes (lamb passanda and chicken tikka balti) but with their vegetarian choices, they were winning. Potato and pea curry. The potatoes soaked up all the flavour and were perfectly tender. The peas were FRESH. Not frozen! And you could definitely taste these little details. The other vegetable curry was even better: okra and tomato. I'm not a huge okra fan, I don't like the weird slipperiness on the inside. The way they cooked this okra made me enjoy it! Another difference to other indian buffets was their provision of starters. Poppadoms followed by onion bhajis and chicken bites coated in batter. I was going to leave the chicken bites after my friend pointed out that they're not dissimilar from chicken nuggets and that reminded me of the night before and made me queasy. But they were so good I couldn't leave them.

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