Sunday, 27 May 2012
UPDATE: Try Thai, Faulkner St, Manchester
Three years ago, I had the most exquisite lunch in Try Thai, a glamorous restaurant in Chinatown, and enjoyed it so much I was determined to go back. However, I couldn't find it- please don't tell me my favourite place has gone bust! Thankfully, after much searching, I discovered it had moved next door and one floor up. Phew, relief.
TT's reincarnation is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds (no, not Take That, Try Thai! Steady on ladies)and its refurb is miles away from its former self, a bit like the Madonna of the restaurant world. Its previous form was a chilled, pine, cafelike affair, its new one is all rich fabrics, interesting Thai statues, and moody atmospheric dark furnishings. Thankfully, the prices are still low for lunch, the staff are cheerful and smiley; so far so good, let's sample the food!
I perused the menu and it was like returning home to an old friend- it had not gone up by much and was now £7.95 for a 3 course, still plenty of veggie options and the delicious cocktail list was ever present. To start with, I devoured a strawberry kick mocktail, made with freshly pulped strawbs- perfection. For a moment I was swept away to a tropical beach.
My starter was the generous Vegetables Tempura (see pic), a selection of battered aubergine, babycorn, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, onion and pepper served with a chili dip to dunk them in. This was extremely filling and was wondering where I was going to make room for my main! In addition, they have another tasty veggie alternative in the form of sweetcorn cakes- breadcrumbed patties seasoned with coconut with a moreish sweetcorn filling.
Vindaloo Queens and Kings- now this bit is especially for the hardcore spice fans, if you like kormas, look away now. My main course was the extremely potent Aubergine and Tofu with chili and holy basil. Sounds non- threatening, doesn't it? Never mind holy basil, this dish is the holy grail for all those lovers of eye watering cuisine. The dish consists of succulent braised aubergine and tofu, tender and juicy but secretly tucked away in between the tofu laid chillies of all variety in technicolour greens and reds, laughing cheekily at my watery eyes. I downed a litre of water during the course of this culinary masterpiece, enjoying the cleansing sensation of an ultra- hot chili.
After this chili delight, there was the choice of ice cream or potent coffee for dessert, needless to say, I chose ice cream to extinguish the flames. I wolfed my ice cream dessert appreciatively, just the antidote for a lunch on the chillies.
In addition, Try Thai have now converted the original restaurant into a funky bar. Keeping with the Thai theme, they offer the same extensive drinks menu along with special drinks deals in a tranquil surrounding. Clearly, Try Thai's new year's resolution was to come up with a new quirky drinks menu! Their new selection really pushes the boundaries of the imagination and I thought I'd share this pic with you all to prove it. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's actually a cuppa.
Take one massive wine glass, fill it with hot water and put an interesting, flowery ball in it made of flowers, herb and tealeaves. Watch it open, grow and colour the water. Once it is at full bloom, let it stew then enjoy. Green tea with a difference-teabags are soooo last year!
Try Thai? No, don't just try it. Devour it! Do not miss this fragrant beauty of a restaurant. Your senses will thank you.
UPDATE MAY 2012
After a year of discovering new restaurants both in Manchester and abroad, I decided to revisit our old friend Try Thai. Sadly, the Carnivore and I were greeted with surly service and were fobbed off with a rubbish table in a half-empty restaurant. We didn't settle for this and moved to one of the larger tables. My keen eye observed other couples trying to be moved to the rubbish table too but funnily enough, some people who were obviously friends of the staff got welcomed with open arms and given the good tables. Really, I expect that sort of behaviour from N*ndo's but not my beloved Chinatown! The service continued to be haphazard and surly, with the Carnivore waiting 15 minutes for his beer- his starter came before his drink. Since our last visit, an extra couple of tables seem to have been crammed in, making this once tranquil experience reminiscent of a 2 star hotel on the Costa Brava. Gordon Gekko's 'Greed Is Good' catchphrase perfectly sums up this place. Sadly, it is a far cry from its more humble beginnings when it was still a hidden gem on the Manchester culinary scene. On a positive note, the food is still amazing- I actually feel sorry for the obviously talented chef, whose masterpieces are overshadowed by the haughtiness of his fellow staff members. One for The Restaurant Inspector I think.