Janetira [London]

Lunch here today with a vegetarian friend so a chance to explore the menu a bit more outside my usual choices on what I reckon is central London’s best Thai restaurant.

Son-in-law balls were brilliantly named tamarind encrusted fried eggs with crispy shallots. The drunkhead noodles today were particularly laced with chilli and sharp greens that worked together in perfect harmony. A tofu red curry was nothing to write home about (I badly missed the massamun lamb!) And finally the crispy corncakes were a delight of deep fried wonder - their fryer doing amazing work to make them non greasy with fantastic crunch.

Good work as usual from the Janetira chefs, but I’m sticking with the meat next time…

How does it compare to Tha 101 in terms of consistency across the menu? Thai 101 can be great but you have to order carefully. It would be good to find somewhere where you don’t have to narrow it down to the same few dishes each time.

Far more consistent than 101 - it’s hard to order a bad dish from Janetira (though I’d say the standard red / green curries are on the weak side) You don’t get some of the more unusual standout dishes like at 101 (the Kua Kling and Laotian fish salad spring to mind) - but I’ve had times at 101 where the whole meal was off (possibly I had the little farang symbol next to my order / possibly they have a less good alt chefs)

I really want to go back there and try the Mackerel curry. Apparently it is v good but v hot.

Yup - both Jay Rayner and Tom Parker-Bowles love it:


I wasn’t completely blown away by it myself, but it certainly has that authentic zing of heat and spice you get in Thailand.

We went here yesterday after catching a movie, and I’m so happy we did. The food was fantastic (and very quick to arrive). We had stir-fried morning glory, heavy with garlic, as an appetizer, followed by pork kuay jaap and jungle curry chicken.

Pork kuay jaap was sort of like an Asian bacon soup–big chunks of pork belly and fried tofu floating in five-spice broth with a halved boiled egg and a type of rolled rice noodle I have never seen before. I wish there would have been more noodle to this soup–I felt like I only caught a few scraps, but the overall flavor was excellent. This arrived with a caddy of flavorings (sugar, chili, fish sauce, some other spicy sauce) so that you could adjust the broth to suit your taste.

Jungle curry was a coconut-free soup, heavy with kaffir lime and galangal flavor. Spicy-hot but not overbearing. We liked the different tones of our main dishes–the dark five spice broth vs the herby bright chicken.

I do hope they continue serving interesting dishes–because there’re in tourist central, we saw a lot of people around us having pad thai (the couple across from us had two plates of pad thai) and I’d hate for a restaurant to have to nix the great, sharp flavors of food to focus on the conservative best-sellers.

I tried the mackerel curry yesterday. My word is it hot. I think the deviled chicken dish I had in Sri Lanka is the only thing I’ve had with the same heat level. I was expecting pieces of mackerel, similar to Malaysian mackerel curries I’ve had. The sauce is made with fermented mackerel rather than having pieces of mackerel. I’m a big fan of fermented fish but it’s quite sour and with that heat I like some sweetness to offset it. Not really my thing but interesting enough compared with a lot of the Thai food on offser in London to go back and try more of the menu.

It’s an absolute b’stard of a dish. Comparable heat to anything I’ve had in SE Asia too (barring a fish curry puff in Sri Lanka that mean I didn’t see straight for days…)

Eeek maybe I’ll give it a pass. I’m comfortable with a vindaloo at the top end of my heat barometer.