I took a little ‘girls night’ trip to the centre of Oxford last week and one of my friends suggested we went to Thaikhun, located on George Street. I’ve walked past this place a hundred times and always said I’d love to go in and give it a try, but it took up until now to actually walk inside.
George Street is a bit of a mini ‘foodie’ district, all the classic chains are up there, as well as some personal faves (George Street Social) and the recently opened Glut (they do amazing vegetarian burgers). There’s a tonne of choice but after my visit I can definitely say I’d include Thaikhun in my list of Oxford restaurant recommendations.
Bit of a hipster heaven…
The decor is a bit ‘busy’ in there, with a whole plethora of weird and wacky things hanging from the ceilings and walls. There’s seating made out of converted bath tubs and a fairly beachy theme (I’m not sure it could be called authentic, but then again I haven’t been to Thailand!).
It was definitely a bit out-there and hipster-y, which was fine by me. We were led downstairs into a quiet space in the back corner of the restaurant and seated at a table with leaflets and other memorabilia underneath the glass. We had turned up quite early in the evening and it did get a little noisier during the meal, but not negatively so. The staff were lovely and welcoming, each of them said hello as we were led to the table. It felt like I was walking into a cosy museum.
Colourful and vibrant
The restaurant smelt gorgeous (exactly the kind of smell you’d expect walking into a Thai restaurant to be honest) and the food was as colourful and vibrant as the space. I ordered a ginger beer and the Tofu Panang Curry with sticky rice.
The food came out pretty quickly (perhaps a little too quickly, though the food looked delicious and fresh). This was my first Thai meal out after going vegetarian and I’ve been a little disappointed with most of the tofu I’ve tried so far, but the tofu panang was out. of. this. world.
I loved it – definitely changed my mind about tofu as it wasn’t the squidgy stuff, but really nice and firm ‘solid’ texture that you can actually chew (I hope tofu eaters know what I mean by that). And the curry sauce was delicious (even if it was a little bit hot for me… I regretted ordering a ginger beer as my mouth was just permanently on fire for the rest of the evening).
I also adored the sticky rice – it feels like such a treat and it tasted so good. The whole meal was just amazing. I was blown away, especially considering that I had heard some less favourable reviews of the place. Both of my friends also loved their meals, so I’d say it was a great success.
A little pricey… but probably worth it
Another of the things I really liked about my experience was that I didn’t feel like I was being pressured. Our server came over and asked if we’d like to look at dessert and happily acknowledged that the meal was filling and it was totally ok if we didn’t want any. It’s a small thing, but nice to feel like you’re not being ripped off by typical ‘spend more money with us’ tactics.
Drinks and food included, my meal came to just under £17 (though I also had a free £5 voucher so I actually paid less). I’d say this is fairly pricey, considering I only had one drink and one course, but the food was incredible and I’d happily go back there again for a once-in-a-while treat.
Overall I’d give Thaikhun an 8 out of 10 – points deducted for quite a spicy meal considering the menu only gave it a ‘one chilli’ rating… though I know I’m not known for handling spicy food well! And also for the price as I felt like it was just a little bit more than it should have been for a meat-free dish.