I love Brighton Square at Christmas. It's secretly tucked away in the Lanes, has a little fountain in the middle and every year they drape little sparkly lights above it - really sweet. The square is home to a long standing and much loved record shop, a few jewelers, some cafes, a deli and a restaurant. Most of these–record shop aside–have had varying success, most coming and going before you realised they were there at all. The restaurant space on the corner is a decent size, with outside seating by the fountain and above on a large roof terrace in warmer weather. Although a good position, unfortunately most of the restaurants previously home to the space have not been very good, I recall a particularly bad Tex-Mex and then a poorly received Italian, so it is a blessing for Brighton that the site is now occupied by Street Thai.
The interior has been updated with some nice graffiti murals and the space is bright, fresh and welcoming. As I was used to walking past and seeing a few lonely diners in its previous incarnations, it was nice to have the restaurant full and vibrant again.
On the menus, you'll find some favourites and some dishes you may not have tried before but staff are keen to help you decide if you need help. I LOVE Thai salads so the Yum Mamuang Koong Pao £5.95, a green mango salad with tiger prawns, toasted coconut flakes and cashew nuts pinged out at me first and lived up to my expectations. Refreshing, healthy with a nice kick of heat and great textures, it takes your taste buds in all directions with each mouthful; zing from the mint, crunch from the mango and carrot, sharpness of the onion, sweetness of the coconut and the heat of the chilli. A must try.
I would have been happy with a big portion of this salad but as that would make for a boring review we also ordered the Por Phia Ped £4.50, aromatic duck spring rolls and something I have not tried before, Pad Pak Boong £4.25, a stir fried leafy green vegetable called morning glory which came with soya beans, chillis, garlic and oyster sauce.
I thought it tasted rather like a cross between spinach and green beans which was a pretty good taste guess as I found out later it is a type of water spinach, and rather delicious it is too. The duck spring rolls were also good, with a nice crunchy outer. I would have liked a touch more plum sauce but otherwise they were very tasty.
Main's on offer fell into three camps; noodle dishes, stir frys or currys. In each there were a variety of enticing options but eventually I chose the Kao Gai Aob £6.95, a crispy chicken stir fry with green cabbage and Thai gravy served with jasmine rice and a clear soup. I was sad to find the chicken missing its crispy promise but it was soft and tasty, I particularly liked the crunchy greens which had absorbed the delicious gravy. I thought the dish worked rather well together, I was happily mopping up the gravy with the rice and slurping the broth throughout.
Mr GF chose the Kaeng Phed Yang £7.75, roasted duck in red curry sauce with pineapple and cherry tomatoes. The succulent duck had little fat which made a nice change and the curry sauce had incredible depth, beautifully fragrant, coconutty bliss, working well with the sweet pieces of pineapple. He also wisely ordered some extra sticky rice to mop up every last bit of that amazing curry sauce.
Having only ordered a dessert in a Thai restaurant once and getting a block of flavourless, slimy green jelly with sesame seeds on it I have always shunned desserts when eating Thai food. However, I was intrigued by the Pandam Leaf Crepe, £4.50 which was served with some gorgeous coconut ice cream from Cloud9 down the road. Inside the green crepe was a lovely, toasted coconut filling flavoured with orange sauce, perfect washed down with one of their digestive aiding teas.
I'm not sure how true the food on offer is to traditional street food as I'm no expert in this field, but Street Thai is a very welcome addition to Brighton dining scene with affordable, delicious food and casual atmosphere with some of the most charming staff in town. It was one of my most enjoyable meals lately so I'll definitely be popping back in the not too distant future.
20 Brighton Square
Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1HD
I was invited as a guest of Street Thai.