Restaurant review - Malagor Restaurant and Bar, Ossett

Tony Greenway enjoys a banquet – literally – at the Malagor Thai restaurant and bar in Ossett

Do you do Thai? I don’t, as a rule. Not because I don’t like Thai food — I’ve always enjoyed it when I’ve eaten it — but because I don’t, shamefully, know enough about it. Well, that and because Chinese and Indian restaurants are so ubiquitous it’s easier, and lazier, to eat a Chinese meal or tuck into an Indian curry rather than a Thai one.

That, however, is about to change — and the fine cuisine Malagor Thai restaurant and bar, in Ossett, is the reason why. I’m not the only convert it seems, to this unassuming but vibrant venue. It’s only been in business a little over a year, but already it’s attracting a loyal foodie fan base from Ossett, Wakefield and the surrounding area because, when something is this good, word quickly spreads.

The Malagor is easy to get to; just two minutes drive from the M1. It has a spacious, comfortable interior tastefully decorated in a contemporary style and divided into four very different areas: the curved Jantra Room, perfect for tables of two wanting more privacy; the Thong Na Room with its hand-drawn Thai mural; the Lanna Room in the upper and lower areas of the restaurant and Bar Suchart, named after a Thai legend renowned for his love of life and fun. The look and feel of the Malagor is as fresh as the ingredients it insists on using.

But location and d�cor alone won’t bring in the crowds. To do that, you’ve got to offer friendly service and authentic fine cuisine at good prices and in a relaxed setting. And that’s just what the Malagor does. It strives for a healthier alternative, too, so its chefs don’t use common additives such as MSG. It also includes three different types of mushrooms in its mushroom dishes, because, notes the Malagor menu, it’s popular to do so in Asia as mushrooms stimulate the immune system and release powerful antioxidants.

We arrived for lunch. The menu offered a vast array of light bites and bigger dishes. Because Thai food is centred on family and friends, we asked our waiter to recommend something bigger to share. Out came the � la carte and set menu with pages and pages of fabulous looking dishes (there’s also an early bird and takeaway menu).

So what to have? Where to start? Don’t panic. The Malagor staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable and are there to guide you through the whole Thai dining experience. We chose one of the Malagor’s most popular banquets for a minimum of two people featuring a range of dishes that have been specially selected to combine different styles and flavours. Make sure you’re hungry if you do the same because it’s called a banquet for a reason.

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Starting off with a complimentary dish of crispy wontons, we then dived into a Siam platter, loaded with a selection of starters: delicious and piquant chicken satay, pork on toast, delicate sweet corn cake and lush duck and spring rolls served with crispy papaya salad with prawns. (The salad is the restaurant’s signature dish because the Malagor is named after the Thai fruit papaya, a key ingredient in the country’s cuisine.) The Siam platter exemplified the art of Thai cooking. It doesn’t just taste fabulous – it looks beautiful, too. Aesthetics aside, we demolished the lot.

The main course arrived featuring three excellent dishes: Gang Panang Nua, a creamy coconut curry with tender beef, garnished with lime leaf; Ped Pad Med Mamuang, a stir-fried roast duck breast with cashew nut, onion, dried chilli, carrots, spring onion and mushroom; and Pad Thai Gai, stir-fried noodles in a tamarind sauce with chicken topped with crunchy roasted peanut. These came with stir-fried rice with egg and stir-fried mixed vegetables in a garlic and oyster sauce.

The Gang Panang Nua was a knockout, both spicy and sweet. Yet whereas some Indian curries can simply hit you between the eyes, this Thai version was a more nuanced and delicate flavour. The Pad Thai Gai was beautifully cooked and succulent; but, of the three, my favourite was the Ped Pad Med Mamuang. The slivers of melt-in-the-mouth duck worked wonderfully well with the cashews and chilli, giving both light and heat. The vegetable side dish, meanwhile, was just right: not overcooked and with a satisfying crunch. In all, this was a tantalising palette of different textures and flavours.

Coffee (I had an espresso) was good and strong — and the wine list was impressive.

Malagor Restaurant and BarQueens DriveOssettWF5 0NH01924 416990 (9am -11pm)

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