Rumwong, Guildford, Surrey GU1 2AF - restaurant review
Based on numerous recommendations, this month Surrey Life restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES heads to one of the county’s top Thai eateries, Rumwong in Guildford, where he tucks into a feast fit for a king
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2009
Restaurant reviews: Rumwong, 18-20 London Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 2AF Tel: 01483 456768
Food and drink 8 Service 8 Venue 10
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What we ate
Starters Pla Muek Tod Grob �5.60, Gung Grabuang �6.60
Main Courses Pud Gaeng Keaw Wan �7.75, Ped Pud Med Mamuang �9.30, Song Sa-Hi Nam-Man Hoi �5.75, Koew Toew Pud Khai �4.25, Kao Niew �2.20
Desserts Couldn’t manage any!
Drinks Singha Thai Beer �2.85
Our review: Unlike most people, I’ve never really rated Thai food that much – it just doesn’t wow me in the same way that great Indian or Chinese meals have done on numerous occasions. But that all changed the other night when I visited Rumwong in Guildford, not on one person’s recommendation but at least three. “Don’t you dare diss it,” I was warned by a friend. “It’s our favourite.” No fears there – I loved it.
Rumwong oozes warmth and stylishness the moment you walk through the door and glance across the bar area to the main dining area, which is very large. The waiters and waitresses are dressed immaculately and are hugely friendly and attentive. We were soon seated and thus began the long and enjoyable process of analysing the menu, which offers plenty of choice but isn’t overwhelming.
Melt in the mouth My daughter Helen and I shared two starters between us – Pla Muek Tod Grob (tiny rings of squid in a lightly seasoned batter, deep fried) and Gung Grabuang (crispy crepes filled with a blend of prawns, pork, coriander and fresh herbs), both served with sweet chilli sauce. The latter I particularly enjoyed as the herbs penetrated through nicely to give additional flavour that the squid lacked.
For my main course, I chose Pud Gaeng Keaw Wan – a rice or egg noodles (noodles in my case) stir-fry with green curry spices, chicken, green beans and basil leaves. This is a contemporary twist to the traditional green curry and is apparently very popular in Thailand itself.
For me, it was the best Thai dish I’ve ever tasted, and I was lucky to have chosen a superb side dish to accompany it: Song Sa-Hi Nam-Man Hoi – a simple blend of fresh asparagus and mushrooms, lightly seasoned and stir-fried in sesame oil.
Helen hones in on any duck dish like a laser and tonight was no exception; Ped Pud Med Mamuang – succulent slices of duck saut�ed with roasted cashew nuts, mushrooms, red and green peppers. Rich in flavour and beautifully tender, the meat was a melt in the mouth experience. We shared a dish of plain noodles in soya sauce with beansprouts and seasonal vegetables, and I also had a portion of Kao Niew – sticky rice to you and me! – which interestingly arrived in a little see-through bag.
Squeezing in dessert After this very satisfying feast, there was no way we could manage a dessert... or could we? As if by magic a complementary selection suddenly appeared. Forks edged their way reluctantly towards a plate of ice cream, baked bananas, fruit and cream – but once started the rest was easy and between us we finished the lot.
So, all in all, a delightful meal in beautiful surroundings. Even the loos were impressive – immaculately clean, softly lit, flower arrangements, background music etc. Helen came back seriously impressed and announced: “I could live in there.”
Next time, I fancy trying the Khan Tok, a side room where the tables are low and you recline as you dine on soft cushions, in typical Thai fashion. And with a bill for all this coming in at the �50 mark for two, another reason for a return visit.
3 other great Thai restaurants...
River Kwai 94 High Street, Reigate RH2 9AP Tel: 01737 219058 Homely dishes with great service are the daily special at this cute and cosy neighbourhood favourite. Siam Food Gallery Trumps Green Road, Virginia Water GU25 4HN Tel: 01344 843283 Sister to Esher’s restaurant of the same name, enjoy fine dining complemented by beautiful decor. Ayudhya 14 Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames KT2 7NH Tel: 0208 549 5984 Choose from a tempting range of mouthwatering dishes served in sumptuous surroundings.