The Thai Terrace, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3RT - restaurant review
With spectacular views over Guildford, the Thai Terrace is one of the town's most popular haunts - just make sure you book early if you want to be sure of a table. Restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES went along to give it a try
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2008
Reviewed: Thai Terrace 7th Floor, Castle Car Park, Sydenham Road, Guildford, GU1 3RT Tel: 01483 503350
What we ate... Starters Mixed starters for one �8.50 Kanom Pang Na Goong �7.80 Main Courses Phad Thai Goong Sod �11.25 Egg Fried Rice � 3.85 Pla Ma-Karm �13.95 Steamed Jasmine Rice �3.60 Dessert Assorted Homemade Thai Desserts �5.95 Wine Monte Verde Chardonnay 2006 Chile �15.80 VERDICT Food & wine 6/10 Service 7/10 Venue 9/10
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The address of the Thai Terrace sounds like a bit of a joke - 7th Floor, Castle Car Park - but in fact it massively undersells what turns out to be a stunning venue; a huge penthouse with smart bar area, comfy sofas, wooden panel partitions and a dining area surrounded by glass offering amazing views across the rooftops of Guildford. I could get quite poetic about it! It was a Tuesday evening - deliberately chosen so as not to be too busy - but the place was heaving. Lord only knows what it must be like at weekends. We started with cocktails and spent the first 15 minutes taking in the atmosphere. The menus are on sort of bamboo clipboards, an original idea that fits in well with the surroundings - and there is much to read as the choice is enormous. Helen, our photographer, dived in and went for the mixed starters for one, which turned out to be a wise choice (lamb satay, chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, deep fried prawn with sesame seeds, minced herbed pork with crabmeat). I chose the Kanom Pang Na Goong - prawn on toast dipped in egg yolk then deep fried and served with sweet chilli sauce. Both were enjoyable and easy to share between two. Buzzy, trendy atmosphere My main course was Pla Ma-Karm - deep fried tilapia fish over pak choi topped with honey-tamarind sauce and crispy shallot. Tilapia has a reputation for blandness and certainly that was the case here, though the pak choi base added flavour and texture. I chose steamed jasmine rice as an accompaniment, which had the sticky rice texture distinctive in Thai cuisine. Helen fared well with Phad Thai Goong Sod - fried Thai style rice noodles with tiger prawns and bean sprouts topped with egg net - which looked great and had more flavour and interest than mine - and a side order of egg fried rice. We shared a dessert: Thai Terrace's assorted homemade Thai desserts, made using fresh coconut milk and palm sugar. Pick of the bunch was a sweet rice reminiscent of cold rice pudding - delicious. A delight for me was the wine list - broad and varied with prices to suit all. I chose a Chilean white, a 2006 Monte Verde Chardonnay, which was very acceptable. I walked into the Thai Terrace hoping and expecting to be as knocked out by the food and service (radio controlled judging by the earpieces) as I was by the restaurant itself, but my general feeling afterwards was that they didn't quite match up to the surroundings. Having said that, it's extremely popular, and the buzzy, trendy atmosphere alone is enough to make it a great evening out. Go along and see for yourself.
3 other restaurants with a view: The Petersham Nightingale Lane, Richmond TW10 6UZ Tel: 020 8940 7471 Prominently perched on Richmond Hill, 'Restaurant at The Petersham' offers fine British cooking in elegant surroundings. Each table boasts unspoilt, panoramic views of the River Thames and Petersham meadow (see next month's Surrey Life for a full review). Zest House of Fraser, 105-111 High Street, Guildford GU1 3DU Tel: 0844 800 3730 Serving brasserie style dishes and situated at the top of House of Fraser, the views and beautiful water garden surrounding the caf� revive tired shoppers. On warmer days, the opportunity to dine outside is not to be missed. Great Fosters Stroude Road, Egham TW20 9UR Tel: 01784 433822 With the opportunity for pre-dinner drinks in the Cocktail Bar overlooking the Japanese bridge, or relaxing on the terrace through the summer months, Great Fosters offers high quality dining in beautiful surroundings.