Like Kate Adie in Iraq or John Simpson in Iraq, your fearless correspondent isn’t afraid of going into the war-torn devastation of untamed, uncivilised desolation. Can you point out any other food critic that would risk life and limb to go to East London for their readers? And I am a food critic, not a restaurant critic. I’m constantly berating food for being too delicious, being not delicious enough, for making me put on all that weight at Christmas, for giving me the trots when it was a week out-of-date. Most Friday nights I can be found screaming into a kebab on Hammersmith Broadway. The treacherous cur.
So I ventured back East with my wingmen Headissimo and Monty, stopping off at the Nightjar (http://www.barnightjar.com/) for a series of improbably fortifying cocktails. We then headed out into the night, having wished our loved ones farewell (“Bye my dearest Xbox 360. It matters not to me that you’re not a PS4”). Thai And Lao Street Food (http://thaiandlaostreetfood.com/) is situated slap in the middle of Boxpark (http://www.boxpark.co.uk/) which is hipster-central, crawling with Olivier Giroud haircuts, self-consciously out-of-fashion print dresses and aneurysm inducing trip-dub-step-hop. Since it is illegal to carry firearms in the UK and I ran out of mace on Mothers Day, I kept one hand firmly gripped around my rape alarm and we entered the place like when Seraph, Morpheus and Trinity enter Club Hell in Matrix Revolutions:
When eventually we reached Thai And Lao Street Food, I asked for something Laotian and the cyberpunk Asian granny in a pork pie hat told me lemongrass chicken. I enjoyed a tall, cool Beer Lao as we waited the 45 seconds for the food to be prepared before we exited to the communal picnic tables and fed. Lemongrass chicken she said. What she should have said was chili lemongrass chicken. It’s been long established that I’m as hard as (my fastidiously manicured) nails, but the chili was challenging if not unovercomeable. Tasty enough I suppose, but I didn’t feel transported to the exotic humid climes of Indochina. And certainly not worth the risk of travelling into the belly of the beast. But for £11 per person who’s complaining? Apparently me for 3 hours according to Mrs Del Monte’s voicemail.
Thai and Lao Street Food
Unit 53, Boxpark
2-4 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 6GY
Tel: 07956 333 113