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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PAOLINA THAI CAFE: LUNCH IN KING'S CROSS

















A quick lunch today, after a couple of very productive meetings found me joining my chum, Susan for lunch in King’s Cross. There are precious few restaurants of any worth in that area (and no, Konstam is not one of them)but she assured me that she knew just the place for us to sit in peace and quiet.

I had my doubts as she led me past the station and towards the Pentonville Road and even more when she stopped in front of a small café with a peeling yellow frontage, a battered awning over the entrance and a dilapidated sign reading “Paolina Thai Café”

Once inside the décor suggested that little had changed since the place opened, originally, I would imagine from the name, as a greasy spoon with Italian ownership. One of the "new" incumbents, an elderly Thai lady, drew our attention to a laminated menu pinned to the wall.

“You choose, tell me, pay later”

The menu listed twenty dishes, not one over £6. We chose quickly, gave our order as instructed and then descended to a small basement dining room where two other tables were occupied.

The food came quickly. Squid rings were a decent starter, freshly fried and crisp and served with a sour sweet dipping sauce, a pleasant diversion as we continued with our conversation and waited for the main courses, which also arrived in rapid fashion.

Susan’s Prawn Pad Thai was probably the better of the two with plenty of noodles steaming from their brief stint in the wok and just enough seafood to justify the name the dish had been given. Less so my own choice, a daily special of Chicken Massaman curry, which while it tasted the part with of hints of tamarind and fish sauce needed more gravy and indeed chicken to stop it becoming just a stir-fry with potatoes.

Other tables seemed to have made better choices and the soups in particular looked well worth returning for. In any case, a bill that only just managed to approach £15 for the two of us including a drink seemed reasonable value for hearty portions of freshly prepared food and definitely marks Paolina Thai Café worth noting as an interesting place for lunch the next time I am in King’s Cross.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anneg said...

Bizarrely, I've been there - it was a while back so can't give an opinion on the food but it is a funny little place - I'm sure I would return if I was in the area. Another good tip is the pub that is just up the cobbled street - Smithy's (www.smithyslondon.com)not bad for a cocktail or two.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Suse said...

Yes - we forgot to check what the intriguing "number 20" was on the way out the door!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:31:00 pm  
Blogger Fred said...

another idea for your next trip to Kings Cross is Thai Aubergine, a few minutes further up at 109 Kings Cross Road. Tried to get in there the other night and it was fully booked. Shocking for Kings Cross! Particularly enjoyed the Sen Mee Tom Kha there.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:17:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Thanks, will definitely put it in the list

S

Thursday, January 28, 2010 10:19:00 am  
Anonymous Krista said...

Someone just recommended Thai Aubergine to me in the last 48 hours, so that's on my list too.

Also--I just was at Itadaki Zen on Kings X Rd last week and I kinda liked it, "even though" it's all veggie. But try the spring rolls. (Skip the sushi.) I liked the agedashi tofu and the tempura (served only with salt...particulalry liked the carrot and onion mesh) and the spinash/tofu mixture. Sweet service. Quite bright though.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 7:34:00 pm  

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