Sukhothai South Parade: The best Thai restaurant in Leeds?
The popularity of Thai food in the UK has increased ten-fold over the last decade or so, and Leeds has certainly embraced it. There’s a plethora of Thai restaurants in the city – Sukhothai alone have three establishments, in Chapel Allerton, Headingley, and this, their flagship branch on South Parade.
This occasion was my fifth trip, and I decided to veer away from my usual dishes of the mixed starter (which is excellent by the way), weeping tiger or green curry. We arrived on a busy night, and ordered a couple of Singha’s whilst we perused the extensive menu. For starters, I had the Tom Yum Prawn Soup (7.50), having become addicted to this dish during a five day stay on the Island of Phi Phi last year.
Now anyone that’s been to Phi Phi will know that it isn’t the place you’d expect to find the most authentically good Thai food, as it’s predominantly a party island, filled with irritating hoorah Henry’s spending their parents money (and me and my mate splurging our redundancy monies on cheap grog and fake Ray-Bans).
One lad asked me to lend him 20 baht for a cheese toastie (time to go home and get a bloody job mate), which gives you an idea of the kind of folk that inhabit the Island. The Tom Yum Soup served at ‘Thai Thai Pad’ however was simply amazing (served super-spicy of course), despite being served from what can best be described as a scruffy little shack, scrawled in graffiti left by drunken tourists.
So going back to Sukhothai South Parade, was their version as good? Not quite, but it was still a fantastic starter, filled with flavour and the prawns were cooked to perfection – I would order it again and request more chillies next time. Like most UK based Asian restaurants, spices are always knocked down a notch or two as most of us are simply wimps when it comes to hot food.
My mate went for the Poh Taek (7.95), which was a similar sounding hot and sour mixed sea-food soup, but with a slightly different flavour – again, another winner. To share, we opted for the Nua Yang (6.45) – strips of barbecued beef, marinated in oyster sauce and honey, garnished with sesame seeds and served with a soy dipping sauce. This was really tasty and more than enough for two alongside a light, soup starter.
Drinks wise, Thailand is known for doing some darn good beers, but not wine – however, Sukhothai’s wine buyer clearly knows a thing or two about good quality plonk. All the red wines I’ve tried here on previous occasions have been spot on, and the Fathoms Sauvignon Blanc (23.50) from New Zealand was exceptional – a zesty number, with hints of lime and a nice dry finish. I usually prefer a New Zealand Marlborough, but for 20 quid less, this was more than satisfying and comes highly recommended.
Onto the main courses, we once again swerved our comfort zone and tried new dishes that did not disappoint. My Gai Tod Prik Gan (10.95) consisted of sliced chicken breast dusted in flour and deep fried, with a creamy red sauce and basil and lime leaf. The batter was so light and crispy, and not in the slightest bit greasy as the description may have suggested.
My mates choice of the Pla Rad Prik Gan (14.95) which he chose with a whole steamed sea bass with red curry, green beans, mushrooms and lime leaves was yet another win, and went especially well with our wine of choice.
Once again, Sukhothai South Parade delivered and proved to me why it’s still my own personal number one choice for Thai food in Leeds. The restaurant itself is opulent and authentic without being tacky or pretentious, and the service is always second to none. It’s also refreshing to see they don’t add a service charge, and don’t need to either, as anyone leaving without tipping here must be a proper tight wad.
Sukhothai did not pay me for this review, but if they want to knock me 20% of my next visit, then I am open to bribes. They also do a takeaway service (collection only) which is also very reasonably priced, and their Sunday buffet knocks the spots off the competition if you don’t fancy going a la carte and like to gorge and feast yourself silly. This restaurant takes some beating.
Sukhothai South Parade, LS1 5QS, Tel: 0113 242 2795