St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Place, London WC2E 9AB
uda is the street version of its high-end cousin, Patara, in Soho. Its location in Covent Garden is hardly what you’d call low-brow, but the concept is affordable street food for sharing. Sharing: the mega trend of the mo. I love sharing. One for you…look over there…snatch. Two for me! The place is huge. 2 floors. Ground level is a bit austere. Dark walls, functional seating and little decoration. Neo warehouse. Upstairs is much brighter with floor to ceiling windows affording a bird’s-eye view of St Martin’s Courtyard, a foodie/shoppie hot spot. Although Suda doesn’t have the grace or charm of Patara, it does have the food. And at half the price. Likewise, service is prompt and efficient, but without refinement. The price of affordability. We skipped cocktails and went straight for a bottle of Viognier (£22). Not a lot of character, but perfectly drinkable and a good companion to the Asian flavors that followed. The four of us were so good at sharing the first bottle, we
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick ordered a second! Tom Kha Hed (£5.75), gorgeous coconut soup was, according to my well-traveled guest, as good as one gets in Thailand. Pungent lemongrass and oyster mushrooms. Not the easiest for sharing, but we managed not to fight over it. Fish and prawn lollipops (£5.95) were a fun take on Thai fish and prawn cakes with sweet chili sauce. We each got our own, so no “licksies”! Steamed fish dumplings (£5.50) were unusual. The wrappers were quite thick, more like ravioli and the filling so savory, they didn’t need a dip. Calamari (£5.95) were fried in a very good batter. Darker and more flavorful than either the Chinese or Italian style and served with sweet chili. Excellent for sharing. Snatch…THREE for me! For mains we had the rice noodle classic, Pad Thai, with tofu (£9.95), vegetables in green curry (£9.25), sea bass in red curry (£13.50) and grilled giant king prawns with spicy dressing (£12.95) with one jasmine and one coconut
rice (£2.85/3.50). Everything was tasty, but nothing was piping hot. The giant shrimp weren’t really giant. They were butterflied and pressed flat to make them look bigger. Didn’t fool us! And pressing them did not enhance them in any way. In fact, they were drier, and more difficult to remove from the shell. The sea bass and the Pad Thai were both very good with ample portions. The green curry was exceptional. Hands down, the dish of the day. Beautifully balanced between sweet, savory and spicy. I couldn’t pull my “look over there” trick on this one. Two sorbets, blood orange and mango (£3.95) and banana fritters with vanilla ice cream (£4.95) were both good value for money. Good quality, good flavor. Sticky rice with mango and coconut ice cream was our favorite but cost a whopping £8.50. The mango, imported from Thailand, was good but didn’t justify such extravagance. Sliced for sharing, I managed to get FOUR for me!