Last weekend we visited Yum Yum Thai Restaurant, an old haunt of ours in Stoke Newington, North London. It’s been months since we’ve booked a babysitter: in fact this one was booked so that we could visit friends, and when they cancelled we decided to take advantage of the booking and have a ‘date night’ of our own.
Yum Yum is set back from the busy High Street with a courtyard, which is a lovely place for a pre-prandial drink in the Summer months. Inside, the space is vast with a separate bar serving amazing cocktails and dozens of tables in the dining room.
The atmosphere is always energetic at Yum Yum. The tables are fairly close together so it’s not the place for an intimate meal. As it’s on the borders of Dalston and Shoreditch, the clientele is cool and there’s a lot of crazy facial hair going on – so if you’re stuck for conversation there’s always that to look at.
I started with Som Tam, a spicy grated papaya and carrot salad with palm sugar, Thai herbs and peanuts. The first few mouthfuls were juicy and refreshing and the heat from the chilli built up until my lips were numb – just the way I like it.
Steve had Tom Khar – a creamy hot and sour soup made with coconut cream, mushrooms and Thai herbs, with chicken. This is the dish by which Steve judges all Thai restaurants. If the Tom Khar is substandard, we don’t ever return. Yum Yum’s version got the thumbs up. It was smooth and tangy and didn’t have too many bits of lemongrass floating around in it (they’re very hard to swallow!).
It was just as we’d finished our starters that I flung my red wine all over the man sitting next to me. My sleeve got caught under the place mat, which had my glass on it, and I sent it flying. The hirsute diner took it in his stride, refusing offers of dry cleaning or a drink, but I was mortified and spent the next 5 minutes trying not to cry!
I recovered shortly after the waitress brought me a fresh glass of wine, larger than the first.
For my main course I had the Pumpkin Yellow Curry with potato and tofu . I’m not a vegetarian, but just fancied a curry that wouldn’t fill me to bursting point. This is going to make me sound really old, but if I eat a heavy meal after 8pm, I don’t sleep a wink regardless of how much wine I wash it down with. The curry was rich without overpowering the flavours in the vegetables and went well with the Coconut Rice we ordered.
Steve has the Pla Pad Cha, slices of steamed sea bass stir-fried with fresh peppercorns, lime leaves, garlic chillies and Thai basil leaves. I didn’t try the sea bass but Steve enjoyed it – although the chillies did make his eyes water.
In an effort to save face and not get home too early for the babysitter, Steve had a Lemongrass Sorbet and I had a really interesting infusion of cherries and ginseng.
It was an enjoyable evening, the food was delicious as always and reasonable value at around £70 for two, including two glasses of house wine (one worn by my neighbour) and a beer.
Yum Yum is at 187 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH