The Thai Kitchen in Frome
is the kind of place you feel thrilled to discover and quite want to keep to yourself. It’s not that’s it hard to find, though it is tucked away between M&S and the pet shop on King street, overlooking Frome’s rather unprepossessing long stay car park. But you might easily walk past without realising that inside this tiny shop and restaurant is the absolute, taste-punching, tongue-burning real thing, the kind of place you’d expect in a London back street but not here in the thick of Somerset.
Unlicensed (though you can bring your own booze) and open during the day only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then also on Friday and Saturday evenings (6 to 10.30), it’s one to plan for.
We did exactly that, after months of never quite making it, during the October half term and I am so glad we did.
Run by Englishman James and his Thai wife Puk, the chef, the Thai Kitchen has a tiny shop selling imported Thai ingredients and a little kitchen at the front, a small restaurant of five or six tables at the back.
It was packed out when we arrived without booking but James hauled in a table from the rainy outside, wiped it down and set us up anyway.
There is a short menu which changes daily and we opted for a fiery red curry and Pad Thai noodles.
During the wait – each dish is made from scratch individually, they are utterly purist here – James took the children to watch their Pad Thais being made in the kitchen.
The sauce, he explained, is made every Sunday for the week ahead and takes six hours.
The noodles were perfection, a direct memory tug back to meals in Thailand proper and the red curry - just the right amount of heat, multi-flavours - was exactly the same. The spicing is punchy here which is how I like it but as each dish is tailor made you can opt to have it as mild or hot as you wish.
Four main courses and four soft drinks came in at well under £40 and remain the best Thai food any of us have eaten in a very long time (outside Thailand, anyway and that was 20 years ago).
Booking is advisable particularly in the evenings (pick up a chilled white from M&S and away you go). http://www.thaikitchenfrome.com/