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The Heron may not scream ‘London’s most authentic Thai food’, especially when you find yourself in a subterranean karaoke lounge below a scruffy, traditional Paddington boozer, exposed to plasma
TVs, lino flooring, cheesy hits and plastic chairs, yet Thai food is exactly what lures in-the-know regulars. And it really is authentic stuff. Even when ordered ‘mild’ just about everything packs
serious chilli heat, from zingy papaya salads loaded with lime juice and fish sauce (warning, the Thai sausage version may induce tears) to orange curries laced with mouth-puckeringly sour tamarind
and shrimp paste. Acquired tastes they may be, but shredded catfish and peanut salad with chilli sauce, crunchy-fried duck tongues or crisp-skinned century eggs in fermented fish juice with green
beans and pork are absolutely worth your perseverance. However, dishes such as cold pig’s intestines with raw onion and peppers are more hard core and easily avoided thanks to staff who can be
relied on to express concern at adventurous ordering. Drinks are limited to beer, fizzy pop and some unintentionally humorous stabs at mixology.
I pass The Heron every day on my way into work. It’s the sort of pub I never want to go into. The sort that has swirly-patterned carpets, the sort my Dad used to sell for £2.99 a square yard, the sort guaranteed to hide all stains as it already looks like someone has had an accident over it.Owned by a big brewery (Taylor Walker) and resolutely untrendy and not in a good way, The Heron is the last place I’d expect to find decent food, Thai or otherwise. I’m rather suspicious of Thai food in pubs, the trend that started in the late 1980s and for the most part executed badly, as if the height of Thai cuisine was...
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