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Andy Oliver might be best known from the 2009 series of Masterchef, but he worked with David Thompson at Nahm – still the best Thai restaurant London has ever had – as well as spending two years at Bangkok’s even more highly rated Bo.Lan. Last year Oliver had a smash-hit pop-up in Hackney’s Climpson’s Arch; now, he’s found a permanent home in an industrial-chic former fabric warehouse near Spitalfields Market, after a crowdfunding campaign raised £700,000 in three days. Oliver’s calling card is authentic northern Thai cooking, producing flavours unfamiliar to most Londoners. Lon gapi relish of shrimp paste with wild ginger and coconut cream was oily-rich, and satisfyingly dripped off crunchy crudités. Tamarind dipping sauce for a plump grilled chicken leg was worlds away from the usual sweet gloop, simultaneously sharp, sweet and sour. Burmese-style pork belly and shoulder curry arrived as a comforting pot of melty meat, but there was no hiding from the slap-in-the-face sour heat of som tam Isaan, a green papaya salad with snake beans, tomatoes and fermented fish sauce. Too full for dessert (palm-sugar ice cream with grilled banana, say), we opted for a Dragon’s Milk cocktail (a heady combination of sticky-rice rum, Kahlúa, coconut cream, condensed milk, salt and sesame) from a list boasting interesting takes on the classics. Dispiritingly, Som Saa takes no bookings for tables of fewer than four, but the bar is no bad place to wait at one of 2016’s hottest openings.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign helped Som Saa smash their target and raise over &700,000 in just 72 hoursLondon has been waiting with bated breath, for Andy Oliver, Mark Dobbie & Tom George’s Som Saa to transition from pop-up to permanent restaurant.Finally the dress rehearsal was over and on the 11th April 2016 Som Saa officially opened their doors.
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Som Saa, Shoreditch – For me, Som Saa is not just another Thai restaurant. I knew Andy Oliver in his days in Nahm at The Halkin Hotel, a fine dining Thai restaurant. When that was closed, I followed Andy’s cooking from pop up events at Climpson’s Arch and The Begging Bowl to now, an established brick and mortar restaurant. So, for me, I knew I had to go to Som Saa when I heard about the opening. And just to make the rest jealous because I managed a booking on the first night, I posted the menu on my social media feed…
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