Found in Bournemouth’s ‘Soho Quarter’, this is the flagship branch of Koh Thai Tapas, which also has sites in Bath, Bristol, Winchester and Lymington to name just a few.
The Bournemouth spot has fast become a local institution, bringing some far Eastern pizzazz to the area. Although tapas is the name of the game here, the restaurant’s look is more closely aligned to that of a chic steak house – think slick brown leather seating, bar-side dining and luxuriant foliage, paired with a few Thai-inspired touches such as sculptures and Buddha reliefs.
From the menu of small plates and appetisers, tuck into the likes of chicken satay, spare ribs, breaded shrimps, sweetcorn fritters and duck spring rolls, although on our visit the real standouts are pork and prawn dumplings smothered in sticky garlic, chilli and soy. Curries take fewer liberties with tradition, whether it’s creamy lamb massaman with potatoes and peanuts or punchy red pork with bamboo shoots and coconut.
There is plenty here to keep vegetarians happy too, thanks to dishes such as sweetcorn cakes pepped up with herbs and spices, fried tofu sticks and crispy vegetable spring rolls. Kids are welcome too, with Koh Thai’s dedicated children’s menu featuring the likes of a miniature pad Thai and chicken with noodles and vegetables.
Koh Thai’s menu is fairly priced, but as with all small plates ventures, the bill can add up if you are not careful. If you are on a budget though, we’d recommend taking advantage of the two-course set lunch menu which is just £12 per person, or perhaps visiting on a Tuesday to make the most of £5 tapas.
In the evening, the lights are dimmed and a party vibe kicks in, fuelled by creative cocktails. Efficient and friendly staff add to Koh Thai’s funky, fun mood.