SquareMeal Review of Wild Rice and Mamasan
London’s Thai food renaissance continues with this approachable newcomer a few doors down the road from the game-changing Kiln. It’s owned by two first-time restaurateurs, Pan Serirak and Mike Asavarut, who have gone for a two-for-one approach. At street level is Wild Rice, a great-looking dining room inspired by the traditional wooden buildings of Bangkok, while downstairs is Mamasan, an even more casual bar-cum-restaurant for Thai street food washed down by bubble tea and cocktails.
We ate at the tiny counter in the window of Wild Rice, which gave a corking view of the comings and goings of the sex shops over the road. The cooking occupies a halfway house between the foodie thrills of Kiln and the familiar favourites from the high street. From the starters, classic rice flour-coated calamari is light, springy and scattered with some searingly fresh chillies, while fried chicken thighs come with a musky dipping sauce and no bones to get in the way of the enjoyment.
Our two best dishes were squares of soft tofu which tore away from a crisp skin to mingle with a curried satay sauce, and the main course of lamb massaman, which came with a deeply flavoured cinnamon and star anise-flavoured sauce.
Our very friendly waiter advised three starters and one main per person, though we found that portions were so generous (a side order of special fried rice was a main course in itself) that two starters would have sufficed, making Wild Rice good value for good food. Book ahead: with only 35 seats upstairs and 25 in Mamasan, the word is already out.
About Wild Rice and Mamasan
This double restaurant features two differing takes on Thai food across its two floors. On the ground floor, you’ll find Wild Rice which features interiors inspired by Bangkok and offers a menu of small plates made with seasonal British ingredients. Expect to chow down on the likes of Thai ceviche made with raw seabass, red chilli, fish sauce and toasted rice, or opt for a pulled chicken leg soup.
Downstairs in the more intimate Mamasan, guests can indulge in Thai-inspired street food dishes, such as southern Thai fried chicken, seasoned with coriander root, garlic, and soy sauce and topped with crispy shallots. The beverage offering includes bubble tea and cocktails, while the décor is themed around Thailand’s Chinatown with lanterns and neon signage.