Thai Spring Menu at the Pepper Tree, Clapham:
I’ve driven, ridden or walked past this Clapham Common stalwart for years, but until now haven’t had a reason to visit. So it was with delight that I accepted the invitation to try the new spring menu at The Pepper Tree.
The restaurant sits opposite the Common a short stroll from the tube and right by numerous bus routes, so is perfect for locals and visitors alike. It’s laid out with communal style tables which help to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We settled ourselves just inside the restaurant, but by the window, in order that we could people-watch to our hearts’ content.
Inspired by her recent trip to Thailand and a drive for constant innovation, Head Chef Promnarin has developed new and unique dishes for the Pepper Tree. We were impressed by the vegetarian options which included Raw Papaya and Avocado Salad, and a Green Coconut and Avocado Curry. Pescatarians are also well catered for on the spring menu which includes a dish called Yum Woon Chen; described as fine bean vermicelli salad made with a lime and chilli sauce, mint, coriander and lettuce with prawns and squid. Additionally, the Chu Chi Fish was on the menu, which I ordered and will describe later.
We ordered starters from the standard menu; fish cakes with a sweet chilli sauce for Alex, and salt and pepper squid for me. Both were beautifully seasoned with a delicate touch, and the sweet chilli sauce was clearly home made. We had to ask what the garnish was; it’s the base of pak choi coloured with beetroot juice. I did try a leaf but it just tasted bitter, lesson learnt, it’s just for decoration! With our starters, we enjoyed a ginger martini and a Thai mojito that included a touch of chilli. Both drinks were well made and balanced, and are 2 for 1 during happy hour.
My Chu Chi fish arrived, I had imagined that it would be goujon type strips of battered fish, but it was, in fact, a battered fillet. The waiter joked that it was the Thai version of fish and chips. Served on a bed of wilted spinach with a creamy coconut red curry sauce it was a long way from that! I thought that this was delicious, the batter was light and crispy and the sauce fragrant and rich.
Alex’s chicken version appeared to be poached chicken in the same delicious sauce. It disappeared quite quickly, so I think it was a hit! Whilst we were eating we had a lot of fun people-watching. Whatever made the owner of this Highland Terrier dye it pink though?
We finished off our meal with some warm sake, which left us with a lovely glow!
This is a great place for Clapham; delicious food, reasonably priced (mains were around £11), with interesting cocktails as well as a selection of beers and wines. For an informal, relaxed evening with friends, this is a perfect spot.
We were guests of The Pepper Tree.
The Pepper Tree
19 Clapham Common South Side,
London SW4 7AB