Please sir, can I Som Saa some more?
After a successful crowdfunding campaign helped Som Saa smash their target and raise over £700,000 in just 72 hours
London 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.
Having recently come back from Asia, I was yearning for the strong and unashamedly powerful flavour combinations typical of South East Asia.
So when few fellow foodies invited me on to explore what Som Saa had to offer. It would be rude not to.
This meant that we had to order
everything I mean almost everything.
We started with Mu Yaang – Grilled pork neck with a ‘nam jim’ dressing. Lean slices of grilled pork bathing in a sour, tangy and spicy pool. The first bite was a fist-punch full of flavours that took me right back to the streets of Thailand. Citrusy, garlic-y, fish-saucy deliciousness.
Mu Yaang – Grilled pork neck with a ‘nam jim’ dressing
Our appetites had been teased and we were ready for the next dishes to arrive.
All good things come in 3’s. Starting with Country style green papaya salad, grilled chicken leg with tamarind sauce & chicken, banana flower with chilli jam salad.
Thai style grilled chicken leg with Tamarind dipping sauce
Som Tam Isaan – Country style green papaya salad with snake beans, cherry tomatoes, and fermented fish sauce
Yum Hua Plee – Grilled chicken, banana flower and chilli jam salad
I felt like I was cruising through the night street markets in Bangkok again with every bite. The guys Som Saa are unafraid to use spice and were just a little heavy on the fish sauce. But everything was so delicious that I couldn’t hold that against them.
My favourites (thus far) were the Grilled chicken, banana flower and chilli jam salad & the Grilled chicken with tamarind sauce. The chicken was crispy yet juicy, and soft and after a good drizzle of the sticky Tamarind sauce was irresistible.
Pad ped hoi lai – Stir fried clams with Turmeric, chillies and holy basil
Next up was the Stir fried clams with Turmeric, chillies and holy basil; the broth that the clams were basking in NEEDS to be lapped up. So I mean this with all seriousness, MAKE SURE you have a bowl of rice at the ready to flood with the clam juice. Do it before the person sitting next to you realises, because the rice portions are rather on the small side. So you snooze you lose!
See what I mean? HEEYYYYY GIIIIRRRL……FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!
Now for what we all have been waiting for Whole deep fried sea bass with roasted rice and isaan herbs.
Nahm dtok pla thort – Whole deep fried sea-bass with roasted rice and isaan herbs
This was by far the winning dish of the evening. If there is one dish that you NEED to experience it’s the deep fried whole sea bass. The Sea bass was so fresh, and was perfectly cooked that the flesh was juicy and just fell of the bone.
Spare nothing. Especially the head. Or literally just have any excuse to yell “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” Whilst savaging the remains.
Yum makeua yao – Grilled aubergine salad with egg and prawn floss
The Whole sea bass is a hard dish to follow, but the curries are in a league of their own.
Gaeng penang neua kam – Penang curry with salted beef cheeks and thai basilGaeng baa moo yaang – Jungle curry with thai aubergine, grilled gurriard and holy basilGaeng hung lay – Burmese style curry of pork belly and shoulder with pickled garlic and fresh ginger
My 2 favourites were the Burmese style curry of pork belly and shoulder with pickled garlic and fresh ginger & Penang curry with salted beef cheeks and thai basil.
The pork belly & beef cheeks were melt-in-your mouth and need no justification of their deliciousness.
You’ll be licking these bowls clean.
Kluey thort nahm dan beep – Palm sugar ice crea, with grilled banana
Jan Ponlamai – Seasonal Asian fruit plate
Admittedly, the grilled bananas were a little on the raw side; and the palm sugar ice cream was more on the caramel side. However, had it been a touch less sweet and the bananas been ripe. It would have been dreamier.
Overall, Som Saa is one of the very few Thai restaurant (I’ve tasted) in London that brings the most authentic flavours from Bangkok’s street food scene to the city.
It would be a crime if you don’t come and try them.
43A Commercial Street,