Recently, Lady FWO and I went, accompanied by the newly weds, our daughter and son-in-law, to the Thai restaurant, King and I, in Guildford.
In what was an old house – the main dining area is quite large, and there are other rooms off the main which serve as overflow or for private functions – it is nicely decorated and the friendly waiters are garbed in traditional Thai costume, adding to the atmosphere.
The menu is expansive and includes all you expect in a Thai spot – a good range of vegetarian food is also available. Iced water was brought to the table as soon as we sat and as it is BYO ice buckets were promptly supplied. And there is no corkage charged – which is always welcome.
We started off with chicken satay, fishcakes and a dish of deep fried tofu – Tofu Todd; and then for our mains we chose a fish curry, a beef and basil stir fry and two curries – green prawn and Massaman beef. Steamed Jasmine rice completed our order.
The fish cakes had a pleasant crispy exterior, and were moist and springy inside, with well integrated flavours.
They came with the obligatory dipping sauce and raw vegetables. The mild dipping sauce had a hint of lemon as well which gave it a bit of fresh lift.
The tofu was crisped up, but creamy and firm inside. It came with a mild, slightly sweet, peanut sauce which complemented the dish well. We have had this dish on a number of occasions and it always delivers on flavour and presentation.
Chicken satay, 4 sticks of tender, juicy chicken, cooked with mild spice and served with peanut sauce were also enjoyable, setting up our palates for the mains to follow.
Our mains – the serves are quite large which is reflected a bit in the prices which are a touch higher than in other Thai places around town – were served with steamed rice which is plated up for you by one of the ever smiling waiters.
Tender beef strips were stir fried with basil, garlic and pepper, together with broccoli, cabbage and fried onion. The vegetables were crunchy and firm, the meat well-cooked. The basil flavours, however, were not as evident as expected, which let the dish down a little.
Our second main, the fish curry, consisted of deep fried fish fillets, with a red curry sauce liberally dousing them, and some extra lift gained from a sprinkling of lime. The fish was cooked well, still tender and moist and the flavours of the red curry paste shone through. This was probably the highlight dish of the evening.
The green curry and the Massaman had the requisite flavour combinations usual in Thai cuisine, and both the prawns and beef strips were cooked to retain juiciness and tenderness, while the vegetables provided a pleasant firmness. Coconut lent a gentle creaminess to the dishes.
One thing to note however, the chilli component of the dishes is very restrained – I suppose catering for more Westernized palates – which is a shame – the offer of a heat scale would be an improvement.
This is quite an elegant spot – the decor and the costumes appeal – and the food is well done; with the caveat of too restrained use of chilli.
The spices are well integrated, the flavours clean and fresh, complementing each other. Together with friendly waiters, a lot of smiles and prompt service, it is well worth a trip to Guildford to give them a go. We like it.