Starting out as a Thai street food vendor – and a very successful one at that – Brother Thai opened the doors of their first permanent restaurant in July 2021, and it’s been an instant hit with old and new fans alike ever since.
Described as a Thai roti bar, the snappy menu includes their popular sticky beef roti (plus a handful of other filled rotis), a few rice bowls and plated dishes (three of each), and a couple of desserts. The drinks offering is similarly concise with a few beers, three cocktails, three wines (one red, one white and one sparkling), plus spirits, a few soft drinks and coffee.
I love to see short menus like this; it not only shows that a restaurant has real confidence in their handful of signature dishes, it also tells me that they aren’t buying in a huuuge long list of fresh ingredients (some of which could get a bit long in the tooth before being used, and some which might even be wasted).
That said, it still took our table of four a fair old time to decide what to order. In the meantime, drinks. Be warned that these are made on the strong side – my Lychee Longtime (double gin, lychee liqueur, lemon) was powerful! So too was the Rum Aroi (double spiced rum, amaretto, lime). Both excellent!
The first dish to arrive was Crispy Mushroom Larb (£7.50), a fiery crispy salad that instantly transported us back to eating street food in Thailand. What I loved about this dish was how well it embodied that classic Thai balancing act between sweet, sour, salty, and hot; and between soft and crunchy too.
Categorised as one chilli on the heat scale, this was still pretty hot but within my personal tolerance!
Having never made it to Brother Thai’s street food stall, of course we ordered their Sticky Spicy Beef Roti (£9) as well as the Thai Basil Chicken (£9). I can see why these were so popular as street food – the flaky paratha is easy to wrap around the filling of ‘ajat slaw’ (ajat being a Thai cucumber pickle), fresh herbs and sauces and your chosen filling.
Both were delicious, with our table split on which ones we loved best. For me, the sticky sweet and hot flavours of the beef won out, though I found it a little too hot for my wuss-level chilli tolerance – it’s given 2 chillis on the menu. For others, the sweeter, rounded flavours of the chicken won their votes, and the heat level (listed as one chilli) was a touch lower too.
We all loved without reservation the Thai Fried Chicken (£8) served with Sriracha mayo or sweet chilli sauce (we chose the mayo). Superbly moist meat within a crunchy coat, with so much flavour! My only point to note is that it would be great to see a little more variation on the available sauces, given that the same ones are used on the rotis and fried chicken.
We adored the flavours of the Pad Nuea Rice Bowl (£11); sweet, sticky and oh-so-hot ground beef with Thai basil served with a crisp-fried, runny-yolked egg served over jasmine rice. Another two chilli menu item, this was one that made me huff and puff as I ate it but the taste was worth the pain!
This dish is also known as pad krapao (krapao being the name of holy basil in Thai) and we often make a pork version of this at home.
We also had the Thai Fried Chicken Satay Rice Bowl (£11), a milder dish of marinated, crisp-fried chicken pieces served over jasmine rice with a really wonderful satay sauce. This is comfort food. And it’s also less challenging on the chilli front!
The menu has good options for vegetarians, with 5 out of 11 savoury dishes on the menu marked as suitable for veggies on the day of our visit.
Both the rotis and rice bowls are suitable as a single-dish quick meal, or you can do as we did and share dishes from all three sections of the menu between a few of you.