Right next to Tottenham Court Road tube station, where the neighbourhoods of Holborn, Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia and Soho converge, and at the foot of the iconic Centre point building is the Arcade Food Hall, which opened in 2022. Upstairs within the food hall is Plaza Khao Gaeng, a Southern Thai khao gaeng (rice with curry) restaurant by Luke (Lukie) Farrell.
Not for the faint-hearted, PKG offers a wonderful array of intensely flavoured and fiercely hot curries that will clear your sinuses, burn your lips and make you grin like a lunatic. We visited in December with friends and could not have been happier with our meal.
Between the four of us we ordered the Deep South set menu (£35 per person) for two people, and added three extra dishes and extra rice plus a shared dessert at the end.
The Deep South set menu included:
- Miang Phuket – a miang (one bite wrap) of coconut and cashew with single estate palm sugar
- Nam Chup Khai Jiew Cha Om – shrimp paste relish, cha om omelette, fresh vegetables
- Gaeng Massaman Neua – beef shoulder, potatoes and shallots massaman curry
- Gung Pad Sator Sai Gapi – tiger prawns with sator beans, Nakorn Si shrimp paste and chilli
- Gaeng Som Tom Yam – a sour seafood curry with tom yam herbs
- Pak Bung Fai Daeng – stir fried morning glory with chillies and fermented soy beans
- Khai Dow – fried eggs
- Khao Hom Mali Mai – new season jasmine rice
- Pik Gai Tord Khamin Deeplee (£8) – chicken wings with turmeric and long pepper
- Gaeng Gati Gai (£12) – chicken and coconut curry with betel leaves
- Muu Hong (£10) – braised pork belly with spices and dark soy sauce
- An extra portion of rice (£2.5)
- Pudding Maprao Ohn (£8) – young coconut pudding with tapioca pearls and lychee)
- Wild Ginger Tonic (£6) – made with freshly squeezed wild ginger and apple
- Cafea Yen (£5.50) – iced Thai coffee
- A few Singha Beers (£5.75 a bottle)
This was a plentiful feast for four and allowed us to try the majority of the menu – just the right amount to ensure we were each stuffed but didn’t have much leftover.
The food was absolutely delicious and took all four of us back to memories of visits to Thailand. I will warn you once more that much of the menu is searingly hot – especially the shrimp paste relish that came with the omelette, the chicken and coconut curry, and the miang! The Massaman curry and the prawns were (relatively) mild, though still some pleasing heat in both.
If we didn’t live four hours from London now we’d already have been back more than once, but hope to enjoy another visit on our next visit. Note: our dishes reflect the menu from December 2022. For current menus and pricing, please check PKG’s website.