Food review - Lek Thai, Great Yarmouth: 'A brilliant date night destination'
- Credit: James Weeds
Tucked away along the Edwardian seafront of Great Yarmouth, amid a string of restaurants, eateries and hotels and not too far from night venues such as The Empire and Merlins, sits Lek Thai.
This cosy restaurant boasts authentic cuisine from the land of a thousand smiles and certainly did have me leaving with a smile on my face.
I visited on a Thursday night in January, and quite a few of the 40 seats were empty. However, with free off-season parking and a warm atmosphere inside, Lek Thai knows how to heat up the cold winter nights.
While the restaurant was somewhat quiet, the kitchen was bustling with takeaway orders. A delightful Asian bell would sound indicating staff that food was ready for hungry customers.
We were greeted immediately and took a seat towards the back of the restaurant, which had mood lighting and quiet Thai pop music emanating from the speakers.
Shortly after, our waitress brought us complimentary Thai prawn crackers with our drinks.
The crackers were sweet and slightly spicy and a great nibble to whet our appetites while we looked at the curries, stir-fries and salads on offer.
I ordered a bottle of Tiger beer (£3.65) - when in Rome - and my partner, being the designated driver, ordered an authentic Thai strawberry Fanta (£3.05).
To start, we shared scallops (£6.25) and a plate of battered vegetables (£4.65) with sweet chilli sauce.
The scallops were lounging in a rich garlic and soy sauce and had been cooked to perfection. As soon as one scallop touched the tongue it dissolved.
The battered veg - which included slices of red and green peppers and broccoli - was fried in a light tempura-style batter. The crispness of the batter added much to the crunch of the vegetables. A devilish treat which was assuaged by the ripeness of the vegetables.
For mains, I had the pork massaman curry (£10.95) and my partner a cashew stir fry with mock duck (£10.25). We had a bowl of sticky rice to share £4.35).
The massaman curry was full-flavoured and lightly spiced with pepper. The aromatic sauce had highlights of cinnamon and nutmeg and its taste warmed me to the core. A perfect wintry dish packed with potatoes and tender pork. Each mouthful was met with a loving sigh. The only issue with the massaman is that as it is so good, it doesn't last very long.
The cashew stir fry had a crunch from the carrots and the mock duck was indistinguishable from the real thing. The star of the dish was the addition of the roasted cashews. Soft yet crunchy, the fire-roasted nuts transformed the sauce of the dish and made it to the list of recipes to try at home.
The sticky rice was well-formed as the compactness of the rice absorbed much of the sauce, which was a solid choice with both of these flavourful and hearty dishes.
Accompanying the main, we ordered a Thai omelette to share (£2.65). The eggs were firm, yellow and packed full of more red and green peppers. They complemented our mains well and offered a slight respite from the peppered massaman curry.
For dessert and an after-meal drink, we moved next door to Lek Thai's sister business In The Mix.
The decor of In The Mix is noticeably different from the family-oriented Thai restaurant and seemed suitable as a place to go for pre-drinks before a heavier night out.
With our bellies full but our taste buds craving more delights, we ordered a New York cheesecake to share and two cocktails.
I had the espresso martini and my partner had a tequila sunrise mocktail.
The cheesecake tasted great, and the cheesy baked topping had a creamy texture and continued to delight until the final mouthful. The biscuit base could have been made with more butter to cement its shape, but it was an incredibly tasty dessert.
The mocktail was fruity and colourful and was served in a long glass. While the wind blew a gale outside, we were taken away to hotter climes inside In The Mix.
The mixture of the espresso martini was bitter, sweet and moreish. It was hard not to order another one, but I didn't want to take liberty with the designated driver.
Lek Thai and In The Mix offer a wide variety of food and drink for anyone visiting the seaside, and for just over £70 make for a great date night.
It would have been nice to have been able to order dessert and demitasse inside the restaurant as In The Mix moves away from the family-oriented style of Lek Thai.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues that do or do not advertise in our publications.