It was approaching Red’s birthday and so time for a family treat to celebrate her 44th year (what do you mean I shouldn’t be telling everyone). With the restrictions of it being a Wednesday night, the two boys, Fidget and Shy, in tow and Red’s infamous frugality we opted for Ayuthaya in Crosby Village (as well as being a scrabble boffin’s dream is also refers to a Siamese kingdom from the 14th to 18th century). This is a relatively new addition to the slightly run down centre of Crosby and a big improvement on the previous occupant, Harry’s Bar, which, on certain days, resembled the bar in Star Wars.
“A big improvement on the previous occupant, Harry’s Bar, which, on certain days, resembled the bar in Star Wars”
So after a rushed change after work we arrived at Ayuthaya to be greeted, pleasantly, by one of the all-male serving staff. Now this in itself is a strange thing: from my experience the majority of waiting on staff are usually female but not here, interesting. Greeted and seated in a modern looking, small but smartly appointed dining room we were offered the menus. Red’s aforementioned fiscal prudence nudged us all towards the early bird menu, this was not offered to us until we asked. This contained a 2 and 3 course fixed price option alongside a Thai Street Food Tapas option.
“All of which did leave our young waiter a little disorientated and consequently led to my tapas arriving with the starters and leaving me sat like Ugly Betty at the school disco when the rest of the family had their mains.”
We then started to make our selections which, to be fair, did skip across the main menu, the fixed price and street tapas options. All of which did leave our young waiter a little disorientated and consequently led to my tapas arriving with the starters and leaving me sat like Ugly Betty at the school disco when the rest of the family had their mains.
To start, I had my main course! but the very fussy Shy had the prawn crackers which were delicately spiced and a world away from the processed white crisps of many a restaurant, they came with a delightful sweet chili dip. Shy also ordered chicken soup which when it arrived was not what we were expecting, and after raising the matter with our waiter, who was equally unsure, returned to inform us the dish was correct, the error was down to our misreading of the menu. It was a very fragrant Thom Kha chicken soup which was a creamy, coconut based soup with lime. Shy was not impressed but that was no reflection on the food but rather his impossible to please tastes. Fidget chose the mooping these were skewers of pork loin marinated in a sweet Thai sauce. These were delicious, tender and disappeared quickly.
“The pad Thai was delicious with that careful balance of sweet and savoury chicken with the traditional noodles and topped with chopped peanuts.”
For our mains, though as mentioned mine arrived as a starter, I had the Street Tapas 2 (I haven’t even seen Street Tapas 1 yet!) which consisted of pad Thai chicken, mooping, the aforementioned Thom Kha chicken soup and prawn toast. On the whole this was a very good choice: the pad Thai was delicious with that careful balance of sweet and savoury chicken with the traditional noodles and topped with chopped peanuts. The prawn toast was ok but came as two balls, akin to scotch eggs in appearance with a gelatinous prawn based centre. The mooping was as good as mentioned earlier and the Thom Kha chicken soup was unusual, in a good way: fragrant, real depth of a creamy, coconut intensity and chunks of chicken, mushroom and lemongrass.
Red and Fidget shared their mains of chicken with cashew nuts and a chili and basil pork stir fry, accompanied by jasmine rice. Both dishes were good with the chicken taking top spot according to Fidget because of “its depth of flavour and the tastiness of the chicken”. The pork was also good, well cooked, remaining moist and again plenty or Thai flavour, though Red found no sign of the basil. Sadly all Shy would have was the egg fried rice but we were sent the jasmine rice instead. After the chicken soup incident we decided not to raise the matter and he was perfectly happy with the boiled rice, indeed he also had some of the chicken cashew nut dish, with positive results.
“The best of the desserts, however, was the sticky toffee and banana pudding which was decadent in its deep luxury of flavours, packed with calories but well worth the indulgence.”
The best of the meal, however, was yet to come with the desserts. Between the four of us we shared: deep fried ice cream, sticky toffee and banana pudding and a portion of chocolate spring rolls. the novelty ice cream was very good and despite the boys’ disbelief, remained frozen. The chocolate spring rolls were very good: delicate, crispy and oozing just enough chocolate. The best of the desserts, however, was the sticky toffee and banana pudding which was decadent in its deep luxury of flavours, packed with calories but well worth the indulgence.
In all, this was an enjoyable experience and one we would repeat at some point in the future. The food is very good and reasonable value for money. The one key area for improvement is the service. My fears of the all male cast were proven right: though well meaning and pleasant they lacked the knowledge of the food and the sharp attention to detail leading to slight errors. Obviously this is not just because they are men and they are small things that, as the restaurant develops and they gain experience, will improve and when they do, combined with the very good food, this will be a belter of an addition to the blossoming Crosby restaurant scene.
Type: family / budget restaurant
- Service: 6/10 Polite and welcoming but lack of knowledge and small errors.
- Atmosphere: 8/10 small but bustling, even on an early wed evening.
- Food: 8/10 well cooked authentic Thai food.
- Value for money: 7.5/10 reasonable at £70 for 4
- Overall: 7.5 Food spot on, service needs to match it.
These are judged against the best of that type of restaurant. For example cafes against what you would expect from the best cafes, high end restaurants against the best high end restaurants etc.