Brixton Village Market
London SW9 8PR
Starters: £4-7, Mains £7-13.
Did I choose badly? The menu was a list of garden-variety Thai dishes (green curry, Massaman, tom yum) that were not as good as the rave reviews by most national newspapers and an army of London bloggers.
The soups (tom yum and tom kha) - both powerfully lemongrassy with succulent pieces of boiled chicken in the tom kha - were excellent, full of big flavours (and also big button mushrooms - not my favourite). Unfortunately, they were bigger than my friend's teensy tiny salad that was a small hump of beansprouts and little else. The first time I went to Kaosarn, the portions were unexpectedly small, too, which possibly reflects either the tendency for Thais to eat less or the hipster clientele who eat birdlike portions lest they get too fat for their vintage skinny jeans. At least the ingredients all tasted very fresh, few as they were. Luckily for me, my Massaman curry was substantial and the lamb was succulently falling apart, but the sauce-to-rice ratio was skewed heavily towards rice. The sauce itself was very oily, with a slick on top that I chose to mix into the sauce, although I probably should have drained it off.
For the privilege of one of us not being full and the other facing the effects of arteriosclerosis once all that oil seeps into my veins, we were charged around £24. If Kaosarn has a secret Thai menu, then I would love to hear about it and revisit, because it must have its fanbase for a reason. If it doesn't, and my two visits (about nine months apart) are representative, then it is clear that there are much better Thai restaurants available in London. Next stop, The Heron!