Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Thai Aroy Dee - Leeds

Thai Aroy Dee is a well-loved Thai Restaurant amongst the ‘foodies’ in Leeds. Being a resident food blogger of six years it’s shameful that I hadn’t been until this year. It wasn’t for the want of trying however. I had tried to visit Thai Aroy Dee in their previous, smaller, location just down the road. I had tried calling for bookings but was either told they were fully booked or there was no answer to my calls. I tried turning up, mid-week even, to be turned away. It was proving to be a fruitless task.

Thai Aroy Dee moved further up the street either earlier this year or late last year, I lose track of time. They have moved to a place that I think was previously an all you can eat Chinese restaurant. I certainly remember visiting such a place as a young teen with my mum and her new friend who introduced us to the concept of an ‘all you can eat’, something that was previously alien to me. Hard to believe I know, but my eating out experiences as a child usually only went as far as fast food establishments (I don’t need to name them) and the cafes in BHS, Debenhams, Lewis’ and if mum was feeling flush House of Fraser.

Anyway, back to Thai Aroy Dee. I had tickets booked to see The Cirque Du Soleil at the First Direct Arena, they were booked months in advance so I got my act together and also booked a table at Thai Aroy Dee (more like a week or two in advance rather than months like the tickets).

We visited on a Saturday evening fairly early as the show started around 7.30pm. I was aware from reading others experiences and accounts that things could be a bit slap dash but the food was the main attraction. A more authentic experience some have said. When we arrived we waited patiently behind one other, who hadn’t booked, to give our names and be shown to our seats. When the other couple in front of us had been taken to their seats we had to wait a considerable amount of time for someone else to acknowledge us, we began to wonder if we were doing something wrong. Finally, after grabbing a passing waitress and telling them we had a booking we were seated at a table towards the back of the restaurant.

The furniture in the restaurant is all mismatched, but not in that cool retro way, but in that this is the cheapest and quickest stuff we could get our hands on way. Looking around a lot of the décor seemed half finished and half bothered. You can’t judge a place on its looks, I’ve been to some of the grungiest looking places and had the best time.

The menu at Thai Aroy Dee is extensive, I’d heard of Thai only dishes (not yet translated to English) and secret dishes that could only be made by special request. It all seemed a little overwhelming for a first timer and so I approached the friendly people in my pocket, aka Twitter.

Floods of recommendations came in, once again making me feel ashamed for having never visited. It was difficult to know whose advice to go with, I didn’t want to offend anyone by not choosing ‘their favourite dish’.

In the end I went a little rogue, I wanted to find my favourite dish on my own and ordered some of the recommendations and also ordered some bits that weren’t recommended too.

In the starters list you’ll find many Thai favourites, such as chicken satay, spring rolls and spare ribs. I was feeling greedy and wanted to sample as much as possible so I managed to convince the chap to let me order the ‘Hors D’oeuvres’ for us to share, it’s essentially a mixed starter consisting of chicken satay, chicken spring rolls, crispy fried pasta, golden baskets and pork ribs (£12).

Mixed Starter

The golden baskets are sauté chicken and sweetcorn, dipped in flour and fried in the shape of a basket. The starter was nice, but a little greasy and I wasn’t a massive fan of the pork ribs. It was also incredibly filling, we could have shared this between four people, therefore, I’m inclined to say that on my next visit I might try out one of the recommended soups instead.

D went with one of the recommendations given to me, which was one of the Thai Salads, specifically the steak salad (Nam Tok Neua) which we were pre-warned came with coriander. D is a lover not a hater of coriander so this sounded like the perfect dish to him.

Steak Salad 

He wasn’t expecting the steak to be served cold, he also wasn’t expecting that much coriander! I helped D out a little with his massive portion of steak salad, it had a bit of a kick to it from the chilli and I did, honestly, find the coriander a little overbearing.

Another local food blogger had recommended a side dish of Pad Broccoli, pan fried broccoli with oyster sauce. It sounded unassuming but I was told that it was one of the best broccoli dishes I would ever eat. With that accolade behind it, how could I not order a plate?

Stir Fried Broccoli 

They were not wrong, it was truly one of the best broccoli dishes I have ever eaten. I hid from the chap that it was cooked in oyster sauce as I knew he would presume this would mean it would have a fishy taste and therefore he wouldn’t like it. It didn’t and he did like it (I don’t think he reads these any more so my antics will forever be a secret between me and you, my readers – unless you dob me in).
rice in a bag

For my main I ordered Khao Niao & Moo Yang, marinated grilled pork on skewers served with steamed sticky rice.

Pork Skewers 

I didn’t expect my rice to be served to me in a bag inside a bamboo pot. Had they just microwaved it? Was it a boil in the bag rice? Is this the traditional way to serve sticky rice? It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either, the edges were hard to chew and it didn’t compare to the rice I’ve had at their competitor My Thai.

The skewers were good, D thought so too, but I felt a little disappointed that they weren’t a little more exciting. I should have probably have taken some more of that advice than being stubborn in wanting to find my own little pot of gold.

Thai Aroy Dee attracts a wind range of customers, for example the table behind us was a large table of students who appeared to have brought their own booze (although you can buy booze at Thai Aroy Dee now too), there was a couple beside us who were falling out, a family with young children, a mother and son pairing and a business man (on a Saturday!?) sat on his own.

I would go again, but if I do, please can you give me some more recommendations and I promise to listen to them this time!!

No comments: