As a North London ‘intellectual’ (read: pretentious quasi-alcoholic) trips south of the river are only undertaken under extraordinary circumstances (read: someone has heard of a bar where all of the drinks are served by trained badgers), however soon after arriving at Putney Bridge’s Thai Square, a long thin building that resembles a modernist drawing of a ship overlooking the riverside, I couldn’t help felt right at home, even though there wasn’t an animal serving drinks to be found.
My friend and I decided to begin by undertaking a thorough investigation of the cocktail menu, which was a veritable minefield of drinks served in everything from impassive tikka heads (perhaps the Easter Island monuments were just shot glasses for a race of prehistoric giants?), to teapots (drinking through the spout is invigorating if undignified) and a glasses that seem to have been woven together from resin coated grass (it’s that kind of establishment). All of this would of course be excessive and kitsch if the concoctions within didn’t kick like mules. Thankfully our drinks menu was a veritable game of Buckeroo as I began with One Night In Bangkok (the aforementioned tea pot) which managed to be both as refreshing as a glass of mint tea with a wicked whisky aftertaste lurking like an alligator just beneath the surface and my friend elected for a Watermelon Mojito out of curiosity, the resulting drink was a practically luminous Corbynite red, but went down pleasingly/alarmingly quickly.
Moving onto the food we decided to go with the aquatic theme of the restaurant and tucked into the Grilled Wild Tiger Prawns, delicately arranged, they looked positively extra-terrestrial on the plate due to their positively behemoth size, however they were as tender as they were gigantic and if anything our only complaint would be we could have done with more of them. My friend sprang for the Duck Salad, which had some nearly heartbreakingly flavourful chargrilled sliced duck breast with a side of zesty longan fruit. Whilst the tiger prawns were great, if you have to pick between the two I have to say with some regret that my friends instincts were better than mine and the Duck Salad is not to be missed.
For our mains we elected for Surf and Turf, not the most auspiciously named choice on the menu admittedly, but this groaningly stacked £95.00 platter (whilst my friend and I scarfed it jealously, it could easily be shared by a trio of friends which would make more economic sense) had nothing in common with fish and chips. The platter consists of a Whole Lobster salad, Miso black cod (which was regrettably out of stock during our visit so it was substituted with the Steamed Seabass Fillet, which zingy infusion of Lemongrass, lime, spring onion and chilli left my friend delighted but I was somewhat less impressed) , Scallops, Lamb chops and Beef ribs. £95.00 is notably expensive but you can’t say that Thai Square don’t pull out all the stops, both in terms of quantity and quality. The lamb chops might, hand on heart (and with apologies to my mother) be the best I’ve ever tasted and the lobster salad (which features the posed exoskeleton of the sea creature squatting atop the bowl like a bird of ill omen) was practically inhaled. The beef ribs were perhaps the weakest part of the ensemble but taken by themselves without the competition would have had nothing to worry about on the flavour scale.
By this point the possibility of bursting had become ominously real, but being professionals we pushed on recklessly with desert (and they say there are no more heroes!) My friend elected for a Lychee Mousse which whilst sounding bizarre actually was so moreish that he ended up being tempted to order a second whilst I stuck it out with some more traditional topper of chocolate which did the job more than serviceably. Once the staff had rolled us out, I found myself reflecting that if all the food south of the river tastes like that, I might have picked the wrong side.