Based in Spinningfields you would be forgiven for assuming Thaikhun would offer the same luxury as Chaophraya thanks to its neighbours Fazenda and Iberica. Thankfully the style is completely different. Serving Thai street food the interior of Thaikhun is much more rustic with bright colours, Thai artefacts on the walls and the smell of the open kitchen wafting throughout. It is welcoming to say the least and the staff are exactly the same.
Not wanting to move completely away from a comparison of flavours we grabbed some Thai Crackers which were just as good with a sweet chilli dip that I refused to let our server remove from the table for the duration of the meal.
And obviously a cocktail was needed. I enjoyed the Full Moon with Absolut vodka, orange liqueur, watermelon, cranberry and apple with a dash of Midori all garnished with Flying Saucers sweets skewered on a stick. I am easily pleased and happily popped the sweets to one side to enjoy after my food. The drink was sweet and fruity with a freshness from the watermelon that I miss in other sweet and fruity drinks. My friend wasn’t as keen on the Thai Iced Tea and had been expecting something a little lighter. What arrived was a milky drink topped with cream that would have worked a lot better after our meal. It was a little too heavy to drink with food and the tea flavours were drowned by the heavy cream although we were told this is what is enjoyed on the streets of Thailand so who am I to argue?
For starters we decided we couldn’t choose so opted for the Bangkok Street Platter. I love a platter like this where you get to try a bit of lots of different dishes and it also means that if a member of your party doesn’t like something they don’t have to feel like they have missed out and can just try something else. The Thai Prawn Toast was incredible with crunchy slices of toast topped with a generous layer of prawn before being deep fried. They were full of flavour and there was no scrimping on topping. The Chicken Satay were paired with a creamy and crunchy peanut sauce and the Red Curried Corn Cakes had a good kick of spice, a crispy coating and were packed with sweet corn kernels for that bit more depth of flavour. My favourite item on the platter was the Prawn and Pork Dumplings that were also generously filled with a soft outer shell. I am drooling just thinking about them.
Onto mains and once again we struggled to choose so decided to go for a Pinto to share. It arrived at the table like this, lots of little tubs held together with a handle that apparently Thai children take to school and share. I love this idea of community that they have and that sharing is the way to go.
Your Pinto includes a choice of three main dishes and a side of rice. We chose a curry dish, a noodle dish and a stir fry so we had a broad selection of what Thaikhun has to offer. We chose the Chicken Massaman so we could compare against the Chaophraya version. I actually preferred Chaophraya but that’s mainly due to the spice levels. I am not a huge spice lover and this one was a lot spicier although still really tasty. The Beef with Chilli and Thai Basil (Nua Phad Kra Prao) was even spicier and a tad too much for me but my friend adored it and actually stole the bowl before I could declare it too spicy for me. The beef was tender though and, although spicy, full of fragrant flavours.
Totally full but with eyes on what else this little gem had to offer we chose some desserts. I had my eyes on a chocolate feast and tried the Chocolate Fondant with coconut ice cream. The fondant had the soft centre just as it is supposed to and the outer shell was rich and dense. My friend chose the Waffle with Green Tea ice cream which he wasn’t keen on but I loved, I am a fan of different styles of ice cream and this one took a little sweetness from the waffle.
I wanted to have a winner between the two Thai restaurants with them being the biggest Thai players in Manchester at the moment. I don’t think it would be fair though as the restaurants are so different, they both have a place for different occasions and different times. It isn’t often that I get dressed up to go into the City so I think Thaikhun is likely to be somewhere I visit more often, that and I need that sharing platter back in my life.
I was invited to dine at Thaikhun as a guest and was not asked to pay for my meal.