The vibrant flavours and savoury smells of Bangkok’s Yaowarat Road have been transported to London’s Soho neighbourhood courtesy of the soon-to-open Speedboat Bar. The new venue (scheduled to open in October 2022, with bookings open from 16 September) is the second Thai restaurant from chef Luke Farrell and it promises to be just as, if not more, popular than his Thai canteen Plaza Khao Gaeng in London’s Piccadilly.
Yaowarat Road is the iconic, neon-lit street in Bangkok’s Chinatown, known for its narrow streets, colourful old shop fronts and varied street food offerings. Farell has aimed to recreate the energy and tastes of the area through a menu of rich curries, stir-fries, drunken noodle dishes and zesty seafood salads flavoured with acid and chilli, all served alongside whisky sodas and sharing towers of ice-cold Singha beer.
Menu items include complex and delicious dishes like ash melon and aubergine curry, refreshing chicken matches with green mango kerabu salad, and stem greens and chestnut mushrooms stir-fry with soy bean sauce. Mains are served with an accompaniment of rice noodles sourced from the historic local London trader Lo’s Noodle Factory, flavoured with seafood, chillies, jungle herbs and Thai basil and brought out to the table sizzling.
To ensure high-impact flavour, all the dishes are cooked with herbs grown at Farrell’s custom-built greenhouses at the Ryewater Nursery in Dorset. By making it possible to source lemongrass, galangal, citrus and basils relatively locally, the restaurant ensures that there is no compromise in the freshness of every dish.
The acuity of the main courses extends to the dessert and drinks menu as well. Desserts such as pineapple pie, Farell’s interpretation of the popular sweet treat found in 7-Elevens around Thailand, are served alongside purple taro ice cream. Cocktails – making the location an intriguing stop among London cocktail bars – include innovative blends such as Start Your Engines, a sweet coffee and coconut spirit with coconut foam; and Drunken Fruit, with green mango tequila served with a side shot of pickled fruit.
For something more bitter, try a Snakeblood Negroni, which blends yaa dong (a medicinal blend of roots and barks sourced from Thailand) with citrus, vermouth, Campari and bitter gourd.
Speedboat will be open for lunch and dinner, but we’re particularly intrigued by its planned late-night bar with a 'floating boat cave,’ pool table, Thai pop and traditional mor lam soundtrack and a closing time of 1am.
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Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.
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