Tem Ban at The Lido Café

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Address: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA

Phone: 0207 737 8183/07969 534 218

Email: info@thelidocafe.co.uk

http://www.tembanthai.co.uk/

Pop-ups keep appearing, with many not living up to the hype, but this one sounded too interesting not to try.  A reported connection to trendy Smoking Goat made it a must try. The first thing we need to tell all our readers is to book, as on our visit every table was full. While the run of this pop-up has been extended, it’s only open in the evening on Thursdays and Fridays (and possibly Saturdays) until 5th March.

You can find a description of the normally daytime only Lido Café here. There was little change with the pop-up, although we did think it looked smarter with the fairy lights.  The menu, which is on the website, isn’t too taxing, although there are specials as well as the list. It comes as small or large plates. For small plates we chose the deep fried grey mullet & star fruit salad and the nam prik pao (Deep fried shredded pigs’ ears & puffed pig skin served with burnt sour red chilli sauce). Well who can resist a shredded pig’s ear. From the large plates we chose hang lae, (Chang Mai curry of pork belly, served with ginger & peanuts) which came with yellow sticky rice and a khao soi gai (free range chicken, curried noodles served with crispy noodles). We ordered a side of stir fried morning glory with oyster mushrooms and yellow beans.

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We were a bit disappointed with the pig’s ear, as some of the crispy skin was pretty chewy, but the mullet and salad was fantastic. For the mains we thought both dishes were intricate and delicately flavoured (although I did need a tissue for the runny nose). We could have done without the side dish which was disappointing and didn’t stand up to the flavours in the other dishes, although was a bit of a relaxation from the chilli.

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We ended the meal with a dessert of sticky coconut rice and mango. We were warned we could share and that would definitely be our advice. It is a large heap of carbohydrate and the sweetest mango with coconut milk sauce  – delicious but if you want to stay in the same waist size, don’t order two.

We turned down cocktails (e.g. Watermelon Bellini and Tamarind Whiskey Sour) in favour of a glass of Salantino red wine and glasses of tap water (after failing dry January one of us is attempting Free-from-February). Service was fine and, while a bit slow, this suited us as we were looking for a relaxing  occasion. The only problem was that the dishes came from the kitchen in no particular order and so dinner for two meant one person watching while the other ate. They probably need more help in the kitchen, so that dishes come out in twos and threes and not one at a time. Pop-ups are inevitably work in progress and we are sure things will improve with practice.

The whole meal cost £56.05 including service but if you want to try this pop-up you’ll need to move fast.

 

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