Janetira Thai has been around for over a year now but I never really took much notice of them until I saw some interesting dishes on their Instagram feed. A new menu was being launched, and not the bog-standard Thai food you often get. There was noodle soups and starters I'd not seen elsewhere, so I took advantage of their 30% off introductory offer and went down there for lunch.
The room is functional. Sleek wooden tables, wooden benches, a row facing the street; nothing to write home about. The menu is split into one dish meals and 'multicourse', the former consisting of noodle soups, stir-fried noodles and rice dishes, more suited to lunchtimes one-plate meals, the latter to evenings or sharing with friends. The pink fishball noodle soup was, as promised, very pink. Bouncy fish balls were within, along with wide rice noodles, a few green shoots and a sheet of deep fried wonton skin, slowly becoming floppy in the soup. The crisp / soft texture contrast was very pleasing, and the broth light but tangy, a hint of fried garlic about it. Upon pressing our waitress as to what made it so pink, we were told red fermented beancurd was the culprit.
At completely the other end of the spectrum, the Khao Soi chicken curry noodles (pictured top too) was a ballsy bowlful. Served with a dish of chopped red onion, a wedge of lime and some pickled vegetables to add in at your leisure, the curry sauce was richly flavoured. Pieces of chicken on the bone were nestled within the springy noodles, and again a good texture contrast with the crunch of the deep fried noodle shreds on top. I loved this dish.
We returned mere days later.
Fried chicken from the multi-course menu was crisp, gooey in places, sticky sweet but well balanced with savoury.
Fried eggs in tamarind sauce suffered a little from the dreaded grey yolk ring, but had a crisp exterior due to being deep fried, and were smothered in the tart tamarind sauce, a few fried shallots to decorate. Perfect snacking food.
Fermented fish guts are used to flavour this mackerel and pickled bamboo shoots curry, which certainly isn't for the faint-hearted but very authentically Thai. The stuff absolutely honks. When my friend ordered it, he was warned that is was very hot, and he ploughed on regardless. By the end of the meal his nose was running, his brow sweating, but he claimed to like it. I had a bite and sputtered as I felt my face go aflame.
I had the five spice pork and offal noodle soup. The broth is sweet, heady with the scent of anise and cinnamon. Slices of roast pork are accompanied with offally bits; I spotted liver and perhaps intestine? Something chewy. It was a riot of textures; some soft, some not. Flappy, short rice noodle rolls bulked the dish out, while some dried tofu slices soaked up the broth well. Again, I really enjoyed this.
With other curries and stir-fried dishes on the menu, I can see myself going back regularly. When we paid the bill, the lady serving us told us that when they first opened they made the kind of Thai food they thought people in England would like. A year later, business was doing badly; they decided to try out new dishes, dishes they made at home and for staff suppers; everyone loved them, thus a new menu was born. The story warmed me. At around £18 a head for a starters, a main and drinks, it's great value and as far as I know, a lot of the dishes are unique for Central London.
28 Brewer Street
London W1F 0SR