Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Janetira Thai, Brewer Street

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. 

Janetira Thai

28 Brewer Street
London W1F 0SR

Janetira on Urbanspoon


Mr Noodles said...

That Khao Soi chicken curry noodle is so good I nearly came out of blog retirement!

Frank said...

Mr Noodles endorsement sounds good enough for me. That Mackerel curry sounds like a real challenge (in a good way!)

Great blog post

SerenaIntoTheFWorld said...

I am going on Wednesday after seeing your positive tweets Lizzie...now I know what i want to try- fish curry may be too much for me but those noodles and fish balls look lush. Thanks for the post!

Insatiable Eater said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't handle the mackerel curry. We went with a Thai friend who said it was so good, she was going to take her mum! I think they've got a great niche and hope they do really well. Lovely people too.

J@Feasttotheworld said...

Love this place and love that Mackeral curry! It's hot isn't it? I have yet to try that pink noodles but it's next on my hit list.

So glad that a Thai restaurant in central London is finally brave enough to serve something different and authentic rather than catering to the mass oversaturated 'Pad thai and Green curry' market. I teally hope people will go and support them.

Good post! :)

Hollow Legs said...

Mr Noodles - I thought you might like them... so delicious.

Frank - And he knows his noodles! Thank you.

Serena - How was it, did you enjoy?

Insatiable Eater - The curry was seriously full-on, but I admire their bravery... and anyone's who orders it. Glad they changed their menu!

J - yes! Do try it, it's really great.

Anonymous said...

I went last night and I was so disappointed. Overcooked rice, flavourless green papaya salad. We ordered the chicken noodles as per all the rave reviews. They were £8.50 but a few bits of red onion, a couple of pickles and only ONE chicken drumstick, not even a thigh. We were sharing our dishes so I complained and was met with totally unapologetic answer of "no that's how we always serve it".

Lizzie, in your review it talks of 'pieces of chicken'?The other waitress was very sweet and said, "yes, we've had complaints before. I'll tell the manager again" but then there was no offer to take it off the bill, even after I raised the issue. The manager then left the sweet waitress to settle the bill with us. Really poor service. How easy is it for someone to the one thing we were happy with off the bill? Sadly won't be going back.