Ardleigh and Dragon Thai Restaurant

A little while ago, hubby and I visited a local Thai restaurant with my sister and brother-in-law. Hubby was concerned, as he knows that Thai food uses a lot of coconut in its dishes – and he despises coconut with a passion! But the place came highly recommended, and I said that I was sure there would be something without coconut in for him to try! And since neither of us had tried Thai food before, it was a nice opportunity to do so.

The Ardleigh and Dragon used to be a traditional British pub, but somewhere along the line, it changed hands and is now a Thai restaurant. There is a big bar area and beer garden, where you can order food, as well as a restaurant that you can sit down in instead. The bar prices for the food are slightly cheaper. They also offer a take-away service too! So it’s good to know that we now have a local Thai food place. The Ardleigh and Dragon is in Ardleigh Green Road in Hornchurch. And it’s not just Thai food on offer, there is also a selection of English pub favourites.

Between the four of us, we shared a couple of starter platters…

Tiger Platter

Grilled tiger prawns, chicken satay, salt and pepper squid, vegetable spring rolls and Thai fish cakes. Served with sweet chilli sauce and satay sauce for dipping.

Orchid Platter (v)

Vegetable spring rolls, crispy tempura vegetables, sweetcorn fritters and crispy vegetable money bags. Served with sweet chilli sauce and satay sauce for dipping.

Everything looked very pretty on the plates, and the food was hot and tasty. I especially liked the salt and pepper squid ^_^ The cost of these dishes were £7.95 and £7.15 respectively. (Correct at time of blogging!) From what I remember the satay sauce had a spicy kick to it, and there was just enough on the plate for a starter for two to share.

Hubby went for a safe sounding main dish of Sing Chow Mai, I had a very delicious Kaeng Massaman Kae curry, sis had a Pad Thai Gai, and bro-in-law ordered Pad Taohoo Phrik Sod. All very exotic sounding! And since I decided to try a bite of everyone’s dishes (for blogging purposes, natch!), I can say that they were all very tasty indeed!

Sing Chow Mai

Rice vermicelli noodles stir-fried with chicken, BBQ pork, tiger prawns, curry spices, sesame oil and bean sprouts.

Hubby’s verdict? “Very nice” he said. I am hoping next time he’ll be a bit more adventurous (like he usually is with food!) Cost…£5.15 (Correct at time of blogging!) Just a regular, run of the meal noodle dish in my opinion, but with a Thai twist with the curry flavourings. A good starting point if you’re new to Thai food!

Pad Thai Gai

Rice noodles stir-fried with turnip, egg and bean sprouts in a tamarind sauce. Garnished with ground peanuts and lime. A choice of chicken, tiger prawns or vegetables.

This is my sister’s go-to Thai dish (she said), and probably the only dish I had ever really heard of when it comes to Thai food! A very pretty omelette ‘basket’ on top which encased the noodles and other goodies. Flavourful, but again, a safe option if you’ve never tried Thai food (in my opinion!) This was £4.75. (Correct at time of blogging!)

Pad Taohoo Phrik Sod(v)

Stir-fried crispy bean curd with ginger, Thai red chillies, spring onions and sweet Thai basil.

Bro-in-law had the most adventurous (I think) meal out of all of us, with this bean curd dish. Really hot and spicy, and very, VERY tasty! I kinda wish I had ordered this myself, that’s not to say that my curry wasn’t very nice, it was, but this was such a different taste and texture, and I will order this next time we go! His dish was £4.75. (Correct at time of blogging!)

Kaeng Massaman Kae

A mild lamb curry from the Muslim influenced southern region of Thailand. Flavoured with coconut milk, star anise, cinnamon and peanuts. Garnished with diced potato, crisp shallots and ground peanuts.

My curry was lamb. Not my first choice for a curry, I usually have chicken, but the coconut sauce was deliciously creamy, and there was a nice crunch from the peanuts on the top. You could also choose to have potato and pumpkin if you are a vegetarian, which I think sounds yummy. There was a generous serving in a bowl, with a rice timable on the side which looked ever so pretty! For this dish I paid £6.35. (Correct at time of blogging!)

I have to say that our first foray into Thai cuisine, was an enjoyable one. The service was swift, and because you order at the bar, it is easy enough to split a bill between you all. We visited late Sunday lunchtime, and it was fairly quiet, but my sister reliably informs me that it gets super busy in there – not surprising as the service is friendly and the food is good.

If you’re in the area, and fancy something a little bit different, head for The Ardleigh & Dragon!