26 Mar Minn’s Munchtime – My Thai, Leeds
You might not think of Leeds as a burgeoning gastronomic city. However don’t be underestimating it! Take for example Kirkgate market, one of the largest indoor markets in Europe. With a range of food from Jenny’s Jerk Chicken to Mr Mackerel’s fresh kebabs and Punjabi dishes from Manjit’s Kitchen, you can sample delicious and cheap eats here. Most stalls close up around 5.30pm so I didn’t have the opportunity to check it out this time. Let me know if you have and what your standout meals were!
Speaking of recommendations, check out the Leeds List website – I searched ‘best cheap eats’ in Leeds and it came up with two recent articles with 20 restaurants-worth of options around the city. It was here that I found out about My Thai – winner of the British Restaurant Award (great acronym there…) for Best Restaurant in Leeds 2017. As their Merrion Centre location is less than ten minutes walk from Leeds Town Hall, going here for dinner was a no brainer.
On entering I was encouraged by the sound of chefs speaking Thai, like walking into a family kitchen with all the aunties and uncles helping out. This set a good precedent for their ‘As Thai As Possible’ mantra. Props go to My Thai’s marketing team, their tuktuk logo is stamped EVERYWHERE from staff t-shirts to napkins, note cards, on menus top and bottom and branded on the tables themselves! You sure won’t forget where you are. The menu has a good selection of traditional Thai dishes, with their Foodies menu (incidentally all below £8.50) showcasing specialities other than the notorious pad thai. Notable drinks on offer include Thai milk tea and green milk tea.
I was quickly seated and had my order taken, after which I had time to observe my surroundings more closely. I was sat facing a charming gallery wall with what looked like old family photos. The mixture of wedding pictures and sepia photos of men in formal uniform combined with the gently lyrical Thai background music, like the sort you might have on the kitchen radio. It really gave a nostalgic homey atmosphere, as they say of themselves, like ‘a Thai shack in the heart of Leeds’.
I opted for the Thai classic Kra Pow Moo Sub – spicy crispy pork with holy basil over rice with an additional fried egg for £1 extra. The first thing to do here is poke that egg yolk so it runs free, creating a rich golden sauce to cling onto the rice. The accompanying sound of sizzling from the open kitchen helps to whet the appetite! The holy basil was not as strongly fragrant as I’ve had before. It would have been nice to have an initial hit of fresh herb. The fatty yolk soothed the heat of both chilli flakes and fresh red chillies. I’ve been eating a bit spicier these days and this was just right for me! Green beans added a fantastic crunch – perfect for what is otherwise a very soft dish. These beans were on the right side of barely cooked, just delicately kissed by the wok. The pork was finely minced which blended well with the white rice. Perhaps it could have done with something sour, a vinegary punch or squeeze of lime to add dimension, but maybe with a stronger batch of holy basil that wouldn’t be necessary. This feels like an authentic family recipe, plus the deep, upturned shell-like bowl feeds you well.
I’d arrived at My Thai around 6pm and as you can see from my photos, it wasn’t too busy then. By half past the place was packed, all the tables were full and the takeaway queue was consistent. I was glad to see that they kept fast service with high quality food even at peak time. Make sure to take cash as they don’t take cards. My Thai is definitely successful at bringing a true Thai experience to Leeds. It’s like you’re at a friend’s kitchen on the weekend and their mum is cooking you lunch. Do check it out next time you’re in the area – you can’t go wrong with Thai comfort food and hospitality for under ten pounds!
Nearest venue: Leeds Town Hall
Total receipt: £11
1x Kra Pow Moo Sub 7.5
1x Fried Egg 1
1x Green Tea 2.5
Rating: 9/10 My Thai, Your Thai, Everyone’s Thai