A tiny little place in Brixton Village offering a range of authentic Thai dishes in a bustling, lively atmosphere.
Benches line one side of this small venue, and tables line the other; the maximum amount of seating is squeezed in and still people are likely to be queuing outside. There isn’t a lot to say on the décor – focus here is on the food and the number of people they can get through the door – but think natural wood and views of the kitchen, with large windows to the front and sides.
Bustling and packed throughout the week, the atmosphere is one of lively chatter, probably talking of the delicious smells wafting through from the kitchen. This is not a place to take time over a relaxing meal – even if you have a booking, your food will be rushed to you, with your last bite signalling the bill, even though you haven't asked for it. However, you can forgive KaoSarn for this – it’s a small business that needs a high turnover to make staying open worthwhile, and the food makes up for any downfalls on the service side of things.
A concise but enticing menu consists of flavour-filled, fragrant dishes that are sure to impress. Starters include poh pia tod (£3.90), crispy vegetable spring rolls with vermicelli noodles and sweet chilli sauce; moo ping (£4.90), impossibly tender skewered pork marinated with palm sugar and spice; and geaw tod (£3.90) – crispy fried filo pastry filled with prawns and chicken, and served with a sweet chilli sauce and ground roast peanuts.
The salads are also enticing – the traditional Thai favourite som tum Thai (£4.90) is a hot and sour green papaya salad with chilli, tomatoes, green beans, ground, dried shrimps and roasted peanuts. As for mains, the classic pad Thai (£6.90 with prawn or chicken) doesn’t disappoint, and gang kua sapparod goong (£6.90) is a bowl of juicy king prawns in a mouthwatering red curry sauce with fresh pineapple, bursting cherry tomatoes, kaffir and sweet basil leaves, served with sticky white rice on the side – absolutely heavenly.
A very small list of soft drinks and teas is offered, but KaoSarn is a bring-your-own spot, so grab a bottle or three and the staff will provide the glasses.
The Last Word
A busy restaurant serving exemplary Thai food at ridiculously low prices, this place is well worth seeking out.