Tamnag Thai is the Grand Madame of the Crystal Palace culinary scene and SE19's secret weapon in the London food wars.
This ivy-coated restaurant has dominated the food scene on Westow Hill for nearly 20 years. Inside the decor is bright, clean and filled with the typical teak trappings of a Thai restaurant, but prepare to be dazzled by the tropical sea of cocktail-coloured parasols which cover the ceiling. Outside there's a tiny alfresco courtyard sparkling with fairy lights offering the perfect romantic spot on a balmy summer’s eve. The spiral staircase in the centre of the restaurant leads you to the facilities, making short skirts and large cocktails inadvisable.
Famed in South London and envied by its Dulwich neighbours, Tamnag Thai is gratifyingly full most nights, much to the despair of its overworked staff. The weekends are filled with the pop-fizz of celebrations: proposals, anniversaries and those who've filed their taxes on time. It's more of a smart chinos than trendy jeans sort of place and is popular with visiting parents of the swathes of young professionals who live in the area. The staff hip-swing around the tables with sizzling plates of fragrant fare, get them in the right mood and they are friendly and attentive, but on an off day, tip well and hide.
Tamnag Thai has maintained its decades of success by cooking impeccably good Thai cuisine, consistently. The vast menu caters well for vegetarians without any loss of invention or flavour. The very reasonably priced green curry with chicken positively explodes with flavour and is rarely beaten in quality. All the dishes are beautifully presented on large white platters adorned with artistically fashioned radishes and other root sculptures.
There's the usual selection of Thai beers on ice, and a well-considered, if not a little traditional, cocktail menu. The wine list is reasonable and works well with the wide range of tastes Tamnag Thai has to offer.
The Last Word
For exceptional Thai food in a colourful setting, Tamnag Thai proves to be real treat and well worth trekking to Zone 4 for. Recommended.