A Vietnamese and Thai restaurant in Balham with an authentic menu and helpful staff.
You might mistake The Paddyfield in Balham for a basic, rustic restaurant in Vietnam – there’s nothing but tiles on the walls and what look likes cafeteria chairs and tables. Although the seats might be slightly uncomfortable, the owners of this small restaurant have done everything they can to make it feel like a true depiction of real south east Asia.
The Paddyfield is always busy and it’s not strange to find a queue leading out of the door up Bedford Hill, or to be told to come back for a table in 10 minutes when it looks like everyone is just tucking into their starters. If you do come back though, you’ll find a table has materialised out of nowhere – it might be tacked onto someone else’s, but it fits, and just adds to the friendly atmosphere of the restaurant. Staff are helpful and good with recommendations but despite the initial quick service the food takes a little longer to arrive – this is probably due to the small kitchen, few kitchen staff and the volume of customers.
The lack of speed is forgiven though as the food is delicious. Fresh vegetable spring rolls are complemented by sweet chilli sauce and the vegetables taste as fresh as if they’ve been picked that day. Pad Thai is perfectly cooked and is a good mixture of different textures, with crunchy bean sprouts and onions, soft, juicy chicken and aromatic. The yellow fish curry is rich in flavour with large chunks of fresh fish – order it coconut or jasmine rice, which add to the richness of the dish. The salty and sweet garlic and chilli tiger prawns and house beef salad are the healthier options but by no means less tasty. Main courses cost between £4 and £7 making it good value for money.
The Paddyfield is a BYO which helps keep the cost down. A corkage charge of £1 is more than reasonable.
The Last Word
You’ll leave The Paddyfield feeling satisfied and appreciated as a customer, and you will definitely return.