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Be Thai in Acton High Street

49 High Street, W3 6LG
(020) 8993 0838

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Saturday night on Acton High Street. The rain poured down onto the spanking new pavement underneath Acton's most notoriously ugly edifice, next to the Bingo Hall. The bouncers were out - looking impressive with their bald heads and long black coats - in front of the Tune Inn which is next to Be Thai.  

Be Thai looks a little worrying - the net curtain draped across the window looks rather cheap. The decor and furnishings inside are somewhat utilitarian. You can't really see any evidence of interior design, but the sparsely arranged tables with their plastic table cloths are clean and there are is some (probably) plastic greenery strategically placed to break up the space. Candles on the tables would definitely help to give this place a little cosiness.

Two other tables were occupied - one by a family with a new digital camera which supplemented the lighting by flashing every 30 seconds or so. This didn't discourage us from ordering Mu Yang - pork marinated with honey, Thai herbs and spices (well cooked - came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce - quite nice). We also had Thai Fish Cake which arrived with a crushed peanut, cucumber and tomato sauce. The cakes themselves were slightly rubbery but tasted good, the sauce was a rewarding mixture of fresh flavours.  

We then progressed to Pla Suda (white fish topped with shredded ginger, yellow bean sauce and fresh chillies). This tasted quite peppery. The fish was a bit nondescript. It was described in the menu as steamed Pangasius which is not a fish I have ever met before. Sounds a bit like a Moliere character. Prawn Panga was billed as red curry sauce, light cream garnished with kaffir lime leaves. This was quite fiery hot with a very peanutty sauce. It was quite a heavy dish and the prawns rather dry and a bit overwhelmed by the sauce.  

Stir fried vegetables with cashew nuts (note the nutty theme) were very good. We also consumed two portions of steamed jasmine rice. This was all washed down by a couple of bottles of our own San Miguel lager which had been nicely shaken up by the walk down to the High Street and made quite a mess over the table, swiftly cleaned up by the attentive waitress. Be Thai charges 50p corkage for beer (you get a chilled glass for your money) and £2 for a bottle of wine.  

The bill arrived with a beautifully prepared and delicious half orange which was just what we felt like after so many nuts. All this came to £30 (cash only - no cheques or plastic) which fed two fairly hungry people more than adequately.  

On the way out, we couldn't resist having a discussion with the bouncers outside the Tune Inn which is a new disco bar. In the interests of curious visitors to Actonw3.com we asked whether the bar was aimed at anyone in particular. We were told by the very friendly Eastern European bouncers that they really liked old people like us because we cause so little trouble, but they like anyone - young, old, all ages. No sexual proclivities mentioned. They apparently play all sorts of music - they told us it wasn't all "house" music but I'm so old and deaf I couldn't hear anything so it could have been Kylie or that great Acton band the Who - I can't say.  

Be Thai is exceptionally good value - it's a bit on the dowdy side and lacking in atmosphere. The food was fine, although I would love to find a Thai restaurant in Acton which serves Thai sticky rice. If I was opening a restaurant, Thai or anything else, I would only offer about four really freshly cooked main courses and a few starters, especially if I was cooking for around 10 people. But then I'm not running a restaurant which is probably lucky for me and everyone else. So if you're hungry and want a very reasonably priced Thai meal, head for the Bingo Hall and bear West.

Clare Gittins

January 22, 2007