Bites: Thai delights

Caroline Stacey suggests a few more tempting Thai restaurants
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Esarn Kheaw

Don't go here if you're after a mild interpretation of Thai; the green papaya salad with lime juice will blow your head off (in the best possible way). Larb - minced pork, here called laap - is one of the region's best-known dishes and here you'll find a version that's generous with the chilli, lime juice and mint, giving a hot and refreshing kick to the meat. Spicy duck is another speciality and there are some good vegetable options that use proper fresh ingredients, not substitutes from the deep-frozen catering pack. £15-£20 all in.

314 Uxbridge Road, London W12 (020-8743 8930). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat and Sun dinner.

Nahm

Chef David Thompson is a deity among Thai cooks and at Nahm he raises the cuisine to a level previously unseen in this country. Sadly, princely sums are required: main courses are around £20, soups and salads about £10 each; some desserts reach double figures, too. Cheaper lunches available, at £18 to £25, but for the lowest price you get just a phad thai and sticky rice with mango dessert. The place may not look thrilling, but anyone who loves Thai food should try it.

The Halkin Hotel, 5 Halkin Street, London SW1 (020-7333 1234). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner.

Pacific

Pacific is a stunning-looking white-on-white, two-in-one restaurant in Manchester's Chinatown - Thai on the top floor, Chinese on the first - where you can't sit eat from two cuisines at the same table. As is often the case, the Thai head chef is a woman. Her kitchen turns out a seemingly endless line-up of everything from the usual stir-fries to steamed whole sea bass. As a main course you choose your prime ingredient from a selection including halibut, squid, chicken and duck, and match it with one of more than a dozen sauces grouped into heat ratings. The result is keenly flavoured dishes served in a smart and modish setting. From around £20.

58-60 George Street, Manchester (0161 2286668). Daily lunch and dinner.

Thai Fountain

Venerable by the standards of Thai restaurants in Glasgow, for almost a decade the Thai Fountain has been tinkling with the sound of chopsticks on china. Although the chef is from Chiang Mai, the cooking looks to the south, where the Malaysian influence is felt in red curries that are fractionally less hot than those in the north. All the hits are here, well rendered and elaborately presented, with names ranging from the prosaic (spicy Thai thick curry) to the authentic (pep makhan - grilled duck with tamarind sauce) to the phantastic (squid Phantom). Prices are on the higher side for Thai: from £20 for food, set menus from £24 a head for two.

2 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow (0141 3321599). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner.

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