Chai Yo Thai – Nottingham – Not keeping up with the competition

Tucked away in an alley off Parliament Street next to Alea Casino, Chai Yo Thai, I have heard described as a hidden gem. It has pretty good reviews on trip advisor. Hidden it certainly is, as you descend into a basement filled with a collection of objects, planets and ornaments. The busy layout led me to suggest that it should be featured on one of the, for some reason currently fashionable, hoarder reality programmes.

Chai Yo Thai

Chai Yo Thai

As a good barometer we chose the mixed starter to share, it included; marinated chicken, spring rolls, fish cakes, pork & prawn toast and chicken wings. Sauces were good and worked nicely with chicken and spring rolls. Unfortunately that’s how as good as it got. Chicken wings were an odd addition; a crispy skin with a sticky sweet glaze didn’t really work and certainly didn’t scream Thai flavours. The fish cakes, of unknown provenance, were beige and lifeless. Although this was relatively tasty by comparison to the ‘toast’ with pork and prawn which was both soggy and greasy.

Mixed Platter

Mixed Platter

Things improved slightly with the main courses, my red curry carried good heat which was just on the right side of bearable. The chicken in it was ok, similarly to a mussaman where the potato was well cooked. However both suffered from being far to liquid, as a result there was a lack of depth in the sauce. The best element of the meal in fact turned out to be the fried rice, the grains having that texture of being skilfully cooked in a smoking wok.

Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry

They advertise traditional Thai but unfortunately my friend who had recently travelled in Thailand failed to spot a correlation. As a standalone experience this meal was disappointing, however with Nottingham other Thai restaurants it also doesn’t measure up. Tarn Thai has always delivered in a very nice setting, particularly the mixed starter being better as a direct comparison. Thailand No.1 is also up there competing with and whilst Chai Yo Thai is a price point below these but even that wouldn’t convince me to return in a hurry.

Overall 5/10

Food 5/10

Value 5/10

Service 8/10

Restaurant website: http://www.chaiyothai.co.uk/

Opening Times: Lunch: Thurs-Sat 1200-1430 Dinner: Mon-Sat 1800-2230

Date of my visit: May 2013