The Siam Food Gallery is a Thai restaurant in Esher, Surrey, which is relatively extolled by the locals.

Service and décor at Siam Food Gallery

The establishment is somewhat of a TARDIS, with an outside area I assume is opened up in the summer, more tables around the back and some facilities upstairs. This layout adds some quirkiness to Siam Food Gallery which is always appreciated. There’s some random Thai style decorations on the walls, although generally the décor feels a little tired. However, each table has a little pull out for wine coolers and other paraphernalia which is an incredibly well thought out addition to any hostelry.

Service wise, as you’d expect, culturally, it is attentive and expedient. There was an error in our order; a random chicken dish instead of chilli duck arrived absent any sticky rice. The measure of a hostelry is how they deal with these situations; it is inevitable in a service setting they will happen. Siam Food Gallery dealt with it quickly and highly satisfactorily, which to me means their “score” is unaffected by it.

Singha on draft is a rare treat and appreciated, it was cold and well kept. However, there were a couple of little niggles. The time between seating and ordering a drink was a little excessive, a situation compounded by prawn crackers not being thrown in for each cover. I freely admit that the overall bill the £2 ish charge for them was reasonable in the round and that you don’t get poppadums for free in most Indians as a comparator, but it just, to me, adds a little soupcon of “skinflint” to the experience. Finally, when the bill arrives, there’s large bold letters at the end saying “Service not included” as well as the same message sellotaped to the inside of the wallet it arrives in – this is a personal irritant as I feel people should be left, on their own recognisance, to figure this out for themselves. That said, their need to push the issue may just be a damning indictment of the residents of Esher more than anything regarding the staff at Siam Food Gallery; though if the former, you’d also expect them to offer a tip via the credit card machine which they did not.

Food at Siam Food Gallery

Notwithstanding my little rant above about the prawn crackers, these were of the Thai spicy variety, plentiful in a portion and with just the right amount of dipping sauce. We opted to have the sharing platter, which, if I am honest, felt a little stingy in portion size for £9 a head. I started with the “wonton” and the chicken satay skewer, both of which I would rate as just mediocre. However, just as I thought things were going to go wrong on this evening, I bit into the duck spring roll, which is quite possibly one of the best examples of this dish I have ever experienced. Likewise the fishcake was excellent as was the dumpling.

In terms of main course, I had the chilli duck, which was flavourful and well spiced, though I would’ve preferred the skin on the duck to be crispy. Friend had the prawn Pangang curry which was absolutely excellent and went well with the good sticky rice and the flatbread on the side. I augmented mine with a prawn Pad Thai, which was well executed, but I felt for the price, the portion should have, perhaps, been more indulgent.

Conclusion

In the round, £95 excluding tip for 2 courses with a couple of beers and a carafe of wine in Esher is about right, despite my protestations above about how that figure is arrived at. There are some excellent qualities about the Siam Food Gallery and it is clearly a popular establishment; so much so I think part of the service issues I mention could be simply fixed by the Siam Food Gallery aiming for a slightly less aggressive table turn each night. Overall, it was a perfectly satisfactory experience, albeit one arrived at by virtue of average as opposed to outright consistency.

There’s a new, more modern themed Thai restaurant opened a couple hundred yards down the road I have yet to visit, but equally would I turn left out of my house and go to Esher for the Siam Food Gallery, or turn right and go to the equidistant Nay Thai in Surbiton? The answer, all considered, unfortunately, is the latter.

The Essentials
Restaurant NameSiam Food Gallery
VisitedJanuary 2016
Price Range£50 a head, two courses with drinks and service.
Websitehttp://www.siamfoodgallery.co.uk/
Phone01372 477139
Twitter@SiamFoodGallery
Address95 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QE
Siam Food Gallery
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