Karl Chads writes… Crouch End’s culinary landscape is a melting pot of mainstays (think Banners and The Meghna) and new kids on the block (Tootoomoo and Dirty Burger) but there’s one establishment that has long survived N8’s ever-shifting tectonic plates.
Nestled at the mouth of Crouch End Broadway’s join with Park Road sits O’s Thai Café, a local legend and indeed a destination restaurant. Next to its illustrious neighbour Florian’s (now in its second incarnation as the rebooted Florians 2), O’s Thai Café is one of those restaurants that feels as old as the neighbourhood.
O’s first opened its doors in 1997 and really hit stride in the early 2000’s, soon attracting diners from miles around due to its fresh Thai flavours and buzzy atmosphere.
Many a millennial will have had their first date in O’s, or in its spin-off bar O’s Bar (somewhat ingloriously located next to a petrol station on Park Road), and the restaurant soon became a firm favourite for families as well as courting couples.
My recent trip to O’s was a trip down memory lane, as my ‘00s early adulthood came flooding back. The restaurant did not disappoint.
Service was courteous and polite from the outset, not clingy, not standoff-ish… just right. O’s bills itself as a designer canteen, and that is an appropriate description; the ascetic tables and décor signal clean and cool.
Starters in the form of tord mun (Thai corn-cakes) served with sweet chilli sauce are a nice initiation into Thai cuisine, and pair perfectly with a glass of rose; the wine list is decent, but the rose seems to go well with everything on the menu, so it is a safe bet.
Tables around were making appreciative noises about the satay skewers (different meats and vegetable options are on offer)., and diving into the main course, the gaeng chu chee (red curry bean curds with rice) was as spicy as could be without overdoing it.
The procession of delivery drivers constantly entering and exiting the dining room was the only fly in the ointment, but hungry diners at home need to be catered for, too.
All in all, whether you are a seasoned aficionado of Thai cuisine, or just looking for fresh flavours with an energising ambience, O’s Thai Café should be one port of call on your culinary adventure.