Return to Spicylicious

I recently spent another weekend in Copenhagen, just after presenting at Øredev in Malmö. One of the restaurants I wanted to eat at on my return to Copenhagen was Spicylicious. Although it’s in a very dodgy part of town, on a street that is the complete opposite of the clean, well behaved citizens of the city, Spicylicious is worth the short trip away from the main train station.

Even though we’d booked a table for 9:15pm, the restaurant was heaving with locals. It’s the sort of place for dinner, especially on weekends you really want to book unless you aim for a very early meal. They specialise in pan-Asian cuisine although it’s probably a bit more accurate that it’s a combination between Vietnamese and Thai food. We tried two different appetisers, the Satay Gai (DKK70) and Kung Mapraow Tod (DKK70). Unfortunately both dishes were a little disappointing – the chicken a tad dry and the prawns not as crisp as they really should have been.

It doesn’t really matter because I wanted to come back here for the main event – the curries. We went for a fairly moderately spiced Panaeng Curry with chicken (DKK120) and a much spicier Green curry with guinea fowl (DKK130). We were both far too full from the food to try any of the desserts and very satisfied with the curries.

Name: Restaurant Spicylicious
Found at: Istedgade 27, Copenhagen, Denmark

Thai in Transit

Several people mentioned the popularity of the Thai food place called Transit. I remembered it when I walked past its foggy exterior one night, observing the large groups of people waiting inside. Rachel and I went in for a late lunch on a Saturday, to find it less busy and much easier to find a table.

Tables look like they could be communal, and I was thankful that it wasn’t as crazy busy as I’m sure trendy Vietnamese serving Monsieur Voung would be only a handful of streets away. The menu provided serves up small plates, and you decide what you’d want by marking them on a piece of paper, reminiscent of several London dim sum restaurants too small to have carts. I figured this would be a great way of trying several Thai dishes from what they had on offer. Thai, tapas style.

I think I ended up ordering three dishes as did Rachel, turning out to be slightly too much despite the assurance of our waitress who thought perhaps we’d eat much more. I really enjoyed the chicken satay – definitely recommended. Grilled and seasoned and slathered in a lovely peanut sauce who’s only fault was that it needed that much more of the kick. I’d skip the pork rice rolls next time. They reminded me of a stewed pork dish, rolled together in sticky rice reminiscent of a Chinese style sushi roll that didn’t quite work out.

Their green chicken curry also disappointed me. Perhaps I ended up where they’d definitely toned down the spices for the local market and it really needed much more heat. The fact they also served fried chicken instead of stewing chicken on top instead of in the curry where the flavours of both components should fuse together beautifully, it seemed a little.. uhn.

Our waitress proved friendly and seemed pretty good for the typical German service. I’d like to try a number of their other dishes yet there are many more places to try in the area.

Name: Transit
Found at: Rosenthaler Straße 68, 10119 (Mitte) Berlin, Germany

Birthday Meal at Patara

I celebrated my birthday when my folks were in town by helping them enjoy some delicious Thai food and one of my more favourite Thai places, Patara. I like Patara because it although it’s not quite as fancy as Nahm yet it’s much better quality than what you’ll find at any of the Thai Square branches or Thai restaurants found in any pubs.

I love how, when you walk into Patara, it feels like you are back in Thailand. Strong scents of lemongrass waft about you and the decor changes drastically from the cold and often gray surroundings of London to brightly coloured walls.

The great thing about dining as a family, Chinese style is ordering a whole heap of dishes to share. Here’s what we ended up ordering.

Satay Trio – A selection of chicken, beef and prawns delicately seasoned with a slightly spicy peanut dipping sauce. They impressed me with the attention to presentation detail with that perfect curl of coconut cream signed into the sauce.

Betel leaf wrapped prawn – I thought we’d ordered the beef wrapped in betel nut leaves, but they brought us a seafood version instead. Not bad but I wouldn’t order it again.

Thai fish and prawn cakes with cucumber salsa – Good Thai fishcakes are often hard to come by, and Patara’s was perfectly cooked – still very juicy and that slightly chewy texture with slightly crisp edges.

Lamb shank in paneng curry – This is one of my major reasons to come to Patara and I find it really difficult to order anything differently. The curry is not overly sweet and has plenty of spicy kick and the lamb shank is so well cooked it literally falls off the bone. The rest of the family has a huge dislike of lamb, yet they all tried it and was certainly impressed by the flavours and its succulence without an excessively strong lamb flavour.

Grilled chicken skewers – This was a special off their menu and was served with a tangy tamarind sauce. The chicken had that slightly smoky flavour from the grill and stayed nicely succulent with each bite.

Deep fried sea bass fillet served with light red curry sauce – This dish looks extremely impressive on arrival with the whole fish deboned in advanced and each piece, deep fried to a crisp and then served with a deliciously spicy red curry sauce.

Stir-fried broccoli spears with shitake mushrooms – Fairly ordinary greens.

Coconut lemongrass pie – Nice to have something warm when it’s so cold outside. The lemongrass flavours comes across rather strongly with the coconut playing a much more subtle role.

Baked banana served warm with vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds – A great combo of hot and cold.

Name: Patara (Oxford Circus branch)
Found at: 7 Maddox St., London W1S 2QB

Chao Praya

I’ll admit it was the look of the Palm Sugar Lounge that made me notice this place. Located at the very top of the Liverpool ONE centre, the Palm Sugar Lounge looks slightly out of place next to the fun park set up just on the other side of the park. Chao Praya is the restaurant on the other side of its fancy looking lounge.

Looking for some Asian, I decided on this one, craving some really spicy food and given that their website looked nice, their menu delicious and the restaurant well decorated, I figured it would be worth a shot. As I walked in, I noticed all the Thai chefs buzzing around the open aired kitchen and the number of Thai waiters and waitresses buzzing around. This looked to be a great sign.

I started with their Tod Mun Pla (fried fish cakes) for £7.50. Four juicy golden discs soon arrived with a sweet thai chilli dipping sauce topped with peanuts and a small side salad. Freshly cooked, I warily cut into them, conscious of how hot they might be fresh from the fryer. They cooked these golden discs perfectly cooked and had a perfectly bouncy texture without being excessively chewy.

I’m always taken by the opportunity to have Thai drunken noodle and this month’s special involved a small variation, Udon Pad Kee Mao, the same drunken noodle but instead of rice noodle, used the classic Japanese buckwheat one for £12. As you can see from the picture below, the pad kee mao was generously peppered with large chunks of seafood and vegetables although I think the strangest adaptation was the addition of button mushrooms – something I’d never had, nor never really recommend in a dish like this. The chilli intensity in this dish definitely hit the edge of my tolerance and I caught myself sweating in return. I’m interested to see how their “hot” curries compare to a dish like this. Very tasty though.

I had a look at the dessert menu but felt rather full after this large meal. With two beers, the total ended up £26 although I also left a cash tip. Service was friendly, the place popular with locals and the food delicious.

Name: Chao Praya
Found at: 5-6 Kenyon Steps, Liverpool ONE, Liverpool, L1 3DF, United Kingdom

Grilled Chicken in Bangkok

One of best things about writing about food is that you help others find things it would take a long time for you to find. One such place I would never have stumbled across is Baan Tawan Gai Yang as written up by Hungry in Bangkok. I’m a huge fan of anything grilled and combined with anything spicy, it’s definitely one of the things I had to go out and try.

This place is found by getting out of the Ekkamai BTS station and heading directly north on Soi Ekkamai (which starts off being Sukhumvit 63). From memory it took me about 10 or 15 minutes to walk up there, so if you’re in a rush I’d catch a taxi. On the way, you pass all the different bars/clubs run by the various spirit brands and I think it was located right after a seafood restaurant.

I was pretty hungry by the time I found this place. Their menu has plenty of visuals and there was a great mix of locals and some foreigners dining there. I sat in the open air side section where there seemed to be more locals.

This is a picture of the Gai Yang (grilled chicken) that came with two different types of dipping sauces – the sweet chilli sauce and a sour one. Both of them went really well with the chicken and I could have done with much more. The chicken also arrived with plenty of fried shallots on top, adding another set of depth to the dish. Perfectly grilled, chicken not too dry and a lovely smoky skin, this was totally worth the trip.

Above is the Tod Mun Goong (Fish & Prawn Cakes) that I thought I was going to have as an appetiser. I had no idea that these were almost the serving of a full sized dish with at least 7 or 8 large cakes. Covered in Japanese-panko style bread crumbs, these cakes were the best I’ve had anywhere. It probably helped that they cooked them fresh – I bit too eagerly into the first one not realising how freshly cooked they work and they were great because they were soft, juicy and really tasty. If not for ordering lots of food, I could have eaten many more of these.

This dish is their Som Tum (Papaya Salad). I thought I’d ordered the carrot one as recommended by Hungry in Bangkok, but apparently I didn’t. This version didn’t disappoint though with such lovely textures and complex flavours combined with that immense kick of chilli that permeated throughout.

I had a beer to go with my dinner and the funniest thing about the dinner was the fact that they kept coming around to top up the beer that was poured into the glass and then put ice into the glass to keep the beer cold. I would have preferred to keep the beer bottle in the ice bucket and then simply pour the beer out but I can see why they were doing this.

This place is great for a casual dinner with lots of friends. It was definitely on the cheaper end of the scale and great value for the quality of the food you get. I really wanted to return to try some other dishes but unfortunately I ran out of time.

Name: Baan Tawan Gai Yang
Found at: Ekkamai soi 1, Bangkok, Thailand

Dinner at Suan Lum Night Markets

On the very first night I got to Bangkok, I knew that I had to stay up as late as possible to beat the jetlag you get from travelling eastward. Fortunately Bangkok has plenty of things to do at night time, including their famous Suan Lum Night Market. I was staying very close to the Asoke BTS and it was ridiculously easy to get the night markets, catching an underground metro where you get off at Lumphini where the markets sit pretty much right outside.

Unlike many other outdoor markets, these ones tend to centre around a number of buildings that don’t move, instead roller doors opening to reveal most of the contents of each of the market stalls. On one side of the market (I discovered much later) they have an open seating food court-like dining plaza where you “buy” food currency and exchange them for the food items with the ability of refunding any food currency you don’t use. It’s a practical way of ensuring the money is collected centrally and you still get some variety.

Ending up much hungrier, I ended up at a food stall that was on the other side of the market – the cafe was also open air and noticed a mix of tourists and locals eating here. I don’t actually remember catching the name of the place but it’s directly opposite the restaurant hosting the puppet theatre show. They did have menus in English although I already knew what I wanted – the famous Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle). The waiter asked me if it’s okay hot, and I instantly replied – of course.

I also ordered a large Chang beer because it seemed to be the local beer of choice and it was ridiculously hot and steamy I thought would make a good accompaniment for the noodle dish. I also got to choose the type of noodle (flat rice noodle vs egg noodle) and the type of meat. It wasn’t long before the dish arrived. As you can see above it was full of fresh Thai basil, loads of chilli and fresh peppercorns. It also definitely packed a lot of heat with the first mouthful turning on an instant fire. Deliciously spicy but not uncomfortably so.

The best part about it was that I spent about THB140 for the entire meal – not even GBP3.

Tripping to Asia and back in one night

We organised yet another team dinner out in Cambridge, this time deciding to hit a restaurant called Asia. I’d read some great things about it so I was quite excited to do so. I’d arranged the booking a week in advance, although I was surprised when I called up the day before our dinner to find out that our booking disappeared into the ether. Fortunately they still had space for our change in dining numbers.

We sat at a very local freehouse (St Radegund) in Cambridge (highly recommended for a very pub-like experience) when I received a call from the restaurant telling me that their Thai chef did not turn up. I thought this was quite nice of them, though understandable, when half of their menu is Thai.

We also had strange service throughout the entire night, mainly because we had a bit of a newbie waiter asking one of his colleagues to come across. I think it was the first five questions that sent him running that triggered us to have a bit of a laugh of it throughout the night. Strangeness continued throughout the evening, with the wine menu being presented with an one extensive page each, of red and white wines, yet then to be told only four bottles were available of the 20+ listed.

On to the food. The menu was pretty large, although being “pan-asian” they only seemed to have Indian/Pakistani and then Thai foods. This is probably a good choice because pan asian restaurants tend to offer greater variety of cuisines at the cost of quality. Fortunately they hadn’t sacrificed quality. I skipped the starters, although everyone else said their starter was delicious. They certainly looked like it. Then the mains finally arrived and I almost regret ordering the plethora of side dishes.

I ordered their Chicken Lababdar (Tandoori chicken tikka cooked in lababdar gravy with fresh ginger, green chilli, coriander and finished with cream) which ended up deliciously spicy and creamy at the same time. It was a hugely generous serve (as were all of the main dishes), hence regretting the presence of all the side dishes we ordered.

We ended up taking all the leftover food home. Despite all the strangeness, if you simply treated this as an Indian/Pakistani restaurant the food is definitely worth going for. I can also recommend ordering their mango creme brulee.

Name: Asia Dining Room
Found at: 66 Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1DP

Pad Kee Mao

One of my favourite Thai dishes is the famously spicy Pad Kee Mao. Its spiciness is said to contribute to its English translation, “Druken Noodles” not because the noodles are drenched in any particular liquid, but because you often need to reach for a drink due its spiciness and best drunk with beer.

Not all Thai places serve this noodle, but I often ask them if they do it off the menu (great where they actually have a real Thai chef). I’ve successfully made this at home, so here’s the recipe that I used:


  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp brown sugar/palm sugar
  • 1/4 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp gold mountain (a classic seasoning sauce used in Thai cooking)
  • 1 tsp soy regular
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp smashed thai chillies
  • 1 sliced chilli
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 block of firm tofu cubed into bite sized pieces
  • vegetables
  • flat rice noodles, separated into different strands
  • bell pepper/capsicum
  • onion
  • Thai basil (optional)


  1. Combine the water, sugar, gold moutain, soy, oyster sauces together with the smashed chillies. This will be added at the end of the cooking.
  2. Prepare all vegetables – slice the onions, peppers into fine strips. Cut the vegetables into similar sizes.
  3. Fry the tofu until it has a relatively crispy skin and set aside
  4. Reheat the pan, starting with the garlic, onion then adding the chili to fry off.
  5. Cook the vegetables and when ready, add the noodles. Having previously separated them makes it easier to mix together and still leave whole
  6. Add the tofu and then fry until the noodle is soft and cooked. At the last moment, throw in the prepared sauce and stir until the noodles are evenly coated with it
  7. Just before serving, I like to mix some Thai basil through to add another layer of flavour