Thaikhun, Spinningfields, Manchester – Review

Adam Lowe

Thaikhun opened its doors in Manchester’s Spinningfields in May this year, brought to us by the same people behind the Chaophraya Thai Restaurant brand. Thaikhun owner and Chef Director Kim Kaewkraikhot ran her own small restaurant in Bangkok and brings that expertise to the Spinningfields restaurant.

Getting ready to some Thai street food! #vada #vadaontour #highfivesthailovers #streetfood

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The interior of Thaikhun is heavily inspired by Bangkok street culture. A bicycle motif dominates on the outside, and inside there are distressed chunks of external wall, plus plenty of hanging lights and paper lanterns descending from the ceiling.

It’s a great atmosphere – bustling but laidback, trendy but high quality. I really rather enjoyed it, and it makes a change to yet another overpriced hipster burger-and-cocktail bar.

The menu is very reasonably priced – more akin to what you’d pay for street food than to restaurant fare. For £20 a pop, you can get a large sharing starter platter and one of the pintos, which features three dishes with rice.

Add on reasonably priced cocktails (about £7-8 each, which is standard these days), and you have a pretty cheap night out with some good drinks and plenty of food. It’s therefore great for parties and a lot cheaper than most Thai restaurants of a similar standard (where starters, mains and a beer or two can easily cost £30 or more).

Thaikhun cocktail and a Phi Phi Bellini. It’s thirsty work, all this research!

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We started off with some drinks to start the evening: the Thaikhun cocktail and a Phi Phi Bellini. These were light and too easily quaffable, so we finished them before we even finished the prawn crackers.

For something softer, the Thai iced tea (which comes in either green or black varieties) is delicious – sweetened with condensed milk and topped with cream.

For starters we had the The Sukumvit 38 Platter: a selection of salt and pepper squid, fish cakes, chicken spring rolls and honey pork for at least two people. This costs £7.50 per person, and you get decent portions of everything. The fish cakes were our favourite part of the platter, but we loved everything (I don’t normally eat spring rolls, but these ones were delicious).

You can also opt for the Bangkok Street Platter, which has chicken satay, prawn toast, Esarn sausage and red curried corn cakes (£6.65 per person), plus a range of individual starters if you prefer not to share.

Now this is what I call a main course! #highfivesthailovers

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For mains we had the Pinto Siam: chicken massamun curry, stir fried pork belly in red curry sauce, beef in oyster sauce and egg fried rice. The price for this was £11.50 per person.

The pintos are much more filling than they initially appear, as four dishes come stacked on top of each other, revealing a veritable feast.

The massamun curry was the best dish, with its creamy but subtle spiciness. The beef in oyster sauce felt fresh and far healthier than the same dish ordered from a takeaway, full of vegetables as it was. The pork belly was deliciously decadent, with a slight stickiness from the belly fat itself.

Another delicious dish worth trying (we came in a few days later to try this one especially) is the Panang Goong: king prawns in a red curry sauce with palm sugar and basil (£12.95). There are also grills, salads, a range of noodle and rice dishes, stir fries, soups and veggie dishes to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Khao Niew Moon Pancake. Om nom! #highfivesthailovers A photo posted by Vada Magazine (@vadamagazine) on

For dessert we tried two different Thai pancakes. First up was the Khao Niew Moon Pancake: pandan pancakes stuffed with sticky rice, served with mango sorbet and whipped cream (£5.55). This was a delicious and very filling dessert, but we were certainly glad we tried it.

Pancake Sankaya with coconut ice cream!

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Next up we tried the Pancake Sankaya with creamy coconut ice cream (£5.95). This was a traditional Thai pancake served up with green pandan custard which oozes out of the pancake when you cut it open. If you like custard or pancakes, you’ll love this – with the pandan adding a hint of spice to the occasion.

Thaikhun offers fantastic Thai food at a great price, so it comes highly recommended from us.

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About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.

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