The St James – or the St James’ Tavern, as we know it from its days as our local – has always been a top class boozer. Stuck halfway up the main Kemptown strip, it’s pretty busy of an evening and nice and quiet in the day. They’ve been doing the Thai pub grub thing for a while now and we’d heard good things, so it was time for a Friday lunch treat.
The menu has pretty much the perfect amount of clearly explained dishes, meaning that we choose quickly. The mixed starter (£5.95) is a great way to sample lots of flavours. The wrapped prawns are large and meaty, the sweetcorn dumplings nice and spongy, and the prawn toast not too greasy. It’s also a decent size for two and good value. As everyone seems to be doing a good job of green curry these days – try The Office on Sydney Street – we head off-piste. The Gaeng Pla (£5.95) flags itself up as the hottest thing on the menu, and it doesn’t disappoint. A broth-like curry, loaded with super-fresh veg and chicken, it’s got a nice kick balanced with aniseedy flavours. The Thai roasted duck (£5.95) has a subtle oyster sauce that lets the bird breathe, but the healthy potion of rice could do with a bit more of that gentle gravy.
Two pints, a shared starter and two good main courses for just over £20 quid – you really can’t complain. The meal was totally authentic, especially for a pub Thai, and we finished feeling full without being bloated. A great treat for after work or a long lunch, though we’d be slightly worried about the noise when the St James is in full swing.
WERE WE SUSSED
No, we don’t think so. Our big digital camera was sat on the table in full view but no one batted an eyelid. The service was friendly and the wait was short – you should expect the same.
THE ST JAMES
16 Madeira Pl
Food served daily 12-9pm