Whenever the school holidays come around, and we're not going on holiday, we tend to visit a lot of restaurants. It's what we love to do as a family and I like that we can let our boys try out lots of different food. When we were invited to Thaikhun Nottingham to try out their new children's menu I was excited to take the boys.
The Thai word 'khun' means 'your' and so, roughly translated, Thaikhun is Your Thailand. At ThaiKhun you enjoy a casual dining experience with an open kitchen and rustic decor welcoming you to experience Thai food as you would on the streets of Bankok.
On arrival I spied the gorgeous scene in the photo above and had to snap a photo. The shrine was decorated with photos and flowers. We were welcomed by staff and taken to our table situated by a large window. We couldn't see the kitchen from our table but the decor I could see was like nothing I've ever spied in a restaurant before.
We were handed the menu and given a few minutes to take a look. When we go to a new restaurant I spend some time going through the children's menu first.
The first thing I spotted was a clear section pointing out that with all children's meals you get vegetable sticks to start, an ice-lolly for dessert and a choice of juice, water, or milk. Next you have to choose your little one's meal and this is fairly simple too.
They have two regular choices; Fried chicken with Jasmine rice (crumbed chicken pieces & jasmine rice with a sweet chilli dip) or Phad Thai (noodles, egg, vegetables & sauce).
Or you can have a "Mix & Match Thai Tray" where you choose one thing from each list. The lists are as follows:
1. Jasmine rice or Plain Noodles
2. Grilled chicken, Pork, or Mixed Vegetables (carrots & broccoli)
3. No Nuts Satay Sauce, Sweet BBQ Sauce, or Slightly Spicy Green Curry
I loved the mix and match because it meant that the boys could make their own choices if they wanted to. It made them feel more in control of what food they got.
The adult menu was jam-packed, or at least it felt that way. From starters and sharing platters to main courses with rice or noodles, or curry, or salad, or something from the grill... I could go on. Once the boys had settled on their meals I took some time to look through the menu. It took me a long time to choose, there was so much on there I would like to try and it all sounded so good.
When the waitress came over to take our drink orders she asked if the boys would like to try any bugs. We all looked at her with blank faces and she said she'd bring some over and we could try them if we wanted to. I wasn't sure what to expect.
Bringing over the drinks (and bugs) the waitress placed the drinks down and then explained about the bugs. In one pot was Silkworms and in the other were Buffalo Worms. As I looked into the little pots I couldn't help my stomach turning just a little bit.
While I wandered around the restaurant snapping photos and having a looking at the gorgeous decor around the place the boys tried out the bugs. When I got back to the table BP was sitting holding his stomach looking rather green and LP was happily munching on the Silkworms. I was pleasantly surprised that LP had even tried them, never mind actually enjoying eating them!
BP did not enjoy them and refused to try any more. Once I sat down I tried the Silkworms, they were small and slightly salty. I did not care for them very much and I don't blame BP for his reaction. I did not try the Buffalo worms, I just couldn't do it.
Just thinking about it sends a shudder down my spine. Why is that? I mean, they're full of protein aren't they? I think it's got something to do with them living in the ground and being brought up to think of them as disgusting creepy crawlies. I have to say I was so proud of LP for trying the Silkworms and even continuing to eat them when he knew he didn't have to.
The decor and atmosphere
When we first arrived at the restaurant it was very quiet, the tables were empty and I could hear music from an overhead sound system. Although we were indoors having large windows by us, and being able to see an outdoor eating area made it seem like we were outdoors.
The bar looked like it was a little shack with wooden walls and a bamboo roof and as I walked around the restaurant I saw tyres on walls, flag bunting and lots of signs with Thai words on them which made the whole place feel authentic.
The open kitchen where you could watch meals being prepared.
I loved this sign, and there were so many others around the restaurant too.
The staff were happy to answer any questions we had about the menu and didn't mind talking to the boys, which is always nice.
From all the choices the Hubby and I decided to get a Bankok Street Platter to share between the four of us. LP might have enjoyed the Silkworms but getting him to try the vegetables was much harder and when he did he pulled a face.
The Bankok Street Platter includes grilled chicken satay, thai prawn toast, prawn and pork dumplings, and red curried corn cakes. All of us really enjoyed the chicken satay and the prawn toast but the dumplings and corn cakes had varied results. LP and me didn't particularly enjoy either, I'm not a huge fan of dumplings and LP is picky. BP ate the dumplings but not the corn cakes, and the Hubby ate everything. I liked the platter because it gave us a chance to try out lots of things and the boys liked being able to eat the same as us.
In between the starter and the main course there was quite a long wait but once the food arrived it was definitely worth the wait.
The Hubby ordered the Nua Phad Kra Prao (beef with chilli and thai basil), tender beef slices stir fried with fresh chilli and "holy basil" or "kra pao". The waitress advised him that the meal came without anything else and it might be a good idea to order rice or noodles to go with it, which he did and chose the Khao Niew (sticky rice).
The stir fry was very spicy but tasty, the beef was indeed tender and the Hubby said he would order it again. It was quite amusing when he opened up his sticky rice though, we've never seen rice quite so sticky that it was in a block. It was funny watching him try to pull it apart to eat with his stir fry. After trying it (well I had to didn't I?!) I can confirm both the sticky rice and the stir fry were tasty and I would consider ordering it myself.
I ordered Massaman, on the menu there's a little note underneath saying that this is often the No.1 Thai curry! It is a curry flavoured with cinnamon and star anise, cooked with potatoes, onion, and cashew nuts. I loved the sound of it and couldn't wait to try. All the curries on the menu come with Jasmine rice.
The Massaman was lovely, the curry was smooth and spicy and the chicken was tender. The potatoes were a tasty addition but I didn't like the cashews, but that's just me. I've never liked cashews much. The curry itself was tasty and not too spicy when coupled with the jasmine rice. There were big chunks of chicken, it wasn't stringy or mushed up, and it went well with the flavoured curry sauce. I could taste the mix of cinnamon and star anise and I would order it again.
LP ordered the Fried Chicken with Jasmine rice. It came on a large tray with the chicken and rice separated and a small section for the chilli sauce. The chicken looked nice and tasty and reminded LP of chicken nuggets which meant he would actually try it. He loved mixing the chilli sauce with his rice and even when he'd finished he asked for more rice, luckily I had some left over.
BP had a "Mix & Match" meal, ordering the grilled chicken with Jasmine rice and Slightly Spicy Green Curry. All I can say about it is it must've been good because before I knew it BP's meal was gone. He liked mixing his curry with the rice but did say that although it says it's "slightly" spicy it was spicier than he was expecting. With that in mind this may not be a great choice for the younger ones in your party.
The ice lollies the children had were chocolate Milka and they enjoyed them. After such a big meal they didn't need a large dessert.
The Hubby ordered Thai Whisky ice-cream which was quite tasty. You could definitely taste the alcohol and it was a nice dessert to have after quite a spicy main.
I ordered Banana Fritters with vanilla pod ice-cream, the mix of hot and cold was quite different. I've never had banana fritters before and it was nice to try something a little different. The ice-cream was lovely and went well with the fritters. The dessert was a little large for me though and I ended up leaving some.
The entire meal, including 1 kids Orange Juice, 3 Diet Cokes (the Hubby was thirsty!), and 2 kids milk, cost £71.50.
What we thought
Both boys enjoyed our trip to Thaikhun and have since asked to go back. LP liked trying out the creepy crawlies (he can't wait to tell his friends!) and BP liked the food choices. The Hubby liked the food, the main courses were particularly nice and he can't wait to go back and try something different. And as for me? I enjoyed the whole experience. The food was lovely, the main course wasn't something I would've usually tried but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed eating the curry. The atmosphere was welcoming, even for children, and the decor is unique.
What I loved most about Thaikhun was how welcomed the boys felt and the children's menu. The boys enjoyed choosing their meals, had fun colouring in, and tried something they wouldn't ordinarily have tried.
The cost of the meal might be slightly higher than other places but the decor and the quality of the meal are totally worth it. You could manage the cost by not having starters (the platter was for four people) or choosing a different main course.
If the Hubby and I were to visit Thaikhun alone then I'd be inclined to try out the cocktails too. They have a nice sounding list that can be served per glass or in a sharing bucket!
If you happen to visit Thaikhun Nottingham be sure to have a look around and take a look at the two photographs they have on the wall next to the outdoor area. The photographs show two buildings which, I believe, are in Thailand. I thought they captured the Thailand I imagine (I have never visited) and I think they're beautiful.
We ate a complimentary meal at Thaikhun Nottingham in return for this review. All opinions are my own.