Brentwood has been screaming out for a good Thai restaurant for years now and finally we have one – hello Lemongrass! I had previously ordered a takeaway from there, following a friend’s recommendation and knew it wouldn’t be long until I dined in.
My auntie and uncle were over from Madrid and as they both like Thai food, I suggested to mum we book a table for the Saturday night. Booking is definitely recommended, especially if you’re a larger party – the restaurant only has two tables that accommodate six and they were both occupied that night. However, there was only five of us, as Robert couldn’t make it.
We were trying to work out what Lemongrass was before, but couldn’t remember and considering the size, the interior is lovely and modern. Brentwood’s other Thai restaurant is very dated and lacks atmosphere, but Lemongrass is the complete opposite. The section by the bar is quite narrow and can be a bit of a squeeze when busy – especially with people calling in to collect takeaways – but the space between the tables is reasonable. We were sat at the far end of the restaurant and didn’t feel out of the way, nor were we forgotten about.
Enough about that – let’s talk food... and what a feast we had! When we previously ordered a takeaway, the portion sizes were large and we made the mistake of ordering a portion of rice each – and we certainly made the ‘order too much’ mistake again! But it’s so hard not to, as there’s lots of choice and the food is incredible.
To start, we ordered the Lemongrass mixed platter (for five) – a selection of hors d'oeuvres and accompanying dipping sauces. We sampled golden vegetable spring rolls, chicken satay sticks, prawn toasts, filo prawns and Thai fish cakes – with satay sauce, sweet chilli sauce and a vegetable relish. I particularly loved the prawn toasts, which were crisp and golden – and not at all greasy, like you often get at a Chinese. The chicken satay was tender and fell off the skewer; while the sauce was also divine.
We decided to order a main course each, with the intention of eventually sharing... not that I tried many other dishes, I loved mine too much. I ordered my favourite: beef penang, which is what I ordered when we got a takeaway – and it was even better second time round, possibly as it was fresher. There was plenty of beef and the sauce was the perfect consistency, while also being mild enough for my palate. Ashley chose the Thai green chicken curry, which I did try. It was lovely but a lot spicier, with coarsely chopped chilli in the sauce. There was plenty of chicken and vegetables and rice mopped the sauce up well. Mum picked her favourite: lamb massaman; while my uncle opted for the roasted duck red curry and my auntie chose the lightly battered chicken with cashew nuts, vegetables and dried chilli. We had a good selection of dishes between us.
We shared three bowls of jasmine rice and a portion of prawn pad Thai, which was very good – with all the condiments around the edge of the plate, ready for us to dress the noodles to our personal tastes. This was more than enough.
The drinkers shared a couple of bottles of rosé, which is always my drink of choice when having a Thai, because it complements the variety of flavours, fragrances and spices well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t partake – despite the waiter trying to get me to taste it. He also offered it to mum, who was the designated driver. He was such a character and the staff overall were friendly and efficient – the service couldn’t be faulted at all.
We had a really good evening: great food, atmosphere, company and service. There’s no doubt we will return to Lemongrass and I am so pleased there’s finally a decent Thai restaurant in Brentwood. And when we can’t secure a table, there’s always the takeaway service!