Thai Express, Aldgate, London
I’ve had three goes with Thai Express in Aldgate, with lots of mixed results. The first order I had was for the Pad Thai which was very disappointing. But the curries and stir-fry was much better! In all cases Thai Express feels like a typical corporate lunch eatery and it does an okay job at that playing that role.
Thai Express is a Canadian chain with just three stores in London. Odd locations too. One is here in Aldgate, the others are in Thurrock and Guildford. I haven’t heard of either of these. The first Thai Express store was opened some ten years ago, globally they have over 200 stores worldwide. The first of the UK ones was back in 2012.
I’m rather over existing in a chain-dominated food landscape. It makes everything so boring and homogenous. But there’s a few good ones out there, like Wok In Fire, and I even give Pret some credit for some reliable options. So I’m not completely anti-chain here.
Thai Express labels itself as a modern take on Thai cuisine, which is true as there are some unusual non-Thai options on the menu. One of the options is a fried chicken curry. No doubt it’s been swayed by the palates of the locals.
I ordered the flat noodles and all the dishes (slightly less the curries) are prepared to order. So if you really feel like it, you can watch one of the cooks fry it up right in front of you. I was pre-warned that the dishes can sometimes be oil-heavy but I had the opposite happen, and this was problematic. There’s not much beef and you get a box, super big, but it’s just mostly noodles and very difficult to eat. Due to the lack of lipids, it ends up being a blob of noodle. And blobs aren’t the best thing for lunches.
I had much better luck on my return visits, I had the aforementioned fried chicken curry. I don’t think it was fried fresh to order, as it wasn’t that hot. The curry sauce is really nice here. Not sure if you get the same portion size eating in but it felt a lot smaller this time. This kinda felt like a kid’s party plate, and yes, it was disposable.
The plate returned on my third visit, and now I can say I’ve tried a decent portion of their menu now! This time it was the stir fry with basil beef on white rice. The rice is so dry. But I love it this way but my parents would probably have marched back at the kitchen for an eye roll. I love the flavour of the stir fry too but again the portion size was so small. They max out the grains here.