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Thai Edge, Calverley Street, Leeds

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Thai Edge is a must for discerning diners, says Chris Wilson.

They’ve obviously gone to some trouble to make Thai Edge stand apart from other contemporary Oriental restaurants in Leeds.

 

While the standard statues and artefacts are present and correct, the temptation to fill every nook and cranny with ‘stuff’ has been resisted in favour of a lighter, brighter colour scheme and a calming emphasis on space and clean crisp lines.

 

But it’s the food that really makes this distinctive Leeds landmark overlooking Millennium Square a go-to destination for lovers of authentic Thai cuisine.

 

All the plus points are there in abundance, from the subtle blend of herbs such as lemongrass, basil, coriander and galangal, to the sauces that are bursting with flavour and yet not too thick and gloopy.

 

One thing Thai Edge does have in common with virtually every Thai eatery I have ever visited...the choice of soups, salads, stir-fries, specials and curries is so vast it can make the eyes swim and provoke a feeling of mild panic.

 

My advice, stay calm, take inspiration from your surroundings, have a sip of something cold and delicious such as the very reasonably priced house white (Chilean Semillon Chardonnay, £14.50 a bottle) and focus on finding just two or three key main dishes that really appeal. Sides, noodles and sticky rice will then fall into place.

 

It also helps that Thai Edge has an excellent selection of sharing starter platters to get the meal under way. We eased the decision-making process by choosing the premium platter (£8.50 per person), and were rewarded with a sparkling selection of duck spring rolls, pork dumplings, chicken satay skewers, crab meat and prawn cakes and prawn tempura, the latter winning particularly high praise from my friend Jane as being the crispest and lightest batter she’d ever tasted. With three dips (sweet chilli, satay and hoisin) to complement these flavour-filled mouthfuls we were off to a fine start.

 

Having opted to share everything (surely the only civilised way to approach a Thai meal) we selected two contrasting mains. Head chef Anon’s signature dish (£16.95) combined king prawns, pan-fired scallops and roast duck with aromatic Thai jasmine rice. Everything was cooked to perfection and the scallops were especially tender and super fresh.

 

More sparkling seafood was on offer with a sea bass green curry (£13.95) served with accompanying aubergines, French beans and courgettes. The curry sauce was medium spicy, the fish was flaky and moist, all was good.

 

With rice already in place we filled the gaps with a portion of noodles with bean sprouts and soya sauce (£3.50) and tofu with cashew nuts (£6.95).

 

We found no room for soups and salads this time, but felt we had given the menu a thorough work-out and were rewarded with a splendid compendium of tastes and textures.

 

Service was friendly and attentive throughout. Jane, who recently discovered she was allergic to onions, shallots and spring onions in all forms, asked for a couple of the dishes to be adapted to meet her needs. No problem.

 

There is a good selection of desserts including traditional Thai sticky puds that are just perfect for anyone with a very sweet tooth, but a refreshing tropical fruit platter (£5.95) and a double espresso (£2.35) provided a lighter, cleaner conclusion that seemed more in keeping with the surroundings. This much-loved Leeds restaurant remains at the cutting edge of Thai cuisine.

 

Thai Edge, 7 Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3DA

Tel: 0113 243 6333

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