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Thai at the Sal, The Salutation, South Parade, Doncaster

Thai at the Sal, The Salutation, South Parade, Doncaster supporting image

Chris Wilson enjoys the spice of life at Thai at the Sal

It would be very easy to walk into The Salutation, enjoy a leisurely pint or two in what looks like a nice, friendly, old-fashioned pub, and walk away none the wiser about something rather different going on upstairs.


There may be discreet signs to reassure hesitant souls such as myself that we really are in the right place, but if you’re not searching, they’re easily missed.


Even so, judging by the steady stream of people who did make their way through the pub, up the stairs and into one of Doncaster’s hidden gems, the secret’s out. Thai at the Sal, a traditional Thai restaurant on top of a traditional English pub, is most definitely the real deal.


It’s a family-run establishment with Thai-born chef Ton, husband Graham and their son Joshua at the helm. And while the setting may be slightly unusual, anyone who remembers Ton from past local successful ventures including the Bangkok Thai and Bangkok Royal Elephant restaurants in Doncaster will not be surprised to learn that Thai at the Sal, which opened in December 2016, offers a totally authentic experience.


The restaurant itself is small and friendly, nicely decorated with fresh flowers, and service is always attentive without being overbearing.


Some Thai restaurant menus run to several pages, leaving anxious diners with the impression that, having been overwhelmed by so much choice, they’ve probably chosen the wrong thing. Here they’ve managed to distil all that’s great about one of my favourite cuisines into a few pages.


My friend Glyn and I were seated on tall stools at a lovely high table next to a window that was eye-catching from the street below because of its glorious overflowing flower boxes. We started our meal with one of the sharing platters. The Bangkok Platter (£11.95) was a delicious mix of prawn crackers, spring rolls, chicken satay, wantons, Thai fish cakes, chicken wings and spare ribs with three dipping sauces.


Our appetites whetted, we proceeded to give the menu a thorough work-out. Sharing everything, we chose a Panang red chicken curry (£7.95), Pad Prik Thai Dum prawn and vegetable stir-fry (£12.95), Pad Thai stir-fried rice noodles with vegetables (£5.95), Thai sticky rice (£2.50) and Som Tum papaya salad (£6.95). 


Perhaps that sounds like a lot for two people but one of the joys of Thai food for me is the fact that it’s all about taste – the zing of fresh chillies and citrus, the heady aroma of fresh herbs – rather than the heavy carbs and thick starchy sauces that leave you feeling bloated.


We certainly hadn’t over ordered. The prawns were plump and juicy, vegetables retained their taste and texture, and the papaya salad was perfectly sharp and crunchy.


One thing I rarely bother with in Thai restaurants is desserts but on this occasion we felt no inclination to rush away and really enjoyed the clean, fresh, palate-cleansing properties of lemon sorbet (£3.95) and coconut ice-cream (£4.95).


Our Thai feast was washed down with a glass of rosé for me (£5.95) and a couple of Singha beers (£3.80 per pint) for Glyn. They have quite an array of cocktails and I was tempted after a foodie friend insisted that the best, or rather the only, drink to accompany any sort of spicy food is a margarita. I’ll bear that in mind for the next time, maybe not on a school night.


Thai at the Sal, The Salutation, 14 South Parade, Doncaster, DN1 2DR

Tel: 01302 340 705