Som Saa: From Pop-up to Permanent

By Emily Gray | 15th February 2016

Som saa: It’s the classic modern day rags to riches story, a Dick Whittington tale if you will. Founded by Andy Oliver, Tom George and Mark Dobbie, it started life off as pop-up in Peckham, hosting a year-long residency at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields, crowdfunding £700,000 in three days and now they are topping it off with a permanent home in a former fabric warehouse on Commercial Street.

Som saas are a rare Thai citrus fruit and old style Thai cooking and lesser known dishes will be the order of the day at the restaurant. Whereas during their residency they mainly focused on dishes from the north and north east, in the restaurant they will be cooking up dishes from all over Thailand. More space also means that they have the room to make curry pastes, coconut cream and fermented pork sausages in-house. They’ll use these alongside British produce to create their Thai dishes.

Created by co-Head Chefs Andy and Mark, the menu will be divided according to cooking techniques and will include a daily changing ‘chef’s section’. New dishes will include curries such as gaeng daeng moo yaang (red curry of grilled pork, green banana, holy basil); in the wok section you’ll find pad char ahaan talay (stir fried prawns, clams and squid with lime young peppercorns and wild ginger). If you like to share your food then you can go for the dtom yam kha koo thort (hot and sour soup with whole deep fried pork hock) which you and three of your pals can tuck into. Puddings will include khao nejo durian – sticky rice and durian topped with freshly made sweet and salty coconut cream. A few weeks after launching there’ll be a brunch and lunch menu which will offer quick, street-food style dishes such as pad grapow phbet (stir fried duck with holy basil, chillies and a crispy duck egg over rice).

The bar will serve up ahaan gap klaem – they’re like Thai bar snacks including lapp gai thort (fried Isaan style, minced chicken cakes with kaffir lime leaf, dry chilli and toasted rice) miang lao (palm sugar, fried garlic, peanuts and chilli wrapped in pickled mustard greens) and pla dip bai cha plu (betel leaf with citrus cured wild sea bass, kaffir lime and chilli). Cocktails will include Krahang Old Fashioned, the Blue Lotus Fizz and Miang Nam made from tequila, betel leaf, green chartreuse, manzanilla sherry and kaffir lime oil. They’ve also teamed up with Postcard Teas to choose a tea list with some teas such as the Northern Thai oolong sourced especially for som saa.

Sticking to the heritage of the buildings former days as a warehouse, the 80-cover restaurant will be a hybrid of London and Bangkok with vintage decorations brought back from trips to Thailand and an extensive bar.

It’s good to see som saa has found its home. 

som saa: Opens this spring, 43A Commercial Street, E1 6BD,

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