Famous amongst my colleagues for loving all things rice, I was zooming to this restaurant rocket-style. Wild Rice is Soho’s latest Thai edition, having opened up on the 18th of December last year. To be perfectly honest, as I guess I should be in a review, the name of the place – as the rice aficionado that I am – had me at hello. And so I went along to see if this aptly-named venue lived up to its tasty namesake.
Brewer street certainly got lucky over Christmas as Both Wild Rice and Mamasan flung their doors open, both of which reside in the same building. Wild Rice is all about bold is beautiful, with flavours oozing vibrancy and reinvention. Thai favourites are partnered with seasonal British ingredients which, at first, I thought to be a disembarking from the norm, but I admired their quest to implement something new into London’s Thai scene.
What I truly admired about Wild Rice was the utter cosiness of it all. When I state cosy I don’t mean plush sofas and dim lighting but rather the opposite. The atmosphere was buzzing, the tables intricately placed in close proximity, and the space was small holding not many covers. And yet it all added to that Thai food dining experience, akin to one you might find in Bangkok Old Town, which is where the concept reaps some of its cuisine influence from. Interiors verge on the rustic side and include colourful windows inspired by the richly coloured timber buildings that are ubiquitous with the old town of Bangkok.
Wild Rice favours sharing plates and despite going in with an appetite the size of Jupiter, I was willing on this rare occasion to give sharing food a go – a foreign concept for me, I assure you! We punted for four sharing plates to start and then one main each. Highlights included the sharing tofu nuggets with creamy satay sauce; the tofu was so gelatinous that it also melted in your mouth which, I appreciate, is a bit like the tofu version of marmite – you’re either going to love or hate this.
We adored the tofu, alongside the mains of pulled chicken leg “Khao Soi” soup; slow-cooked pulled chicken in a light and aromatic curry flavoured with turmeric and galangal. And fiery seasonal meat “Pad Ped” with stir-fry with fresh peppercorns, fingerroot and garlic. The portion sizes do leave you wanting more but this isn’t a bad thing, as after four sharing dishes and a main each, you’re really just pandering to your greedy side.
Perhaps my favourite dish, surprise, surprise, was the wild rice that the resto is named after. Thai Rice Berry is a Thai superfood grain with a vitamin-rich purple pigment and it is moreish. If you get just one dish, make it the Thai rice berry.
For those who want dessert you’re out of luck we’re afraid, however you can make it up for it with delicious cocktails – and hey, that’s not all so bad. Wild Rice was truly a treat, an ideal spot for a whirlwind taste of Thai with a twist before heading out, bellies full, onto a fun and vibrant Brewer Street.
Wild Rice can be found at 28 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 0SR, www.wildricelondon.com