Friday, 16 May 2014

Sean's Thai Bar - Kaosarn - Zocalo

Wednesday 14th May - Thai - Thai - Tequila! Not an obscure drinking game, but my route on Wednesday night.  The evening started in Balham at the opening night of Sean's Thai Bar in Balham.  I only learned of it the day before, and it handily slotted into an hour and a half gap before dinner.

Sean Blake already runs a funky little joint called Sean's Bar in Brixton Village making use of Rosie's Deli in the evenings.  Whilst there he befriended Jay who recently opened Krua Thai restaurant in Balham, which led to the offer of an unused basement space.  Sean wasted no time in converting the space into Sean's Thai Bar.


As with Sean's Bar, the drinks list is relatively simple (and refreshingly cheap), with a small but high quality range of spirits behind the bar. There are more cocktails here than in Brixton, with several classics and house specials - I can recommend the Jungle Bird with Mekhong (a Thai spirit), Campari, Lime & Pineapple.  You also can't really go wrong with £4.50 Gin & Tonics, or a splash of Abuelo 7 yr Rum.




After a night in Brixton, we went home humming Barry White, and the soul music is back again here, supposedly with a 70s Thai twist - I'll have to do some homework on that.  If you are peckish, there are exciting bar snacks on offer (separate from upstairs) - we stuck to the yummy prawn crackers as dinner plans had already been made.



It's a great little space, full of quirky details such as a Doors lyric written in Thai above the bar, a specials board behind windows, and a £1 peep show sign (bargain!) which Sean may or may not have stolen from somewhere.  We sat in a corner of the bar which Sean is particularly proud of - when they first arrived they found a fake wall which was concealing a hidden bedroom! Who knows what the previous owner was up to...






Just what Balham needs, go and check it out!

From Thai to Thai - I hopped on a train to Clapham Junction to meet flatmate Ali for some food at Kaosarn, another place with roots in Brixton Village.  All this week, several restaurants on St.John's Hill are offering special £15 menus as part of the Fabulous Feast which culminates in a big food festival today (Saturday 17th May) - read more here.



I ran out to Sainsburys to grab a beer (BYOB) straight after ordering, and the starters had already arrived when I returned 2 minutes later.  We went for Satay & Moo-Ping skewers - generous portions and tasty sticky sauces are a winning combination.  I do wonder if Ali munched through some more and hid the evidence whilst I was off site...



We moved quickly on to classic Thai Green Chicken Curry & Beef Massaman Curry with sticky rice. I could eat Kaosarn's creamy green curry all day - it's a reminder that good food doesn't need to show off to be enjoyable.  Simple and delicious.


Dessert was Gluay Tod - Banana fritters served with vanilla ice-cream topped with ground roasted peanuts and honey.  Hit the spot again, gone in seconds.


We were in and out within an hour which is impressive, but we would have loved to stay longer as the atmosphere is wonderful, helped by a bright dining room with high ceilings, cool lighting, and windows opening out on to St.John's Hill.  Fantastic food from start to finish - all for £15!

With Powder Keg Diplomacy buzzing opposite, Ben's Canteen round the corner, and Birdhouse café down the road, local residents are spoilt for choice.  Check them all out on Saturday at the festival, or make some time to visit St. John's Hill soon.




Last but not least, Ali and I walked back to Battersea Square to say hello to a new tapas & tequila bar called Zocalo that has just opened near our flat.  We were warmly greeted by Jose who instantly started pouring us some Del Maguey Vida Mezcal including one for himself.


They have a great range of Tequilas & Mezcals, great for sipping, but also in cocktails such as Negroni Mezcal and Pare de Sufrir (Mezcal, Coffee Liqueur, Amaro, Mole Bitters, Pedro Ximenez & Cinnamon).  I moved on to Del Maguey Minero whilst Ali switched to Tequila with a Don Julio Reposado.



In-house chilli tequila concoction
Estrella is on tap alongside some nice bottled beers including Negra Modelo and the lesser known Mexican Red Pig Ale which a friend is importing for them.  I'm hoping this becomes a fun little spot for Mexico matches during the World Cup in a few weeks!  The atmosphere could be incredible making use of the wonderful outdoor space in the hidden gem that is Battersea Square.



Love these adjustable chairs!


The tapas selection looks superb, but I will have to come back to sample it soon (though I will probably just end up sipping more mezcal). This might be a regular haunt for me - very dangerous!

Square Meal

Kaosarn on Urbanspoon

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