Restaurant review: Yum Yum, Stoke Newington
by Peter Sherlock Five years ago, Atique Choudhury, the director of YumYum, outgrew his popular restaurant in Church Street and moved to new premises around the corner in S
Five years ago, Atique Choudhury, the director of YumYum, outgrew his popular restaurant in Church Street and moved to new premises around the corner in Stoke Newington High Street.
Since then, Mr Choudhury has gone about establishing the restaurant as one of the best-loved of Stokey's many eateries, scooping the Hackney Gazette's Best Thai restaurant award for the past two years.
Passers-by will recognise the grand entrance forecourt, replete with stone Buddha statues, water fountain and greenery. Not to mention the sign advertising half-price cocktails during the early evening.
Inside the listed Georgian building, the chic modern Asian interior makes for a relaxed, embracing and warm atmosphere.
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The venue is separated into three main sections - the bar, the main restaurant and a third area where people wanting the authentic Thai dining experience can eat at low hung tables on plumped up cushions.
Spirit connoisseurs, like me, will find themselves salivating at the cocktail menu, which includes an intriguing selection of herbal teas shaken with vodka, or gin, muddled berries and vanilla. Being a man of simpler tastes, I went for a Manhattan.
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The food menu is bewildering diverse at first, with more than 150 dishes.
As well as an extensive range of affordable Thai curries, diners can pick from a selection of beef, chicken fish and seafood dishes, many of which you would not find in more budget Thai eateries.
My friend and I started with a Yum Yum platter of traditional Thai canap�s - a shared starter of fish cakes, prawn toasts, Thai golden bags and chicken kebabs, and a side-serving of succulent King Prawns.
The salty and pungent kebabs were very good, and the Thai bags, packed with minced chicken and Thai herbs, even better. It made for a satisfying if traditional starter but the best was yet to come.
For the main, we chose the Pla Naeng Ma-Nau, an enormous steamed sea bass covered with garlic, chilli, lime and coriander.
The mouthfuls of delicious just-cooked white fish, which slid easily off the bone, were exceptional, and counterbalanced by juicy quick-fried spinach, tossed with yellow bean and garlic.
Then there was the Kang Mussaman, a melt-in-your mouth lamb peanut butter curry, served on the bone and stewed with pumpkin and potatoes.
This was all washed down with a fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand's Wairau valley.
Though marginally more expensive than other Stokey eateries, Yum Yum goes beyond the generic Western slant on Thai cooking to offer a very special dining experience. The staff are friendly, the food simmers with character, and the atmosphere warm and inviting.
Bring me another Manhattan.