On a chilly December evening, my companion and I decided to brave a trip to Brixton Market, all in the search for Thai food. KaoSarn’s reputation speaks for itself and crowds arrive like pilgrims to pay homage to their tasty salads, curries and noodles. Prepared to queue and wrapped up warm, we arrived at the aforesaid establishment excited and with a good appetite. However, when I clarified with the proprietor whether they could prepare their dishes without fish sauce, I was confronted with a cold and rude “no”, whilst being forced out of the restaurant and told to queue outside.
Disappointed and somewhat offended, we wondered how we could fulfill our cravings for oh-so-delicious Thai cuisine. I had passed Yum-D on the other side of Brixton Village Market a number of times, but had thought nothing of it, with KaoSarn dominating the landscape for the best Asian cuisine in Brixton, and indeed much of London. However, remembering the presence of this charming Thai eatery, we hurried over. We quickly perused the menu and delighted with the range of dishes on offer – all of which could be freshly cooked without traces of fish or meat – our faces lit up. Luckily enough, they had space for two inside, sharing a table with two others but most importantly in the warmth.
Yum-D is a colourful, cosy café and deli where you can enjoy the authentic, fragrant flavours of Thailand. And it certainly earns the Yum of its name. The wall of bright post-it notes from its patrons honour its soups and noodle dishes with comments like “noodl-icious”. It’s a humble restaurant, so don’t expect something very fancy. There’s no separation between the tables and the kitchen, so you can see the cooking. But for me, this makes eating out more fun and testifies to the freshness of the food here. From four gas burners, the mother of this family-run restaurant rustles up, inter alia, wonderful salads, satay, spring rolls, noodle soups, green curries, stir-fries, banana fritters and pancakes. With a team of two other people – one being the waiter and the other a semi-waiter and sous chef – Yum-d generates flavoursome Thai favourites.
Whilst my companion opted for a Pad Thai, her favourite choice of Thai dishes, I chose the Laksa Noodle Sooup. And it certainly filled the Thai void in my stomach. Fresh, fragrant and warming, this was everything that I was craving. With the comforting coconut broth and filling noodles, this wholesome soup is heart-warming. For me, the best winter food opens its arms up like a welcoming family and soup offers this hugs best!
Considering the quality of the food and the generous portions, it’s difficult to find a better value meal in London. Although everything at Yum-D wasn’t perfect – least of all the drunken diners who shared our table for half of our meal – this is part of the communal spirit and conviviality of Brixton Market. For this reason, I’ll forgive a few minor flaws and definitely revisit. And it’s certainly one to give KaoSarn and their ever-present queues a run for their money.
Yum D, 14d Market Row, SW9 8PS
020 7274 8824