Finding authentically delicious Thai food in London is (surprisingly) difficult but Siam Niyom confirms that the best are the local, family-run, no-fuss no-frill kind’a haunts. At the top of that list should be this gem of a restaurant – Siam Niyom. Whilst Rosa’s is an obvious option, I’ve been underwhelmed with it in the past and given it’s rapid expansion, it doesn’t feel like dining there is #supportingsmall. Having driven passed Siam Niyom – located on the busy roundabout junction at Tulse Hill – probably almost every weekend over the past year, my companions and I finally tried it out on the first weekend out of lockdown.2. And it was definitely worth the wait.
As soon as you walk in, Siam Niyom feels welcoming, thanks to the warm staff, as well as the heaters by the door – definitely a must on this freezing December evening! The simple décor also feels stylish and modern – think candlelights, low hanging pendant lights and plenty of tasteful Christmas foliage. The family that run Siam Niyom are also a wonderfully cohesive unit and passionate about their trade and food – we were presented with a complementary welcome bite of cucumber and carrot stick with a punchy peanut dip: yumtini from the go, especially alongside the warming ginger honey teas.
The menu is excellent and with a whole section dedicated to vegetarian food, the variety offered is difficult to come-by. To start, we enjoyed Vegetable Spring Rolls (£6.25) and Corn Fritters (£6.25), the former served with a delicious sweet chilli sauce and the latter seasoned with kefir and paprika, and served alongside a cucumber salsa. Both were effortlessly melt-in-the-mouth: the spring rolls wonderfully crisp, and the fried fritters naughtily moreish.
Onto the mains, we shared a Pad Thai Tofu (£10.50), Wild Ginger Tofu (13.25) and a Tofu Vegetable Green Curry (£12.25) served with Black Jasmine Rice (£3.25). Though that sounds like a lot of tofu and, for me at least, tofu can be a bit hit or miss, its appearance it in each dish here was full of flavour and well-executed – definitely hits.
The pad thai was just want you want from this rice noodle-classic: topped with crushed roasted peanuts, it had a saucy finish and the noodles were finished with mushrooms, chives, sweet turnips and bean sprouts. The ginger tofu, meanwhile, was very well seasoned with wild ginger, peppers, lemongrass, chilli and green pepper – all the flavours you would want from a stir-fry.
The star of the show was probably the green curry, especially given the black rice pairing (a first out at a Thai restaurant) and the aromatic flavours that sung out – not least the lemongrass and Thai basil. “Saim Niyom” lives up to its translation – the favourite foods of Thailand – very well.
For afters, we couldn’t resist a bowl of Coconut Sundae, a vegan coconut ice cream with all the textures you could want from a desert: crispy tapioca pearls, silky coconut flesh, fresh mango slithers and edible flowers. A beauty to look at and finish our meals with.
All the food was superb and the pricing outstanding. Offering free delivery, it’s no surprise that their takeaway service looked very busy this evening and rightly so – I hope Siam Niyom survives the impact that Covid-19 and its resulting lockdowns have had on the restaurant industry. It’s an excellent spot for locals but also worth travelling to in its own right. Long live Siam Niyom!
Siam Niyom 347 Norwood Rd, Norwood, London SE27 9BQ