…rather like its namesake coconut which is found in the cocktails, on the cocktails, in the rice and multiple mouthwatering dishes!
A delicious and relatively new asset in the centre of Bournemouth, Kala is making its presence known with a bar-raising proposition of the very freshest Thai cuisine and drinking in terms of exceptional cocktails!
Kala’s authentic entrance of carved wood and candles sets the Enjoy-It review scene for dinner with besties, the way it should be even in these times – the besties by the end of the evening also included the Kala team… they are so very friendly, efficient and helpful with menu and drinks suggestions.
We are lucky enough to go in at the top and meet the lovely front of house owner Michelle, who explains that she owns another two venues in Bournemouth and that Kala Thai fills a top end and authentic gap in the seaside town’s Thai market.
The seating is arranged in a practical, yet distanced way, with cubicles, high and low-level tables with clear visibility into the open kitchen counter and the bar, all the while shaking up the pre, during and apré-dinner cocktails!
A stream of the said cocktails arrive at the table; the Bangkok, a potent and colourful mix of Absolut, limoncello, fresh kiwi, lime and blackberries – a few excitable Espresso Martinis and Spiced Rum Lassis.
We nibble through edamame beans, hot crackers and negotiate with each other over the who’s who of starters while craning over the kitchen hatch to get tips from what other diners have ordered!
Once decided Michelle takes the order in stages as the food is fresh, MSG-free and fast out of the kitchen. The fresh is relevant as we are all too familiar with the slightly ‘too close to frozen’ look in various Thai restaurants. Not here, is it fresh, clean, crisp and delicious! We savour satay, tempura mixed vegetables, duck spring rolls and Thai calamari. The portions are generous and the timings from the kitchen are just perfect!
We enjoy more cocktails, Thai beer and look forward to our mains; Thai beef salad, Weeping Tiger Thai style sirloin steak, Pad Thai and a stunning Gaeng massaman curry with sticky, namesake coconut and jasmine rice. The beef just exceptional, the curries with heat that is remarkable yet not overwhelming by any means – just instinctive. All the while Michelle keeps her eye on us and checks on more orders, drinks and explains a little more about the restaurant and Thai team, to whom after service, we say Namaste while they enjoy a well-earned glass of red wine, this is a Kala family.
On departure, we are passed by the evening’s youngest guest who asked Michelle; “Have you told them?” …has she told who? “The chefs, did you tell the chefs that they are the best chefs ever”! She did and so did we – Kala Thai is colourful in both its attitude and presentation, with a modest price point that allows dining out to be habitual, even in these times and with a taxi home – after all, who would want to miss out on those cocktails?