REVIEW: Thai Up at the Quay, Harwich
PUBLISHED: 12:23 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 10 June 2020
Stephanie Mackentyre visits Thai Up at the Quay, a lovely spot for relaxed Thai dining in one of Harwich’s many historic buildings
As the name suggests, the restaurant is close to Harwich Quay and opened in 2008. Inside it’s a delightful 17th century building, perhaps once a pub, in the heart of Old Harwich.
There’s a large, well-stocked bar directly ahead of you and then two rooms for dining on the ground floor either side of the bar. No sooner had we sat down than complimentary, spicy prawn crackers were placed between us.
The menu was a mix of stir fries (or phads), curries, noodle dishes and chef’s specials, each marked with chillies appertaining as to how hot a dish was.
As they are cooked to order, our host explained they can turn down the heat if necessary. Some dishes were simply fragrant and not hot at all if you prefer less spice.
We began with king prawns in tempura batter and panko breadcrumbs and Thai fish cakes served with sweet chilli, peanut and vinegar sauce. We shared as we couldn’t agree who was to have what, as both sounded equally tempting.
It was a shrewd move as each dish was full of instant flavour, served with a dressed small side salad.
The homemade chilli, peanut and vinegar sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the fish cakes and the king prawns also had a dish of sticky, sweet chilli sauce. For the vegetarian, there were still five different starters to choose from.
You can’t really try out a Thai restaurant and not opt for a phad dish. It’s the most popular way of cooking in Thailand and Pom Mear, wife of owner Andy and also head chef, has nine separate phad dishes to choose from.
For me it had to be Phad Namon Hoi a stir-fried dish with oyster sauce, baby corn strips, broccoli spears, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion and carrot.
You choose the dish and then add your meat or fish accordingly. I had a taste for the sea that night, so it had to be plump king prawns. It was a generous dish which I struggled to finish despite its fabulous flavours.
My dining partner choose chicken given the Phad Metmamaung Thai treatment, stir fried with roasted cashews, carrot, onions, pineapple chunks, peppers and all cooked together with oyster and fish sauce.
We shared again so that we each got to try both dishes, which were equally moreish. I ordered a serving of coconut sticky rice and the host helpfully suggested that one portion would be more than adequate for both of us.
Although he went on to say if my partner preferred a different rice, he would arrange a half portion of two rice varieties for us. Our dishes were fragrant and fresh flavoured with just the right amount of soy for seasoning.
There’s plenty of choice for the vegetarians too, as you simply don’t add your meat or fish to the dish of your choice.
A coffee made with a shot of Drambuie was all I could manage after such a banquet, but if I’d had room there was a selection of tempting desserts and ice cream to choose from.
This is definitely one to return to, to happily munch our way through the rest of Pom’s carefully crafted, authentic menu.
Petit Fours & Against
To be applauded: The attention to detail and high level of friendly service.
Prefer less of: Absolutely nothing. this dining experience was really very well executed from start to finish.
Worthy of note: You can hire the whole or part of the restaurant for a private party.
Who would enjoy this place: Food lovers! Whether you enjoy plenty of spice or not, this is a great place to take friends.
I wish I’d also tried: Geang (Thai curry) prepared with Thai herbs and spices, cooked in coconut milk with basil leaves, bamboo slices, lime and vegetables.
Worth returning for: The banquet menu – bring three friends and its only £22 per person. Five starters and four main dishes to share with steamed jasmine rice – heaven!
Useful to know
My total bill came to exactly £60 for two courses plus drinks for two people. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
Book a table
Thai Up at the Quay
1 Eastgate St, Harwich, CO12 3EZ | 01255 554 532
Thai Up at the Quay was reviewed before the Government restrictions were implemented and restaurants were forced to close. Once things return to a sense of normality, why not make a date to eat out in three of your favourite Essex restaurants and help these businesses get back up and running?