12 March 2016

Koh Thai Tapas comes to Salisbury

Having been to Koh Thai Bournemouth many times, I was very excited to hear that the boutique restaurant chain was coming to Salisbury.

The upstairs area. No
dance floor in sight
I'm not a big fan of restaurant chains taking over our high street and we definitely have our fair share of them in Salisbury. However, Koh Thai Tapas is a small chain. And, each of the restaurants is very different and has an individual feel. Or as their website says: "Each Koh restaurant oozes its own personality, its own local charm."

In advance of the opening, there was chatter on Twitter for weeks about when it would open. So, I was delighted when it finally did and we popped along for Mother's Day.
The picture my husband admired

The restaurant occupies the buildings on Endless Street that used to be a nightclub, where I spent too much of my youth. But they have entirely renovated the inside and it bears none of the feelings of a dinghy nightclub. In fact, the interior is a great mix of modern design with an oriental feel. It's not overly cluttered and there's a lovely, orange glow to the place. My husband was especially taken with the huge artwork behind us on the wall.
Double parked. Well, it was
Mother's Day.

The greeter/host was really friendly (and pretty easy on the eye) and offered us a choice of tables because we had our son with us. In fact, all the serving staff were super friendly and helpful. I would say more so than the Bournemouth one where the staff can be overly "prompt", but perhaps that's because they are always so busy.

Our Tapas style starters
The food was the quality you'd expect from Koh. If you've never been, it's Thai food, but with smaller portions that you mix and match. The meal sizes certainly weren't boutique though. And, typically we ordered too much. 

We both had Dim Sum to start and there were five large, delicious dumplings on my plate. I also had the squid and my husband had the spicy prawns. Thoughtfully, they brought my son's noodles with the starters which is great because he has minimal patience. I then had the Thai beef salad and my husband had spicy friend rice.

My son playing with the
"carrot art". 
All washed down with two Margaritas from their extensive cocktail menu and I also got a free glass of Prosecco as it was Mother's Day.

The bathrooms were very luxuriant and smelt of lemon grass. Sadly, no baby changing facilities, but the disabled toilet was out of order (as was one of the ladies toilets so I think they still had some work to do). So perhaps there will be facilities in the future.

Overall, a fantastic dining experience. Delicious, quality food, friendly and attentive staff with a contemporary and relaxed atmosphere.

16 February 2016

Baroushka is a Lebanese delight!

With a one year old child, we don't often get to go out for an grown up meal. Generally we have to consider whether there is a kid's menu and if baby screaming will offend other diners.

Enjoying a Lebanese kiss
But with a babysitter organised (thanks Mum), we were excited to try the new Lebanese restaurant in Salisbury, Baroushka, as we'd heard great things about it.

Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by a friendly smile and welcomed to our table. And this warm and prompt approach to service continued throughout our meal.

The restaurant was like a long corridor and
My husband with a
Belly Dance
the d├ęcor was contemporary but with an Arabian twist. There were lots of mirrors and Moroccan style lights hanging from the ceiling and an open kitchen meaning you can watch your food being made, which I love.

We started with cocktails. I had an Arabian Kiss made from Champagne, strawberry and lychee liqueur and my husband had a Belly Dance which was a mix of massaya arak, cointreau, canadian dry with a lime twist. It's nice to try some fun, new cocktails and they were both delicious.

For our first course we enjoyed a hot and cold mezze to share which had loads of tasty morsels such as Lebanese sausage, hummus with shredded chicken and tabbouleh to share. It was so delicious, I could have eaten two of them myself!

The Lebanese wine
To follow, my husband had a selection of Arabian sausages with hummus, tabbouleh, pitta and harrisa and I had a lamb shawarma with a really sweet pomegranate molasses and tahini dressing.

All washed down with a bottle of Lebanese red wine. I'd never tried wine from Lebanon before and was really impressed. The one we chose, the Altitudes red from Ixsir, wasn't cheap (£28.90) but it was worth every penny. We thought it was similar to some of the wines we'd dried in Saint Emilion earlier in the year as it was rich, dark and oakey with a strawberry finish.
My Shawarma

The whole experience was fantastic. It reminded me of the first time I went to Greece and tried Greek cuisine or the food in Russia. It was like nothing I'd tried before and it felt like I'd gone on a mini holiday to somewhere I'd never been before. 

As well as Lebanese wine, they also had a couple of Araks to try which were served with ice and tasted of aniseed and a selection of beers from Lebanon, Israel and Morocco to try. And non alcoholic "mocktails too. 

Despite it being a Saturday lunchtime over Valentine's weekend, the restaurant wasn't especially busy. I think it's a real shame as I bet all the chain restaurants in Salisbury were packed. It's especially sad as one of my favourite independent restaurants, Crane Street wine cafe recently closed its doors and it amazes me that we still don't support local independents.
The hot and cold Mezze

This place is a real delight and it is refreshing to have something so new and modern in Salisbury. And, if you want to try something completely different and support a local independent then I'd urge you to book a table and give it a try. And, I've just discovered on their website that they do take-away, now then, where's my phone.....

Baroushka can be found at 90 Fisherton Street, Salisbury.