Friday 4th August, 2017 – The Crazy Bear (Thai Restaurant), Stadhampton
We’d been to the Crazy Bear in Stadhampton before using a Groupon but we hadn’t tried a set meal in the Thai restaurant. This time we were going the whole hog. It was a lovely evening when we arrived, the sun shining, so we settled in in the garden for a pre-dinner glass of Champagne mixed with strawberries.
When we were eventually called to our table downstairs in the eccentrically decorated Thai restaurant (which is not a place for the tall diner).
Once seated we were presented a plate of edamame beans, dusted with Japanese chilli powder and rock salt. They were very tasty, which is not something you can always say about edamame; they are often more about the texture than the flavour.
There were also prawn crackers, but then you can’t have an Asian-inflected meal of any kind in the UK without them. They were accompanied by a fairly perky chilli dipping sauce.
The next thing in front of us was a collection of wagyu beef cornets, wrapped in a taco shell with ponzu sauce and wasabi, an interesting collision of continents.
We were then served a very pretty plate of seabass sashimi, with chilli, crispy garlic, coriander and more ponzu sauce.
It was fresh and lovely, and went very well with the crispy seaweed that came with it.
It was all going swimmingly so far. We now hit the next round of flavours, with a plateful of pad Thai, one of my favourite things in Thai food. It was dotted through with king prawns, bean sprouts and spring onions.
To go with the delicious noodles, we had a plate of aubergines in a black bean sauce. The aubergines had been chargrilled to give them a smoky flavour, and they went very well with the spicy noodles.
The piece de resistance though was the duck and pork offering, the duck honey roasted, and the pork glazed and roasted so that the belly was crisp and came apart when you applied a fork to it. There was a bowl of plain rice, some picked ginger, and a ferocious dipping sauce, full of heat.
We enjoyed every mouthful and did our best to clear it all away. When we really didn’t think we could manage any more, they cleared away and packed up the leftovers before threatening us with dessert!
We asked for – and got – a breather before they brought the final plate of food, a very stylish looking lime cheesecake, with an accompanying bitter chocolate sorbet (very clever to get the taste and texture combination to work), and a kaffir lime jelly. It was to our delight a refreshing collection of impressions of flavours, and not too big either. A very satisfying way to finish.
All that was left to do was to drive home, walking out via the fairylit garden.