Cheltenham Parade is home to many of Harrogate’s most popular eateries but one of the street’s best-loved dining establishments and veritable portal to Thailand is the Sukothai restaurant.
Once inside you will be wowed by the opulent décor, friendly staff, and extensive menu. Booking is an absolute must as we found ourselves in a restaurant surrounded by other diners early on a Monday evening, traditionally the quietest of nights for pubs and restaurants. The versatile layout and atmosphere would be well suited for a romantic dinner for two, a family gathering or a night out for a large group of friends.
Sukhothai is named after the city where founder Ban Kaewkraikhot was born and raised, 265 miles north of Bangkok. Her inspiration is the freshness and intense flavours of the local food in this historical region of Thailand, and she succeeds in recreating authentic dishes to share with her customers in the UK.
On arrival we were immediately greeted by the hospitable staff and were quickly asked about any food allergies as we were shown to our table. Clearly a business aware and conscientious of individual needs, and their responsibilities. The menu was also very clear highlighting vegetarian dishes, and any food containing nuts.
A simple spice guide graded dishes from mild, through medium to spicy, and if hot spicy food is not for you, they will happily provide a milder version of any dish. Their popular signature dishes were highlighted but the vast choice does not make selection easy. Whilst we did not try any of the vegetarian dishes, there was a large selection on the menu and looking around this lively diner they were wonderfully presented, appetizing and popular. Overwhelmed by the extensive choice and desire to try everything we decided to start with the Sukhothai Sharing Platter.
A delightful assortment of satay chicken, Thai fish cakes, chicken spring rolls, and tempura king prawns. Having seen an authentic bowl of prawn crackers served on another table we felt compelled to add these.
The sharing platter was marvellous, it came with a vegetable relish and selection of sauces which added to a flavoursome experience. Whilst it’s difficult to select a favourite, the sublimely tender and tasty chicken satay put up a good fight, but the star of the show was the two huge King Prawns. So often spoilt and overcooked, these were beautifully soft and tender, coated with a light and crispy batter.
Selecting main courses was much more difficult, having skipped the soup and putting aside the vegetarian we were down to one of the many Thai Curries or Stir Frys. Selecting curry we then had an assortment of options available: fish, squid, prawn, beef, pork and duck featuring in a number of dishes. I would challenge anyone not to find something to their liking on this menu, and if the choice is too difficult there are several appealing set menus available.
We selected Gai Sukhothai, a unique blend of chicken and vegetables with a hot and sour Sukhothai sauce and were intrigued to find out how a crispy haddock fillet would perform in a red curry so selected the Pla Choo Chee. The food was beautifully presented and did not disappoint.
Whilst we were suitably replete, we felt compelled to try Thailand’s national dessert of warm mango atop sweet sticky rice. An ideal end to a perfect evening.