Try Thai is located within Manchester’s China Town on Faulkner Street. There is a separate bar area with its own entrance, but the actual restaurant is up a few flights of stairs. Ryo has been a long fan of their set lunch menu, which offers decent food at a reasonable price, so this is a semi-regular place for us. Elsa and Ryo arrived in Manchester on a sunny Saturday and felt like having something refreshing instead of the originally planned burgers. We decided on going to Try Thai again.
Elsa: I mostly like the interior of Try Thai. There is plenty to look at and I like the mix of the bright purple walls against the artwork. I particularly like the roof over the bar area. However, the mix between modern and traditional can be a bit jarring.
Ryo: I actually quite like the interior. It’s modern but also very Thai. For lunch, I usually go to more casual places, so every time I come here, I feel like I’m treating myself a long nice lunch.
Starters 1 – Thai Spicy Salad with Duck
Elsa: I really liked ordering Thai salads at Thai restaurants as I love the combination of something fresh, sweet and spicy. The salad was really nice and the duck was decently moist and complimented the salad quite well. I do wish however that the papaya salad was in this set menu as I prefer the freshness of the papaya instead of meat.
Ryo: I agree. The dish is nice – slightly on the salty side but the spicy/sweet/salty/sour combination works well, especially as a starter. Having said that, this dish as whole would work better as a side dish (to eat with rice) than as a starter. The dressing is quite overpowering, almost on the too salty/spicy side. I think it definitely needs more vegetables.
STARTERS 2 – Crispy Coriander Beef
Elsa: This dish is really nice as each piece of beef is seasoned well and as it’s cut into small pieces, you get that crispy deep fried layer with each bite. This dish is not spicy at all, so it really complimented the Thai salad.
Ryo: This is one of my favourite dishes from Try Thai. I’m not a huge fan of crispy beef in general but the coriander seeds really make it different. It’s fragrant but not spicy and the seeds add some interesting popping texture. The portion is also quite big for a starter. With some rice, it could easily be a main dish.
MAIN 1 – Stir Fry Three Flavour Sauce with Pork Belly
Elsa: I’ve never ordered this dish before as I have yet to find a firm favourite amongst the mains. The dish was nice and spicy and the pork belly never fails to please. I did, however, regret ordering pork belly in hindsight as the combination of duck and pork belly may not have necessarily been the refreshing meal I was originally going for. Sometimes my eyes get the better of me.
Ryo: Hot and spicy – just what you expect from a Thai stir-fry. You can choose your main dish to be made from different meat(Chicken, beef, pork and crispy belly pork) or vegetables but I always choose crispy belly pork in here. I don’t know how they do it but their belly pork is always so crispy. It’s not the lightest cut of meat, but it is full of flavour. That being said, I agree with Elsa that it was on the heavy side. Plus, I know you can use the three flavour sauce with any main ingredients but I think the sweet/sour/spicy combination works especially well with fish. It was a pity that they didn’t offer any fish, even some good old prawns…
Main 2 – Aubergine and Tofu
Elsa: I like this dish, but then again I really like tofu and aubergine so this dish already had a winning combo for me. The dish had a nice spiciness to it too.
Ryo: I love holy basil. I think it can enhance any ordinary dishes – much like perilla leaves (or wild sesame/shiso leaves, 깻잎 in Korean) in Korean food. Aubergine was soft and not too greasy. It was slightly on the sweet side, but I find a lot of Thai food too sweet for my taste anyway. So it could be just me.
Elsa: You can order an ice cream or a coffee as part of the set menu. I dislike coffee so I opted for ice cream, although I do remember on another visit asking if I could get a tea instead, and they were happy to oblige. The ice cream is nothing special, it’s just normal vanilla with chocolate sauce.
Ryo: The weather was hot and who could say no to ice cream? Though even when it’s raining and cold, I will go for ice cream. Plus, I remember that their coffee wasn’t good – it tasted like airplane coffee.
OVERALL RATING AND COMMENTS
Elsa: 6/10 -2 service which I feel is usually rushed and impersonal, -1 menu just because I’m being picky about not having papaya salad and not finding a favourite main, -1 interior for the slightly odd fusion of traditional and modern.
Ryo: 8/10 -1 for rushed service and -1 for the lack of some ‘lighter’ options in the menu. If you are a meat/deep-fried appetiser lover, you are in for a treat though. Overall, the lunch menu is a very good value for money.
WOULD VISIT AGAIN?
Elsa: Yes, as £9.50 for a 3-course lunch isn’t bad and I did leave feeling quite full. In future, I may need to dip into the £12.50 3 course lunch to find a firm favourite with this place though.
Ryo: Yes! They serve some tasty and very reasonably priced Thai food. A very good place to lunch.
Address: 52-54 Faulkner Street, Manchester, M1 4FH