I have lived in Wimbledon for twenty years and eaten at most of the restaurants at one time or another. I now divide my time between London and Thailand and tend to avoid Thai food when I am back as I am often disappointed. I heard that this restaurant had opened recently and read some good reviews so I thought I would try it out with a few friends.
The decor is a modern and cool and we were met by Nat who is the owner and takes care of front of house. He is very welcoming and friendly and gave us a complimentary bowl of nuts with our drinks. He told us that he wants to cook freshly prepared food with good ingredients and no MSG. Our selection of starters were delicious. Don't miss moo ping (grilled pork on skewers) with papaya salad. I haven't seen this in other Thai restaurants here but in Bangkok it is popular street food. A stall in Silom Road Bangkok has long queues most nights! Nat said they will have other 'specials' added from time to time once the restaurant has become more established. It is not fusion food - this is Thai food as it should be.
Our mains included green chicken curry, lamb massaman and chicken with chilli and basil - all were superb along with the pad Thai which has just the right moist consistency.
We didn't really have room for desserts but we read about the locally made award-winning ice cream they serve. What a treat! The mango sorbet and honeycomb flavours were both outstanding. The coffee was great as well. It's Nespresso - another unusual aspect to find in local Thai places where often the coffee is undrinkable. Nat is a coffee-drinker himself and wants to give his customers the same as he likes and the same goes for the food.
The attention to detail, authentic tastes make Iyara the best Thai restaurant in the Wimbledon area and one of the best in London.
That was all two weeks ago but today I popped in at lunchtime. They have a set menu for only £6.50. What a bargain! The food was just as good as they serve in the evening.
It was quite quiet and Nat told me it has been patchy since the Olympics and sometimes very full and other times quiet. With food this good I suspect it will soon be hard to get a table once word spreads around so try it while you can. Prices in general are fair. Not the cheapest around but you get what you pay for and I would say it is good value for money.
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