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“ok food, terrible service”
Review of Esarn Kheaw

Esarn Kheaw
Ranked #5,670 of 24,439 Restaurants in London
Cuisines: Thai
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed January 7, 2014

We arrived for an early dinner. There was only one other couple in the restaurant. But by the time our starters arrived, the entire restaurant was full and busy. So we were happy to have arrived early. Well, then, unfortunately, our mains didn't arrive for an hour after we finished our starters. People who were seated while we were eating our starters had already finished 2 courses, paid, and left.

Ok, so sometimes mistakes happen... human error, understandable and can be forgivable if addressed right away. In this situation, it's not forgivable. When mistakes happen, I expect an apology, some kind of acknowledgment. Our server, a young woman who appeared initially to be quite friendly when the restaurant was empty became stressed and obnoxious as the restaurant grew busy. Without attitude we asked about our mains and she snapped, "There's a queue!" Obviously, she was defensive to start since a simple question could set her off like that. However, throughout our wait, the older man who seated us and the younger man who works behind the counter continually looked over at our table noticing that our food had not come. Finally the man behind the counter went into the kitchen, then came to our table and said, "It's coming." This all happened without a word from us after the female server smacked us down. When our mains finally arrived, I said, "It's ok if our order was lost, a simple acknowledgement would have been nice." Well, obviously, that was the wrong thing to say... so I must have deserved what happened afterwards. She started screaming, "There's a queue! Your order wasn't lost! There's a queue! What do you want me to do, push your order in front of the others? That's not fair to them! There's an order to these things! There's a queue!" And then she said, as she stomped away from us, "They're a nightmare!"

First of all, if we had been pushy and high-maintenance demanding things that we didn't deserve, then ok, maybe I could see why she would have reacted that way. But even if we had been that way, I still don't think a server should purposefully humiliate a paying customer the way she did. Everyone in that restaurant could hear what had happened. When we had left, there was another table of customers leaving at the same time that told us they thought she was out of control and clearly doesn't understand the meaning of "queue".

Unfortunately for that incident alone, we will never return to this restaurant. It's a shame because we thought the food was passable and it's a convenient location for us.

    • Value
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3  Thank J_fnk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 61 of 82 reviews

Reviewed November 27, 2013

A really good find on a pretty average stretch of the Uxbridge Road. Got a great, fiery hot takeaway from there - one of the best Thai meals I've had in London.

Thank Alison S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2013

The quality of the food in this little Isaan-specialized Thai restaurant is very good. It had a number of North-eastern dishes on the menu that I've not seen in any other Thai in London. I'd happily recommend this restaurant on the quality of the food.

However, I do agree with previous posters about the service from the son. Intrusive would be putting it mildly. He was over-familiar to the point of being rude, cracking jokes and being a pest. He seems to be mistaking customers for friends and behaves in a way that is inappropriate. The worst thing was messing with my food, trying to show me how "Thai people eat" by taking my cutlery from me, cutting the food and moving it around on my plate. I found this to be way over the top. I've been to Thailand many times and have a Thai girlfriend. I don't need a London-born Thai to teach me how to eat Thai food. He should just leave the customers to enjoy the excellent cuisine in peace. I saw him doing the same thing to other customers, so mine was apparently not an isolated case.

As regards the decor, it's nothing special. The restaurant is kitted out in what I'd call an "average Thai restaurant style", although the rather sickly shade of green used for the tablecloths, walls and furnishings could be updated. Colour choices may be limited though, as my girlfriend informs me that the "kheaw" in the name of the restaurant means "green".

I'd give this restaurant a "very good" rating for the food, but the poor customer service causes it to drop a star. If you're looking for Isaan food, you won't go wrong but be prepared to put up with intrusive service.

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1  Thank jimmbolondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2013

This is our favourite Thai in London, we tend to go every few months when catching a gig at the nearby Bush Hall or play at the Bush theatre.

The food is always great, very flavoursome, with some unique Northern Thai dishes which you'll rarely see in other Thai restaurants. Our favourites include the bamboo salad (very spicy), or any of the delicious curries. The food and wine are very reasonably priced.

The decor is now slightly tired looking (I don't think it's been renovated since opening over 20 years ago), and the very chatty service from the owner's son isn't to the polished Michelin standard, but this adds to its charm and makes it special in its very own way!

It's also a great place to go on Valentine's day (we go annually), as it's one of the few restaurants that doesn't force on you a marked up Valentine's day menu, and we love the super kitschy plastic heart lights and heart shaped loo paper they put out for the occasion!

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Thank GeorgeNDurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

The food at Esarn Kheaw is of a superb standard - and if it is not to your taste then they will even exchange it for you. What has changed is the service. The owners son has taken over front of house and while I can tell he is a very lovely man his style of service is excruciating. I know he is trying to be friendly, but it really is too much. At times we felt uncomfortable as his banter was very intrusive. He needs to take some tips from his sister and just tone it down a bit. We will go one more time after this but if the service remains the same we won't be returning.

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1  Thank Larkers40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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