STEPHEN DAVY-OSBORNE heads to the newest restaurant on the block and finds a new favourite

THAI cuisine is certainly proving to be the flavour of the month in Old Town at the moment. Our streets are already home to the hugely popular Thai Orchid and Old Town Thai, which has recently expanded its offering to included Thai tapas, but it seems there is room for another contender at the table. And it is setting its sights firmly on giving the established restaurants a run for their money.

Despite having only been open the best part of a month, Siam Thai on Godwin Court already has a clean slate of five star ratings on TripAdvisor, which goes some way to showing how well the new restaurant is going down in the town.

It’s nabbed a popular spot too. Just opposite from firm favourite Rendezvous and next door to Kenzo 72, the restaurant has opened up in the spot formerly occupied by the popular Jade Garden – the first restaurant to take up residency in the court 13 years ago. Owner Joan Luu made an emotional farewell in June announcing the restaurant’s closure.

But in what seems like no time at all, the restaurant has undergone a very colourful top-to-bottom make-over to mark the change in cuisine.

Gone are the soft pastel colours of the Jade Garden, replaced by a bright mix of dark reds, bright pinks and gold detailing. Not to mention some fabulous wall-art, and a striking light feature spelling out the restaurant’s name.

A mad dash through the rain to the restaurant meant we were treated to a very warm welcome as soon as we stepped through the door – the mood lighting instantly transporting us far, far away from the sodden Godwin Court car park.

With soft drinks all round to start (my dining companion for the night unexpectedly choosing to show solidarity to me for having to drive that night) we decided to order the Siam Thai platter (£9.50 per person) in order to give a range of starters a try. We weren’t disappointed either. Cooked up on said platter (which was actually an incredibly pretty, ornate bowl) were vegetable spring rolls, delicious chicken satay sticks smothered in a generous serving of that delightful sauce, prawns in blankets (not a take on that popular Christmas dinner accompaniment, in case you were wondering!) the ever popular prawn toast (although these were clearly an XL take on the starter staple) and seafood fish cakes.

I have to confess to not being the biggest seafood fan, but it was actually me rather than the other half who cleared the bowl clean.

For those who know what they want, the starts menu is also home to aromatic crispy Ped Grob duck (£9.80 a quarter of £18 a half), chicken Pandan leaves (£6.90) and golden pastry bag thung tong (£7.50) filled with chicken, onions, potato and curry powder, served with sweet chilli sauce. The chefs can also whip up steamed mussels that come served with lemongrass and Thai herbs – and a two chilli heat warning – as well as vegetable Thai tempura.

For main I was drawn to the Siam Thai’s chef specials, and in particular the Old Siam grilled chicken (£13.90) which was a whole corn fed chicken breast marinated with garlic and Thai herbs severed alongside a deliciously sticky sweet chilli sauce. A side of delicate steamed jasmine rice (£3.60) alongside really complemented the flavourings of the chicken and made for a wonderful dish.

The other half stuck with what he knows best and ordered the duck Pad Thai (£12) which – to be fair – was a slight variation on the chicken Pad Thai he usually orders (which was on the menu for £10.90). There are also vegetable, beef and pork options on this dish at £9.90, £11.50 and £10.90 respectively.

Each of these meats can also be ordered as a Pad Se-iew, which features egg, vegetables and dark soy sauce, varying in price from £7 to £8.90, or a Pad Mee with the addition of spring onion and beansprouts. Or for those wanting something with more of a kick there is the Pad Ki-Mao, which is stir fried noodles with egg, garlic, fresh chilli, vegetables and basil leaves.

But there is far more to this menu than just noodle dishes, with the usual suspects of Thai green and red curries as well as the increasingly popular Jungle Curry (three chilli heat warning – beware!) as well as roast duck twice cooked curry and lamb Siam Thai curry (both £11.50).

And that's before you even take the extensive seafood main menu into consideration.

However, my next visit to Siam Thai will definitely see me order the Massaman slow cooked beef, which promises a curry cooked with coconut milk, potato, onions, cashew nuts and a touch of tamarind sauce.

Word of the warm welcome offered at Siam Thai has clearly gotten around, as on this particular Friday night we went to visit the restaurant had a good number of bookings. One large group there had clearly come to celebrate a significant birthday (the birthday cake and sparkler candle gave it away!) which is high praise indeed for a fledgling restaurant to be given the responsibility of making someone’s magical day.

If their opening month is anything to go by there is no reason to assume that Siam Thai will not go on to become a firm favourite of Godwin Court – maybe even outliving its popular predecessor.

Siam Thai

75-76 Godwin Court, Swindon SN1 4BS

Tel: 01793 611199

Parking: Yes, in the public car park

Disabled access: Yes

Our ratings:

Food: 9/10

Choice: 9/10

Decor: 9/10

Customer service: 9/10

Main course prices: £8.95 - £16.95

TripAdvisor rating: 5/5