It took my friend, Teri, coming all the way from America to show me what was right under my nose. We wandered down Kensington in search of something to eat and we stumbled across this hole in the wall, literally, if you blink you’ll miss it. But for the sign above that indicates that, down a set steep stairs and one funny step is heaven on the taste buds.
Papaya Tree is a lovely little place on Kensington High Street, in the basement of a building, it makes a good case for being one of the best Thai places in London, trust me, I’ve tried a lot. Its small and clean, simple white decor set against wooden flaws and a mirrored wall to create a spacious illusion. All in all, uncomplicated and cosy.
Don’t judge Papaya Tree on its wait staff who are not dressed in the bug standard black and white garb with bow tie, don’t judge it on the lack of fanciful decor and gimmicks found in other high end establishments, don’t judge it on the sometimes lacklustre service, the staff are not rude but they could be a bit more pleasant, but absolutely judge it on the food. The splendid food. Authentic taste, well cooked, well seasoned, well spiced and simply delicious. I am currently obsessed with the Pad Krapow, spicy stir fried dish with basil, chilli and garlic, which I have with duck or seafood. But I am also a sucker for the Geang Kheaw Wan- green curry with the seafood option. My friend also reports that the vegetarian dishes are just as delicious.
Lunch is between the hours of 12-3.30, price range from £5- £7 and dinner is from 6-11pm, price range from £6-£22. Its the only place I eat lunch on the weekends I’m in London now. But don’t just take my word for it, word has it that Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin, yes that Jimmy Page, likes it there too…oh well, there you go.
Papaya Tree- 209 Kensington High Street London W8 6BD. 0207 937 2260