Thai Restaurant The Pepper Tree
19 Clapham Common Southside
London SW4 7AB
Tel 020 7622 1758
The Pepper Tree
Located close to Clapham Common tube station, the Pepper Tree is quite a popular Thai restaurant by judging the queues outside of it. Inside, it is like a canteen with long tables and benches you share with other people. A little like at Wagamama. Not much privacy, and it is very noisy. There must be some kind of bad acoustic in the room. Anyway, we had to yell to have a conversation.
We ordered the Chicken Satay (Chunks of barbecued chicken on a skewer with peanut dip– £3.15) and the Dim Sum filled with minced pork, prawn and water chestnuts with soy and ginger sauce (£2.95) as starters. The main courses were the Red Chicken Curry (a creamy Thai curry cooked with coconut milk, bamboo shoots and sweet basil – £4.80) and a Pepper Tree Curry (a vegetable curry with Thai aubergines, krachai, fresh chillies, lime leaves and sweet basil – £4.50). We also ordered two portions of steamed rice (£1.80 each) that could be useful in case of seriously hot curry, and two great Singaporean Tiger beers (£2.90 each). Talking about the curry and how hot they can be, the red chicken curry was rated as medium hot while the pepper tree curry was rated hot.
The Chicken Satay with peanut dip was very good. The chicken was nicely barbequed with a crispy outer, but still nice and moist inside and the peanut satay sauce was an excellent accompaniment – not too heavy, nor sweet as is sometimes the case with peanut sauces. The three chicken skewers were quite a generous portion. The Dim Sum were quite good with nice flavours. I quite like Thai cuisine and its abundant distinctive aromas.
The Thai red curry was excellent – one of the best I’ve had. It was lightly spicy, and very nice and creamy – just the way I like it The chicken in this curry was very tender, and had been well marinated in the coconut milk. The dish had many subtle flavours, which were well balanced. I’d certainly order this again. The pepper tree curry was seriously hot! I am into hot food but that one was hot to the point it was difficult to eat. I managed to eat all of it but I suffered. Even two hours after lunch my stomach was still burning. That said, the waiter did warn about it and now I know at the Pepper Tree that hot really means hot! Just as well we had the rice!
They had interesting desserts like yellow beancake (home-made Thai beancake served warm with vanilla ice cream – £2.95) or sliced bananas in warm coconut milk (£2.50) but we did not try them because it was becoming too noisy. It was nice to go out to the Common just in front of the restaurant for enjoying some peace.
Tiger (Singapore) beer
Overview of the two starters
Red Chicken Curry
Pepper Tree Curry
Overview of the two main courses
Details of my plate with a mix of the two main courses
Cost and conclusion: for about £25 (service charge not included) it is a great place for a quick lunch. The food is good and well priced. The service was fine too. Despite the rush, everything came in time and they were attentive. No need to yell to get the bill Recommended if you are looking for a quick meal in the area!