Review: Nadon Thai Durham turns out to be a good winter warmer

Nadon Thai Restaurant, Crossgate, Durham CIty.
Nadon Thai Restaurant, Crossgate, Durham CIty.
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Tucked away from the clubs and pubs off North Road and just a moment from the view of the city’s castle and river over Framwellgate Bridge, Nadon Thai is quite a find.

I had wracked my brain to think of somewhere to go on the instruction of finding something “snacky” rather than a full meal, and thought I’d come up with quite a canny list, but it was mostly shot down.

Jungle curry, with vegetables and tofu.

Jungle curry, with vegetables and tofu.

We’d already made our excuses and left after being seated in one venue, only to find the only options open to my friend were bread, hummus and olive – and he hates hummus and olives.

Instead, this place won our hearts, once I’d got my geography right after mistaking its location for Neville Street instead of Crossgate in the dark – it’s just round the bend, up the hill from the Fighting Cocks pub.

For early on a Thursday night it was busy with a mix of students and couples, but we were squeezed in without too much trouble.

Despite the fact we’d decided we were only going to have something quick, light, and therefore cheap, I caved quickly, but held back from having a proper starter with some Thai prawn crackers (£2.50).

Nadon Thai's yellow curry, with vegetables and tofu.

Nadon Thai's yellow curry, with vegetables and tofu.

I’d ummed and ahhed weeks earlier elsewhere over whether to have a yellow curry, and because I decided on something else then, that’s what I opted for this time round.

I decided to keep it healthier by choosing vegetables and tofu (£8.50) over pork, chicken or beef, which were a pound more expensive, or prawns, which are another pound on top of that.

Meanwhile, my friend picked the spicy jungle curry (also £8.50), I think largely based on its name.

The menu offers a description of each dish, but the one here: “A medley of vegetables and Thai spices in this spicy country style curry without coconut milk,” still leaves a bit of doubt.

In any case, it went down well.

The sauce looked watery, but it was filled with fiery chilli and plenty of colourful veg, with many cut with ridges, which is a pretty touch.

Meanwhile my curry, on a drab night, was just what I needed. From previous experience, I’d expected it to be mild and creamy, but this had a hot background which built up over time.

The vegetables just had the right crunch and there was lots of variety, including baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, plenty peppers, carrot and potato, sprinkled with cashew nuts.

I liked the firm tofu too.

The rice (£2.25) helped soak up the sauce well.

The servings were big enough for me to take away for the next day.

The restaurant, which has sister venues in Newcastle and Morpeth, has menus online, at www.nadonthai.co.uk so it’s worth taking a look at the descriptions and bonny photos beforehand to help make your mind up.

If there was one grumble, it was that our waitress had no idea what vegan meant.

Our questions were met with quite a loud: “HUH?”, and the suggestion my friend could add what meat he fancied, but the service was good and I’m keen to go back and try out more dishes.

The restaurant was just around the corner from Empty Shop, where we went to see a run of bands.

Check it out on Twitter @EmptyShop and give it your support – it puts on some brilliant events and offers a drop off to a food bank.

Fiona Thompson