IT’S always a big downer when one of your favourite restaurants closes.
So when Barn Asia shut down in October, I was gutted. However, the eaterie has been reborn.
Now called Electric East, it has a lot to live up to, as Barn Asia made The Times’s top 100 best restaurant list.
With apparently the same staff and chefs, it has stuck to dishes from Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
For me, it was always the laid-back atmosphere and style which made Barn Asia stand out and the new incarnation thankfully matches that to a T.
That is helped by the eclectic decor, which looks like it hasn’t changed much. Again, thankfully.
To begin with, we had the “pre-dinner snaggles” on offer – crispy breads and dips and taster curry pots with warm roti, which both sparked conversation about what they were and tantalised the tastebuds ahead of the meal to come.
From the starters/Tapas dishes, I had crispy spring roll of salmon, spinach and wasabi. Both rolls contained a sizeable chunk of fish and came with a really nice sweet dipping sauce.
My partner had the Caesar salad with bacon, which also had fish in it, much to her surprise. But it didn’t disappoint, even with the unexpected anchovies.
Mains included mouth-watering massamam curry, chiang rai curry and pad Thai, and the much-vaunted Vietnamese shaking beef.
The menu included a Christmas special beef Wellington, which looked out of place, although a diner at the next table demolished one in record time.
Nevertheless, my non-vegetarian missus chose the sweet potato and root vegetable pavé, with crispy tofu and coriander cream.
For anybody else whose bog-standard Comprehensive education didn’t cover French cuisine combined with quadrilaterals, a pavé is food presented in a rectangular shape.
Anyway, she thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the “delicious” sauce.
I had tempura and breaded sole, with lime-crushed peas and chunky jenga potatoes.
When it arrived I was mocked for seemingly choosing the South East Asian version of fish, chips and mushy peas.
However, the three pieces of fish, in lovely crispy batter, were plenty and tasty, and came with yet another dip.
The dessert menu was decent if not inspiring. My partner had the chocolate and clementine bread and butter pudding, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
I had the lemon tart with meringue ice cream, which was a good-sized slice and had strong flavours, which I like.
The bill came to £74.40, which included a bottle of wine and two Tiger beers for £21.60.
Electric East has made a good start to replace Barn Asia, so now just to hope it can stay open and pick up the custom it deserves.