Running in between the hustle and bustle of the Main Building of Russell Square and dark, dreary Vernon Square isn’t particularly enticing. However, on the side of the main road there is a hidden Thai gem, namely, Paolina’s Thai Café.
Elegantly draped in pictures, statues and wooden décor, Paolina’s Thai Café is a favourite amongst young working professionals and small groups of students. With its friendly service, authentic menu and value-for-money sizes, it’s an excellent restaurant that will brighten up your dreary afternoon at Vernon and combat the winter hunger.
Once inside, be prepared to be enticed by the tasty selections they have. From tom yum soup to green thai curry, everything is cooked on the spot, served fresh, and steaming hot. The modest exterior definitely doesn’t do justice to the freshness and quality of the inside. Assuming you manage to get pass the winding lunchtime queue that always seems to form, I would recommend the following dishes: Pad Thai, a classic favourite and the Prawn Tom Yum Soup with coconut rice. Whether you are an experienced Thai foodie or just unsure about trying somewhere new, these two dishes generally set the standard for the rest of the establishment for me. The first time I tried the Pad Thai, I was impressed not only the portion, but the genuine spice and peanut flavour that is hard to come across elsewhere. Being a die-hard prawn pad thai fan, I was honestly very impressed as the chef managed to fry some of the flavour into the glass noodles instead of it just being a side relish. I was also (too) excited about the tom yum soup, which smelled just like lemongrass, had the tangy, yet spicy texture; the fact that the broth was light, unlike most Western soups, was a plus. In essence, the food is an excellent representation of the Southeast Asian palette.