Jim Thompson’s Brings Unique Blends of Exotic Food to Chelsea

617 Kings Road, London SW6

In February of this year Jim Thompson’s incredibly popular Oriental Restaurant Bazaar at Kings Road in Chelsea added a new wing to it’s award winning restaurant. Located just two blocks from Chelsea Village and only four blocks from the famous World’s End, the area could not be any trendier. Owner Anthony Carson is the son of comedian Frank Carson, and his restaurant/pub provides a superb stopover for shoppers tired out from a strenuous trip on the Kings Road. The décor is atmospheric enough to match the rather exotic food with silk drapes, Indonesian hanging ornaments, potted plants, glass lanterns, lamps and globes.

An experience well worth having in Perth and other parts of Australia are the Asia-Pacific food courts. Typically they offer a wide variety of Indonesian, Asian, Polynesian and Oriental dishes. For the price of entry you can select from all the dishes on offer and leave when you can’t walk any more. The aromas and flavors are enough to make you swoon. The ubiquitous Jim Thompson’s brings a similar experience to London.

This blend of Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnam and Pacific Rim in a fun atmosphere, and the way they blend it all together is the special achievement of Jim Thompson’s.

The restaurant is named after the famous American who revitalized the silk industry in Thailand fifty years ago. His house in the center of Bangkok was filled with art, and his parties were renowned throughout the East.

There are several other Jim Thompson’s in Croydon, Ewell, Putney and Winchmore Hill, and two Jim Thompson’s Flaming Wok in Chiswick and Wimbledon. It is also an object lesson in creative marketing, with somebody on the staff always watching the calendar to come up with special events and special deals.

All the dishes are individually prepared and the menu is clearly marked to denote the level of spiciness. Set menus range from 14.95 to 22.95 with a minimum of two people ordering, which includes a starter and jasmine tea or filter coffee.

My visit was on a Thursday night, but the place was hoppin’ with caricatures. There were great hoards of attractive girls with wandering hands - amazons seeking male prey. The demure blonde with curls and a tense look of trepidation - “will he come”? The two businessmen seeking common ground, negotiating over wine and beer. Fortnum and Mason shopping bags.

My host Charles Laos, who turned out also to have lived in Washington DC, guided my evening well, initially recommending drinks. A warm glow came over me as I enjoyed A Long Slow Screw with Amaretto. An unusual and entirely satisfying cocktail.

I sampled part of the world ……
INDONESIA: The Beef Rendang (beef cooked in coconut and ground spices, perfumed with lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves) contained very tender lean beef that crumbled in the mouth. Decorated with red and green chiles slices.
MALAYSIA: Sambal Belacan Udang (Tiger Prawns, stir fried with onions, garlic, peppers, and tomastoers in a sauce with red chilies and shallots). Very rich and sweet with fresh, still crisp, vegetables.
VIETNAM: Thit Ga Xao (chicken slices stir fried with cashew nuts, mushrooms, peppers and spring onions in oyster sauce). The oyster sauce really sets this off nicely.
THAILAND: Kaeng Kiew Warn Gai (Chicken with green chiles, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, Thai aubergines, lime leaves and sweet basil leaves).

…… But not enough - there’s SINGAPORE, PHILIPPINES, JAPAN, LAOS, and BURMA to try.

I’m going back for more! Strewth - I’m salivating again.

Wally Robertson, June 2000

Tel: 020-7731-0999 or 0800 199 9333
Website: Jim Thompson's Web Site
Menu faxback facility: 020 7823 3525
Dress code: Casual
Hours: 12.00 noon to 11.00pm, 10.30pm on Sundays.
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