This review is in partnership with match.com
We’ve had Passorn on our radar for a good wee while, but had been saving it for the appropriate occasion. We’d heard lots of good things from very good judges of Thai cuisine, many of whom called it as their favourite Thai place in the city.
We were joined, this evening, by Hannah, who is just renewing her acquaintance with our fair city. We shared some excellent coffee and cakes with Hannah at Lovecrumbs, recently, and look forward to her contributing to our questing joys, over the next few months.
Passorn brands itself as “angelic dining”. Certainly, the exceptional cornicing and pillar details of the dining room are a delight, but the acoustics are not entirely conducive to whispered, tete-a-tete dining.
Service is a pleasing blend of classic Thai formality and pragmatic cheeriness, as the waitresses have quite a confined space in which to operate. They manage it with the familiarity that comes with experience of managing a room for several months and years.
The menu posed us plenty of challenges, as page after page held new and interesting delights. MJ and I had a little contretemps over which one of us was going to order the whole steamed sea bass. I eventually backed down, with her teeth poised around my jugular, instead opting for the crispy fried duck. Hannah was set on the red curry, opting for the beef as the central meaty component.
Our starters appeared, most promptly. I’d opted for the soup, with a very decently prepared chicken tom yum, full of good aromatics. It pleased me rather nicely. Hannah’s “Mr and Mrs” prawns hit the spot very nicely. MJ’s tenderloin beef salad seemed pretty fair, but didn’t tickle my taste buds in quite the way I might have expected.
My duck main course was fine, and the accompanying rice and noodles were nicely prepared, but main courses were all about Hannah and MJ’s choices. MJ and I were both thinking the steamed sea bass would be served as a whole fish, head, tail and all, but reference back to the menu did mention that it would be filleted. It was a smartly prepared dish, but lacked the theatre that we’d pre-supposed.
Hannah’s red curry was hilarious. The waitress had asked her how hot she would like it to be served, and she had quite conservatively suggested “3″, which was the middle option of five. Now, I’m not overly au fait with Hannah’s tolerance level for spicyness, but this putatively middle-of-the-road option blew her flippin’ head clean off.
So overall, I found Passorn an enjoyable place, serving nicely executed dishes. It didn’t rock my world, though, and given its unhelpful acoustics, it isn’t somewhere that lends itself to small party dining.
For a party of four or more, you’ll be able to order a nice range of dishes, across starters and mains, that will lend themselves well to sharing a collaborative dining experience. In that endeavour, the charmingly helpful staff will help you with your choices, ensuring that you get the best impression of this smart and stylish place.
Last night Blythe and I had a late dinner at Passorn in Tollcross. I admit that the reason for the late dining was entirely my fault since I was working late, but nevertheless, we made it to the restaurant and had our table at about a quarter to nine.
We were seated in the main dining room which was cozy and stylishly decorated, but had I been wearing a dress or skirt, sliding across the booth seat to my chair might have been a bit awkward.
The service was pretty good. They tried to do the whole, pouring water out for you instead of just leaving a bottle on the table, but they failed to note that with our hot meal that the water would be needed more frequently than might normally be the case.
For a starter, I opted for the Plar Neur – Yum Saow Dod, which was a beef salad with lemongrass, mint, chilis, and topped with a special tamarind dressing. Blythe went for soup (surprise!) and Hannah ordered the prawns served two ways, which were well cooked and the sauce to accompany them was quite a nice addition.
My salad was nice. The beef was a bit less tender than I had hoped from a tenderloin, but the dressing was the kind of good mix of sweet and spicy that Thai cuisine does so well. It was also the perfect size for a starter.
After staring Blythe down over who was going to order the steamed sea bass, I won and was well rewarded. It worked out for the best since it gave us another meat, in the shape of duck, to taste in addition to the chicken, beef, prawn and fish dishes.
I’ll note here that though we ordered mainly meaty dishes, Passorn offers a nice array of vegetarian options, throughout the menu and within its own section of the menu.
It didn’t take long for the mains to arrive. Part of me was pleased that the steamed sea bass was not a theatrical trickster of a dish and was simply two fillets, with a nice lemongrass and lime leaf flavour with the hit of sweetness and spice from the chilli just coming through. The fish was well cooked and was certainly my sort of fresh, well-made dish.
Hannah’s dish, the brightly coloured, red beef curry dish was presented in a small dish and I, knowing Hannah, wondered if that was enough. Turns out, it was plenty and she powered through the heat of the #3 dish and finished it…and all of our water…and most of the rice…and more water. (to be fair, I wasn’t particularly effected by the heat so my conclusion is that I have an American tolerance for heat)
The sides were good stalwarts. The rice was fine. The noodles were fine with pieces of stir fried veggies through them.
Overall, as mentioned, the acoustics of the restaurant don’t lend themselves to an intimate dinner to get to know someone, but it is a great wee place in that neck of the woods for a bite of Thai food.
MJ scores Passorn
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Blythe scores Passorn
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Hannah, Blythe
We ate: chicken tom yum, “Mr and Mrs” king prawns, tenderloin beef salad, red beef curry, whole steamed sea bass, crispy duck breast
We drank: lager, water, espresso
We wore: London chic, Edinburgh sheep, pinstripe pleats
Total bill: £76.90 (but as this was reviewed in partnership with match.com, they kindly looked after that)