What: Bangkok favourite Greyhound Cafe made its UK debut in Fitzrovia earlier this month, bringing modern Asian dishes to Berners Street. The Thai fashion and food brand operates 17 sites across Southeast Asia, and has amassed a stylish following due to its sleek design and fashionable credentials.
Who: Founder Bhanu Inkawat has been at the helm of the company since it launched, and managing director Pornsiri Rojmeta joined in 2004. While Rojmeta’s background is in management and advertising, Inkawat’s career trajectory is rooted in art and design.
The vibe: Spread over two floors, the restaurant is stylish and spacious, with black walls, wooden floor, tables and a few leather booths. A central open kitchen and hanging Thai decorations make the space a less formal iteration of the Bangkok site, which is a little more serious. Upon entering, the bar to the right seems a more sophisticated area than the restaurant to the left, where eye-catching, cartoonish cakes and coconut parfaits are on show in a glass display case.
The food: Familiar Thai flavours, like spicy som-tum, tamarind curry and jaew dressing, are applied to non-Thai dishes, such as German-style fried pork knuckle and Japanese edamame salad, to create an interesting and contemporary menu. A starter of ‘Three region khao tung’ comes as crunchy rice crackers with bowls of beef massamum, pork prik ong and mushroom laab to top them with (it isdescribed as ‘nachos with Thai flavours’). ‘Angry pasta’ combines wok-fried spaghetti with mixed seafood, holy basil and garlic in a Thai hot sauce, and a ‘happy toast’ dessert comprises slice of toast with bottles of Thai tea and coffee custard, caramel and condensed milk to decorate it with.
The drinks: A list of Thai-inspired cocktails comprises long and short options, like the ‘soi cowboy girl’ with gin, Campari, lemon, passionfruit and Thai basil, and the ‘bang lumpu zoo’, made with MeKhong, Chang beer, lemon and ginger. Alongside the cocktails are traditional Thai hot and cold drinks, including Thai tea with syrup, served with tea ice cubes and Thai iced tea with condensed milk and crushed ice.
And another thing: Greyhound was actually established as a menswear brand in the 1980s, and only expanded into a food business in the late 1990s.