Saturday 7 June 2014

KaoSarn, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, south London

A rough and ready Thai restaurant next to the main entrance to Brixton Village, KaoSam pulls in a steady stream of punters on a Saturday evening. Although there are a few tables inside, you are likely to be sitting in the shabby courtyard, possibly with a view of the big blue wheelie bins. You bring your own booze, but the restaurant does provide tap water, sometimes in warm glasses fresh from the dishwater. Still, the food can be excellent value - among the starters, the Tom Yum Goong (£4.90) is a  fine choice. You'll find fat juicy prawns floating in the vibrant lemongrass soup.  But the fried Geaw Tod is less successful. It can be disappointingly dry and crispy as the prawns and chicken encrusted inside the pastry may seem stingy and tired. The main courses tend to be more generous than the starters. The lamb massaman, served with steamed rice, is particularly good. There is plenty of succulent meat, potatoes and onions, while the coconut sauce is rich and satisfying. Great value for under a tenner. Although the service can be sluggish, when your meal is done, the staff may try to move you on quickly, so they can sit more diners.  In other words, a meal at KaoSam can be a mixed bag. 6/10