Restaurant Review: Chang Mai Kitchen

Chang Mai Kitchen is one of my favourite Thai places in Oxford. Tucked away down a little alley on the High Street, we only found out about it when we went there for a friend’s birthday a few years ago. We’ve been back a good number of times since, most recently on Tuesday, and continue to enjoy it. I’d highly recommend it as a place to go and to bring friends to.

Food 9/10: Everything I’ve had here has been great. My usual fare at Chang Mai is the pad thai, a long-time favourite, but on Tuesday I thought I would branch out with the venison with jungle curry. I didn’t regret this, as the highlight of this was the broth, excellently flavoured and seasoned, with just the right amount of heat for my English sensibilities. The ho fun noodles accompanying it were cooked just right, and the satay I had as a started worked well too. I also tried some of the beef with oyster sauce another person had- also very well done- and the portion sizes are definitely big enough for a full meal.
Food here is not going to break the bank either- with mains usually coming in under £10. Adding some rice or noodles will of course put you over, but if you are paying just over £10 for this quality of food, you are doing very well.

Drinks 7/10: We had a bottle of house red, an unclassified French wine. A Grenache-Syrah blend, it was more fruity than I would have expected, and the finish was a little disappointing- but I’ve had a lot worse for house red. The rest of the wine list was uninspiring, but given that Thai cuisine doesn’t lend itself too well to wine, this isn’t a huge loss.
However, if you don’t want wine, there’s a nice selection. Sake, good beers for the food, teas (especially the Thai Ice Tea, which is delicious) are all available, and lend a nice authentic touch. In fact- I often have the Thai Ice Tea as a pudding by itself.

Atmosphere and Service 8/10: The building itself is lovely- with wooden beams all over, and well decorated. If you’ve got a big group though, it can be a problem, as being a small place means it’s tough to put a lot of tables together. Similarly, getting to the bathroom can be a bit of a squeeze if the place is busy. The staff are lovely (as I have usually found in Thai places), the service was timely, and the kitchen staff adjusted the spice level of the dish for one of our party. Never had a problem, and always felt welcome there.

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