Chinese and East Asian
There is a bright, cosmopolitan feel to this place. We arrived to find diners enjoying a balmy summer's evening with a relaxing meal at the covered tables outside. Even though we visited on a week night the atmosphere was lively and welcoming, with cool jazz playing softly in the background. The proprietors circulated quietly, offering an excellent, unobtrusive service; they seemed to know many of the customers by name, which hints at the popularity of the restaurant. We were encouraged to take our time over the menu, and how glad we were not to be hurried.
We deliberated over dim sum and were tempted to try the tempura prawns, but finally settled upon the crispy soft-shell crab, deep fried and tossed in garlic and black pepper, and the salt and pepper calamari. What an exceptional way to begin our meal - both starters were as fresh as could be and impeccably cooked. I followed with organic salmon in Panang curry sauce, and was delighted with my choice - the salmon was beautifully spiced, whilst retaining the delicate flavour of the fish. My partner opted for the lamb Panang curry, which delivered the perfect combination of chilli heat and spicy flavour; we also shared a generous helping of tempura-fried vegetables. With a varied and intriguing menu to tempt every palate and an excellent wine list to suit every budget, no wonder Thai Eighteen is a firm favourite amongst those who dwell in Hadley Wood.