East Street is a Pan Asian restaurant located near Tottenham Court Road, hidden away in a tranquil side road from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street Shoppers. With its vibrant yellow signage, shining so bright and aptly depicting the “Land of the Rising Sun”.
The interior is a fusion of the colourful, vibrant street markets of the mystical Far East, with hawker stalls of Singapore and the noodle vendors of Tokyo. This combined with painstaking details such as the wall signages, bustling music and animated projections on the walls, you feel as though you stepped into the street markets of Bangkok.
The menu is extensive boasting an array of traditional Pan Asian dishes from small plates for sharing, street food, curries, hearty soups and noodle and rice dishes; everything you would associate with your culinary voyage across the East Asian continent.
For starters we ordered a selection of dishes from the “Small Plates” section.
The “Japanese Style Sticky Wings” were twice fried which achieved a thin yet very crispy coating, whilst the chicken was remarkably well cooked and moist. We often find with sticky wings, the coating is either too thick or oily. In this case, the batter was light yet crispy as a result of it being fried twice. Whilst the wings were not slathered in sauce, the sweet soy and chilli glaze was subtle and surprisingly enjoyable.
The “Thai Coconut Prawns” were crispy and grainy in texture owing to the grated coconut coating and the prawns were well cooked. Although these were good, the taste did not leave a lasting impression.
The “Malaysian Chicken Satay” dish was generously covered in satay sauce. The sauce was bold, with a strong taste of ginger coming through and nutty in texture, whilst the chicken was moist owing to the use of thigh meat.
The fresh “Vietnamese Summer Rolls” was a light and healthy choice. The hoisin and peanut dip was exceptionally good and went well as a dip for all of the starters.
For mains we sampled a dish each from the “Curries”, “Stir Fries”, “Rice” and “Street Food Section”.
From the “Curries” section were ordered the “Singaporean Fish Curry” which consisted of Mahi Mahi Fish with coconut milk, turmeric, curry leaves, galangal, sweet potato, tamarind and cherry tomatoes. This turned out to be one of our favourite main courses. The fish was tender and the sauce was creamy, rich and sweet with a hint of spice in flavour, whilst the tomatoes and coriander added freshness.
From the “Stir Fry” section were ordered the “Thai Basil in a Fiery Oyster Sauce”. This was a conundrum of a dish, as initially we felt dissatisfied with the taste, but with each further bite, we become more and more enamoured, as the flavours started to cultivate and become more prodigious. The sauce was creamy and bold in piquancy, yet not overpowering, thereby allowing the other components of the dish to exert their flavours with the chilli adding a much needed kick towards the end. The jasmine rice helped bind all of the flavours together further. This was another one of our favourite dishes.
From the “Rice” section we tried the “Nasi Goreng” which is a must in any East Asian restaurant. The Nasi Goreng although enjoyable and eggy in taste with varying textures of the crispy onions, fried rice and fresh vegetables, the dish did not quite deliver the bold flavours you associate with Nasi Goreng.
From the “Noodle” section we ordered the “Thai Curry Noodles” which was another dish which got better with each bite. The dish consisted of yellow noodles in a red curry sauce with chicken, ginger, fresh lime and red onion. The sauce was of a generous quantity, almost soup like, and deliciously creamy and subtle in taste. This was another unsung hero of a dish, however, a tiny bit more spice would have lifted the dish from good to grandiose.
For dessert we tried the deep fried “Banana Fritters” and “Malaysian Pancakes”. The coating on the banana fritters were too thick and over cooked for our liking and the Malaysian pancakes tasted more like a savoury dish than a dessert. In both cases, the desserts did not quite deliver the same enjoyment factor as the savoury dishes. Despite that, the cinnamon flavoured ice cream was surprisingly good.
East Streets design and concept is certainly unique amongst the countless other restaurants in the area as you no doubt feel like you have been transported to the hustle and bustle of the street markets of Bangkok. Whilst some dishes delivered bold flavours of the far East, a handful of dishes did not quite leave a lasting impression. However, the menu is extensive, offering something for all tastebuds and is an ideal place for large groups or those who enjoy sharing tapas style small plates and street eat food in a vibrant and fun surrounding that will leave you wanting to book your next trip to the far east.
Disclaimer: Halal chicken only. We were invited by East Street to review.