Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sri Nam review (Canary Wharf Thai, Viet and Malaysian restaurant) - disappointingly bland

Address: 1 North Colonnade,
London E14 4EY
Tel: 020 7715 9515
Nearest Tube station: Canary Wharf

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: **
Service: **
Ambience: ***
One of the common complains about working in Canary Wharf is the lack of proper lunch places in the area. While there are a couple of cheap eats in Canary Wharf, places, which are not part of a restaurant chains are far and few. Well, there’s considerable excitement when Jamie’s Italian opened up in the area some time back but that was it. Since then, Nando’s opened up yet another branch with more Pizza Expresses and GBK Burgers following.

It turned out that there are still some places that I have not been to in the area. HP suggested Sri Nam for lunch the other day and I would have to google for its location if not for her offering to walk me there.


Anyway, Sri Nam’s façade is relatively plain and inconspicuous with only the words “thai dining room oriental bar” up front. The interior looks more impressive I must say. A short flight of stairs leads to its casual dining area – a somewhat oval seating area with bar seating, a couple of circular tables for fours and smaller square ones stacked up along the wall. Clearly, Sri Nam is meant for smaller parties and being right smacked in Canary Wharf, this is just as well.

“Pan Asian cuisine – Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian” were splashed across various restaurants directories’ description of Sri Nam. After my experience at Melati quite some time back, I am understandably sceptical. My fears were confirmed when I saw its menu. The mains (all going for £7.50) include laksa, phad thai and mee goreng among other items. Even prata featured under the sides section as well. I wonder how prata would taste like with phad thai. Must be like black pudding with fish and chips I suppose.

“Erm, its laksa is not the laksa that we know,” HP cautioned me. “Uh-huh,” my mind was already wondering off. “But I’m going for that anyway as I feel like having something soupy,” she continued. I went for phad thai, which I always go for at a Thai restaurant (or what seemed to me like one).

Five minutes later, both dishes were served. Now, that’s a record time for a phad thai. The staff got HP’s order wrong but even the correct order was served under a further five minutes later. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sri Nam’s kitchen had all its popular dishes precooked and lined up all ready to be served.


Not surprisingly, my phad thai tasted as if it was directly churned out from the assembly factory. Not only the flat noodles had set, its accompanying carrots and cucumber stripes, peanut bits and even prawns seemed to be merely stacked on top of it. It reminded me of the fare that I had at my barrack’s cookhouse. I could picture the noodles briefly tossed (if at all) then placed on a plate before the rest of the ingredients were arranged on the four corners of the plate. The lemon slice didn’t help a bit. I had to rely on chilli sauce to add some flavour to the bland concoction.

HP’s laksa appeared to be more like curry rice vermicelli. Really, Sri Nam should really rename the dish as it is. It reminded me of the laksa that Giraffe used to serve, which came in green curry.

While I’m sure Sri Nam has its redeeming qualities after reading the raving reviews online, they weren't apparent to me. HP did mention something about Sri Nam's main dining area on the first floor so that's probably it. Sri Nam is probably a conducive place for quiet conversations during lunches, and frankly there is a good reason for it to be so.

View Larger Map

Sri Nam on Urbanspoon

Share/Bookmark Pin It


Su-Lin said...

:( That pad thai looks pretty sad. Generally, these "pan Asian" restaurants never serve anything right - "Jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind!

Mr Noodles said...

I can only echo Su-Lin's comments. I'm always wary when I see an eatery dubbed 'Pan-Asian' and 'Oriental'. Both dishes are a crime against noodles.

tim_g said...

i can confirm that this place is the worst

C K said...

I think Sri Nam meant to cast its net wide and capture as much of the lunch and possibly dinner crowd as much as possible. But from what I saw, it wasn't very successful.

Have you encountered any other 'pan Asian' restaurants in London?

@Mr Noodles,
True, true. Any notorious examples? Have you tried Banana Tree? There's one along St. John's Street. That's another stomach filler without much finesse. But its goreng pisang (or banana fritters) wasn't too bad.

Ah, looks like you've been there before. Which dish did you go for?

canary wharf hotels said...

haha :D tim_g I'm sure there is a worse place... somewhere. There is something sick in the term Pan Asian