Express & Star

Food review: Excellent food and friendly service at Thai Lanna Chasewater

It would be fair to say I had high expectations ahead of my visit to Thai Lanna Chasewater – and it exceeded all of them.

The appetisers and dips were a great start to our set meal

From browsing the restaurant’s website and reading some of the online feedback, I was convinced the food would be very good and it would be a memorable event. I wasn’t wrong.

My husband and I arrived just after 7pm on a Friday night. We hadn’t booked a table and I could see the restaurant was already quite busy. But after a friendly welcome we were told it wasn’t a problem and were shown to a table. We must have timed it well, as it soon started filling up.

The restaurant, which is near Brownhills, is a 40-minute drive from our house so we were pretty hungry by the time we arrived.

There is always so much choice at Thai restaurants that I struggle to choose and usually end up just selecting a dish I have had before.

So, this time, we opted for the Mae Jem Set Meal, which is available for two or more people.

It’s one of seven set menus – five with meat and fish, one vegetarian and one pescatarian – that Thai Lanna offers. They range in price from £19 to £27 per person.

The appetisers were delicious

The restaurant says that each one been specially selected to provide a balanced meal at a reasonable price and that they are ideal for an introduction to Thai food.

According to the website, Thai Lanna, which also has a branch in Stone, Staffordshire, was the vision of Benjamart Denis, who was born and grew up in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Benjamart trained as a teacher, specialising in agriculture and domestic science and since then has gained considerable experience in the restaurant industry both in Thailand and UK.

Her aim was to bring a bit of Thai culture to the Midlands and provide customers with excellent food served in a relaxed, informal and friendly atmosphere.

From the description, the set menu we had chosen sounded delicious and we eagerly awaited the first dish.

Stir-fried prawns with fresh chilli and mushrooms

To keep the hunger at bay, we were presented with a bowl of mixed prawn crackers.

They didn’t last long – my husband can’t resist a prawn cracker!

The appetisers arrived first, served in a number of pretty blue bowls and decorated with a flower carved out of a carrot.

The platter, which also came with a number of dips including sweet chilli sauce, featured two grilled chicken skewers.

They were marinated with spices and served with a peanut sauce.

The selection also included chicken wings in a red wine sauce, vegetable spring rolls and ka-nom pang na moo gung – deep fried minced prawns and pork on toast, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

We also enjoyed thung tong Ggai – Thai ‘golden bags’ – deep fried thin pastry bags filled with chicken and herbs.

Everything was full of flavour, nicely balanced spices and was completely delicious.

It was served with a side that I can only describe as being similar to coleslaw and contained very thin slices of apple and carrot in a tangy dressing. It was very tasty.

It was a great start to the meal, although we were both feeling slightly concerned about the amount of food we had ordered.

Next up, was a Thai spicy soup with chicken, lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves.

A Thai spicy soup with chicken, lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves

Spicy was definitely the correct description as the broth, which also contained pieces of mushroom, was pretty fiery but nicely judged so that the spice didn’t linger. It certainly warmed us up.

The next dish to arrive at the table, thankfully not immediately after the soup, was the Thai green chicken curry.

It contained a blend of green chillies, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf, herbs, spices and coconut milk.

We also had some egg-fried rice. At this point, a member of staff told us that should eat the next dishes one at a time with rice.

The curry was served in a ceramic pot on top of a tealight to keep it warm and was lovely and creamy.

The Thai green curry with chicken

According to the restaurant’s guide to eating the ‘Thai way’, it is customary to commence eating as soon as the rice and one of the dishes has arrived.

The other dishes, which included stir-fried beef in a red wine sauce, sprinkled with cashew nuts, arrived shortly after the curry.

We were also presented with stir-fried prawns with fresh chilli and mushrooms, stir-fried duck with fresh ginger and black mushrooms and stir-fried mixed vegetables. Each dish was a delight and the individual flavours stood out while also complementing each other really well.

It was hard to pick our favourites because it was all so good, but the curry and the duck dish just edged it. It was a lot of food but the portion sizes were ideal for two people to share and be able to sample everything.

Stir-fried duck with fresh ginger and black mushrooms

It was hardly surprising that neither of us had any room left for dessert despite the very tempting menu which included ‘homemade’ Thai sweets such as guay buad chee – banana cooked with palm sugar and coconut milk.

Also on the menu was ma-praw muan – a pancake roll filled with palm sugar and coconut, served with vanilla ice cream.

There was also a range of sorbets and ice cream desserts.

Overall, we were both left feeling incredibly impressed by a flawless meal.

There was a pleasant atmosphere in the restaurant, which was also nicely decorated.

I heard a couple who must have been regulars decline a menu and immediately order one of the set menus because they had enjoyed it so much last time.

The bill, which also included two lemonades, came to £57.50 which seemed very good value.

We were both pleased to have discovered the restaurant and have already recommended it to a number of friends.

So if you’re in the mood for Thai food, or want to try something different, then you can’t go wrong with Thai Lanna.


Thai Lanna - Chasewater

79 Hednesford Rd, Brownhills, Walsall WS8 7LT