We hadn’t been in Falkirk long before I noticed a Thai restaurant near Falkirk Grahamston station. Lanna Thai looked small and unassuming and had a big sign in the window saying “Bring your own bottle.” I like Thai food and any restaurant offering BYOB tends to keep the price down, so that caught my interest. Add this to the fact that I’m keen to find all the best places to eat in Falkirk and to do that I’ll need to try a lot of places, and I was sold. Soon we were making plans to eat there. We decided to try it for an early dinner before the cinema on a Friday night.
We arrived at 18:30, worried that we hadn’t booked a table but fortunately we were early enough for this to not be a problem. My first impression of the restaurant was that it was small, cosy and done up with the usual style of decorations you see in Thai restaurants, but with the addition of fairy lights for Christmas. My second impression was that the waitresses were brilliant. They were really friendly, funny and welcoming. Both of the waitresses we spoke to that night were Scottish and very ready to admit that they spoke no Thai and couldn’t always identify all of the dishes. Hey, me neither – why pretend?
Corkage was a very fair £2.50 so we cracked open the bottle of wine we’d brought and started looking over the lengthy menu. I honed in on the pork and shrimp dim sum while P opted for one of his favourites – tempura squid. Naturally enough, a small bowl of prawn crackers arrived while we were deliberating over these choices.
The dim sum were lovely. Perfectly seasoned with just the right ratio of crisp to chewy. They came with a delicious, plumy dipping sauce and a small side salad. P’s tempura squid turned out to be tempura squid with tempura veggies, which meant I got to have his unwanted pieces of courgette and mushroom (bonus!) The pieces were in panko breadcrumbs rather than batter, which surprised me, but they were so crisp and fresh that I was very happy.
For our mains, we both got a bit brave and ordered things we had never tried before. P went for the pork Laab, a Northern Thai dish of minced pork stir fried in a hot and sour sauce – Lanna or Lan Na is a region in the North of Thailand after all, so this sounded promising. Meanwhile, I chose a dish called Steak Paradise (except I got it with duck breast). The menu described it as, “An exciting flaming dish… marinated with Thai rum cooked on a hot iron plate served with brandy, and served flaming on the table.”Um, yes, please? We both chose a side of jasmine rice.
P’s was delicious.It was quite spicy and full of flavour but, being a non-curry minced pork dish, entirely unlike anything I’ve tried before in a Thai restaurant. Also, there was tonnes of it. He couldn’t finish it. For shame.
Mine? Honestly, a little disappointing. I got lots of beautifully cooked slices of duck breast but it wasn’t served “flaming on the table.” It was served cooked and finished and ready to eat. To be fair, it was totally delicious but I couldn’t get over the lack of theatre that I had been promised. While I’d definitely return to Lanna Thai, I don’t think I’d order it again.
In spite of that minor disappointment, we were really happy with our meals and our experience here. Our bill came to a little under £40 which included our two courses, two bottles of sparkling water and corkage for our wine, so I thought that was a pretty good deal. We’ll definitely be back to Lanna Thai to try more of that extensive menu of theirs.