THAI food has become one of Britain’s favourite cuisines over the last few years.
Subtle and, to Westerners, unusual combinations of fresh ingredients and spices are the trademark of this South East Asian fare.
And its popularity has increased as holidaymakers return home eager to enjoy dishes here that they have discovered abroad.
Having spent the equivalent of several months in South East Asia, I can understand why.
The lightly cooked food, combined with freshly picked herbs and spices, produce exciting flavours which simply zing off the tongue.
Yet good Thai restaurants are few and far between in the area. So I was interested to hear that an award-winning local eatery, the Old Bore, had just opened a Thai restaurant.
Three friends promptly invited themselves along. After all, sharing dishes is one of the joys of Asian cuisine.
Nam Nam Thai and Oriental Kitchen opened in June at the Michelin-accredited Old Bore at Rishworth, the brainchild of joint owner Lisa Hessel.
She and husband Scott have converted a private dining room into a restaurant with 40 covers.
Scott and a Thai lady called Joy are the chefs at this new establishment, which runs alongside the Old Bore’s English restaurant.
Scott started his career path at Huddersfield Technical College and has a successful track record in the restaurant industry in Huddersfield.
At the ripe old age of 23, he opened Mustard and Punch at Honley before going on to open the Trattoria at Honley (now the Lemon Tree) and Il Fresco, Holmfirth. He and Lisa created the Old Bore in 2004.
Scott has the claim to fame of being the youngest-ever winner of the Roux Brothers Scholarship.
He also worked at the Michelin three-star La Tante Claire in London.
Entering the Old Bore you may be forgiven for thinking that you have just stepped into a Victorian hunting lodge.
The atmospheric interior of this 19th Century former coaching inn, complete with dark sturdy beams, is adorned with numerous antlers, stag heads, fish plates and other hunting paraphernalia.
In contrast, Nam Nam, located in the left hand side of the building, is modern and quite stark.
The walls are painted khaki, the concession being the fireplace wall which sports attractive sateen wallpaper with a large modern floral motif.
A combination of beers and an extremely good Australian Rosemount Shiraz, priced at £18, in front of us, we set about the main task.
One of the best things about Thai restaurants is the wonderful combination of starters. We ordered five of the 20 starters on the menu, each costing between £5 and £6.
Not being a fan of rubbery cephalopods, it was against my better judgement that my gatecrashing chums ordered the salt and pepper squid.
What a delight! It arrived enclosed in a light tempura batter and delicately wrapped in a cone of Chinese newspaper.
The texture was superb; tasty and tender without a hint of rubber. This was probably the best squid I have ever eaten.
We also had the traditional favourites of chicken satay and Thai fishcakes, along with tempura of shredded vegetables, which were all delicious, especially the fishcakes.
The one disappointment was the miang kham, a dish new to all of us. It comprised betel leaves with coconut, shrimp, lime, shallots and ginger. We all found the texture dry and the ginger overwhelmed the other flavours.
The green chicken curry is to the Thai restaurant what the chicken tikka massala is to the Indian restaurant: the staple. So we ordered one (priced at £8.95).
Melody, who regards herself as something of a connoisseur on the matter, gave this one the seal of approval. “Very tasty,” she said and I agreed.
Sue’s vegetarian jungle curry (£7.95) blew my socks off, or would have, had I been wearing any. To be fair, it was described as ‘hot’ on the menu and Sue did enjoy it.
After two good dishes, our second experiment disappointed again.
The Saigon sizzling pancake (£10.95), a Vietnamese dish made from coconut and turmeric with a pork and prawn stuffing, was all crispy pancake and not too much pork or prawns.
However, both the light and fluffy jasmine rice and the pad Thai noodles were excellent.
After all this, none of us had room for dessert.
Verdict: Although the two unusual dishes were not to our taste, we all thought the fish and traditional Thai dishes were very good.
Nam Nam is a bit off the beaten track, but worth a visit. We’d also like to try out the Old Bore itself.
Nam Nam Thai and Oriental Kitchen
Oldham Road, Rishworth, HX6 4QU
Tel 01422 822291
Opening times: Wednesday to Saturday 6pm to 10pm, Sunday 5pm to 9pm
Disabled access: Yes, but toilet via a small step or fire exit.
Bill: £22 per head including drinks.
Would you go back: Yes, and we’d also like to try the Old Bore.