A FEW weeks ago the Pu Ja Thai restaurant in Lindley suddenly shut.

On the Sunday evening it was open. By the Monday it was no more. Nothing was known until, like the veritable phoenix from the flames of a red hot chilli, another cracking Thai restaurant has emerged with new owners – brother and sister Nopphan Leksawasdi and Jirapa Bootsamongkol.

This one wears its heart on its name. Thai Chilli.

It’s been done out inside with wood panelling on the walls and a cosy, candle-lit ambience that’s out to create a spa-like sense in culinary form.

In short, it’s a relaxing place to be with the candlelit tables cleverly spread out to give diners space for themselves and their conversations.

If you don’t want to be spotted there are tables tucked right away from the world.

Colours are warming – red and gold is everywhere – and the brown leather seats are comfortable.

Thai food is renowned for its vibrancy – both in colour and flavour – and the quality of the service.

Thai Chilli delivers on all three. These people are out to please.

The service comes with a smile and a determination to make it a special meal to remember. You feel they care about the diners and, more importantly, what their customers really think about the food.

It’s a big menu too and gives some insight into the Thai language.

The names are great conversation starters – and, in some cases, stoppers.

Did you know chicken is gai, pork is moo, prawn is goong and duck is ped? See what I mean.

Including side dishes there are 150 dishes to choose from on the menu – and that’s before you start with the wide range of set banquets.

So choice isn’t the problem, but making it certainly is.

There wasn’t much among that vast array we didn’t want, but stomachs are funny things and ours don’t take that much to fill these days.

My wife Ruth’s salt and pepper crispy chicken came with garlic salty pepper along with onion, green and red pepper.

It was lightly fried and came with an even lighter stir-fry, but something red and hot was lurking there.

The thin stripes of red chilli didn’t look dangerous but pop a whole one of those fellas in and it could be something of a fiery challenge.

Yet cut up small it gave the chicken something of a kick, as did the sweet chilli sauce.

We asked for more sauce. It was there within moments of the question being posed.

My Thai fishcake was minced prawn and crab meat marinated with garlic served with plum sauce. Again light on the outside and yet a solid inside.

So the starters were fine, but the mains took things to a whole new level.

Ped Volcano is a famous flaming crispy duck with spring onion, red and green peppers, mushroom and pineapple in red wine sauce served in sizzling plate.

It arrived with a flash of drama. Enter the chef himself resplendent in his new kitchen whites.

Down came the dish which he then covered with a special sauce before the piece de resistance – he set it on fire and there’s quite a whoosh as it goes up.

“Enjoy your meal,’’ he said as we sat gobsmacked watching the flame dance around the dish. Certainly a volcano, but without the ash.

The sauce had a sweetness and richness all its own, a perfect accompaniment to the succulent duck.

Ruth’s massaman chicken curry was in a creamy, peppery sauce with more kick than the sole red chilli on the menu suggested. Great for us, but tastebud tickler for someone expecting a mild dish. It taught us one thing.

Tell the staff exactly what strength you want each dish and I’m sure they’d sort it. No problem.

We were asked if we were enjoying both the starters and mains.

You get the feeling this was a genuine inquiry – not just going through the motions.

We also had coconut rice – an ultra-sticky dish with a veritable bounty of coconut in it – heavier than the far lighter and thin soft egg noodles.

Looking down the menu, other stand-out dishes appear to be Weeping Tiger – grilled beef with a black pepper special sauce – and for seafood fans mussels with chilli, basil leaves and garlic, and Pla Ma Now which is seabass steamed with spicy and sour sauce and, yes, you’ve already guessed it, red chilli.

Beware the Jungle curry which comes with a three chilli symbol warning on the menu so you know it’s going to be hot.

This curry is from south of Thailand and is cooked with aubergines, fine bean, bamboo shoots and sweet basil leaves – and the menu stresses it’s without coconut milk.

So Lindley has got another great Thai restaurant to replace the one it lost and all is right with the world once again.

Thai Chilli

16 Acre Street, Lindley

Venue Thai Chilli

Tel01484 544226


Opening hoursOpen Monday-Saturday noon to 2.30pm and 5pm-11pm, Sunday 12.30pm-10pm.


Disabled accessNo

The bill£51.65 including a bottle of wine

Would you go back?Certainly