You are drawn into the atmosphere immediately, a Tuk-Tuk greeted us before we even went in. Inside the decor is specially chosen to match the Thai Street Food that is being served. It works very well, and in spite of the lack of Thai humidity, and the Pride revellers coming in, I really felt a complete distance from the outside world.
We were brought a big basket of Prawn Crackers and Sweet Chilli Sauce while we chose our food. The menu is big, and there was plenty of choice for vegetarians. The children's menu for 'Young Adventurers' has 3 options, but with lots of different variations neatly laid out, so my children were instantly able to choose their dishes.
The children's starter was disappointing for my 7 year old. He's usually the one with a sense of gastronomic adventure, and he was ready to try some Thai food. Carrot sticks did not impress him. Luckily his Dad was really more than happy for an excuse to get the Bangkok Street Platter for 2 (£7.50pp), which the 3 of them demolished in about 5 minutes!
I do let my children choose a starter. Carrot sticks are great, but best for little ones, and by 6 and 7 my kids don't want to watch us eat something that smells delicious while chewing on a carrot stick. It also seems to be accepted norm everywhere that children's main meals arrive while the adults are eating their starter - we specifically requested this didn't happen, as we wanted to eat main meals together.
My starter was the also beautifully presented vegetarian Por Pia Sod Tofu (Fresh Tofu Rolls). The Tofu was gorgeous, they were delicious. My 18 yo found them a bit minty, and the sweet syrupy water on the plate disturbed him, but the flavours went together really well, and with the exception of some tired carrot, everything was very fresh and it was a very cleansing dish.
For main course both boys chose the 'Mix And Match Thai Tray' - both selected noodles, one with Grilled Chicken and Slightly Spicy Green Curry, and the other with Pork and Sweet Barbeque Sauce. All of the food arrives separately, which is brilliant.
You honestly can't be sure if your child will like any 'sauce' until they taste it, and a ruined meal spoils the event for everyone. This way they took as much as they wished. I thought the trays were a bit 'school dinner industrial', as did a couple of other diners who commented, but my boys weren't bothered in the least, and they did the job.
The boys were also given a copy of a special mini National Geographic Magazine, which they loved. It's full of interesting and unusual facts, and can be read in 10 minutes, so was perfect while we waited for our food. It taught them that in Thailand people eat with their spoon and use their fork to push food onto the spoon. This instruction they took very seriously at first when eating!
I chose the classic Phad Thai with Tofu (£9), our teenager chose the Phad Ped Tofu (Tofu in red curry sauce £9) and my partner chose real mouthful, Phad kwang Toong Mook Krob (Pork Belly and Choi Sum £10.50)
The food was gorgeous, really fresh and full of flavour, and my partner couldn't stop talking about his rice. Bellies pretty full and all very satisfied, the Waitress surprised us at this point with the Creepy Crawlies section of the kids meal. Dried Worms..
I honestly expected both of my boys to try them, they have no illusions as to where their food comes from, they understand they eat animals, and what part of the animal it is. What I didn't anticipate was that my 6 year old would think they were delicious, and shovel them into his mouth like peanuts! Nice....
After watching that, bizarrely for dessert I chose something I don't usually like, Banana Fritter (£5.25). I regretted it as soon as the order was placed. Actually it must have been a message because I enjoyed that dessert more than anything else I've eaten for months. Paired with the Vanilla Pod Ice Cream it was utterly gorgeous and easily as good as it looks.
My partner chose Sticky date Pudding with Thai Whisky Ice Cream (£5.25), and my young boys chose Strawberry Ice Cream from their menu - not incredibly adventurous, but after the Dried Worms I think it was enough...
Clearly we really enjoyed our meal. Everything was really full of flavour, and my boys almost cleared their plates, as did the grown ups. The layout of the children's food is brilliant, and allows for children who don't like spice, as well as those who like things hotter. The boys had the extra starter between them, but they were full up until bedtime and really enjoyed the whole experience.
Thaikhun Manchester is a lovely place to eat and the staff were really attentive and friendly without being invasive. You can watch your food being cooked, you aren't rushed, and the lighting and warmth were perfect for a relaxed family meal. The price is good and the food delicious.
My only advice would be that you ask for the children's food to arrive at the same time as your main course unless your child is happy and slow eater, and definitely try the worms...you may be surprised...
Thaikhun Manchester is in Spinningfields, and they have branches in 8 different locations around the UK. You can find out more on the Thaikhun website....
Our meal was free of charge for review.