Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Archive review: Siam Pearl is now closed In the middle of the last century, the mock-tudor cafe of K. Gray & Sons Ltd was...

Archive review: Siam Pearl is now closed

In the middle of the last century, the mock-tudor cafe of K. Gray & Sons Ltd was an impressive feature of the High Street where day-trippers took afternoon cream teas before strolling along the golden sands. Today, this oasis of civilisation survives amongst the tacky T-shirt shops as the Siam Pearl Thai restaurant.

Inside, the spirit of the old Tudor Cafe is strong, with an impressive dark wood panelled interior, bakelite fittings, leaded windows, and even a manorial fireplace complete with a real flickering fire – albeit a gas-powered one. However this is no flock-wallpapered pastiche. The restaurant has a tangible feel of old colonial Thailand. Rather than a brutal refurbishment the Siam Pearl has taken the existing characterful building and built upon it with great effect. The restaurant gives this remarkable interior a real taste of the east, with sumptuous hangings, big, wooden chairs and tables and hosts of tiny touches that really give the diner a sense of being in a special place.

An attentive and courteous waitress seated Matt and Cat at a spacious and well-set-out table, where they perused a large and complex menu. The prices were very reasonable, and as most of the dishes were priced the same, working out which dish to choose was not dictated by cost. Fortunately the English explanations were extensive and easily understood, and the waitress also gave good advice when the neophytes made enquiries about the exotic dishes on offer. Cat chose a chicken dish which was, as promised, very mild, and Matt chose pork with black pepper. A pleasant surprise was a complimentary bowl of prawn crackers with the drinks.

When the meal arrived both diners were delighted with their choices. The black pepper and pork was a succulent and tasty dish, and the chicken, served in oyster sauce, was mild and tender. Both Matt and Cat had chosen fried noodles to accompany their main dishes, and these made an enjoyable change to the ubiquitous rice. The food was not as in-your-face as the sizzling fresh dishes offered by the Hong Kong Express, but rather was more measured and cooked for longer, whilst still providing plenty of flavour. Your reviewers were most impressed with the entire experience.

Archive review: Siam Pearl is now closed