Wander round the little, quaint bubble of Merton Abbey Mills and enjoy aromas from all around the world by Sophie Kalinauckas
Ban Yai Thai
With lots of Thai places to choose from these days, Thai doesn’t always feel very exceptional. However, Ban Yai Thai does it differently. Being a creature of habit I always pick the Pad Thai and this really is the perfect Pad Thai, great if you select it in the lunchtime starter and main meal deal. There’s a lot more on offer too, you might get lost in the menu of choice: from Satay, Por Pia, Tom Yum Gai to Kaeng Dang, Kaeng Keo Wan, Pad Namman Hoi. With an odour of coconut, oyster sauce, chillies and shrimps, you breathe in true authenticity as you sit back and relax amongst the purple flower decor. You’ll spot photographs of Gordon Ramsey on the wall as you’re transported to Thailand as soon as you step into the door.
As a sushi fanatic I was intrigued by this quirky joint. It closes in the winter months during my lunch hour so it remained off my radar for a while. It wasn’t until I stumbled across it on tripadvisor, placed in the top 10 sushi restaurants in London, that I made the trip one Sunday afternoon. My verdict? This place was not like some of the pretentious and overpriced sushi restaurants that I’ve witnessed popping up in central London. The unique appeal is its Rock N Roll inspired interior. The dishes were expertly crafted and contained an abundance of bursting flavour. The chef was very personable and passionately explained the use of ingredients and flavours to his guests. Next time I crave deliciously fresh fish, I won’t have to go far to get it. Better yet, it is now open at lunch time so I can get my sushi fix any time of day!
One afternoon when I was craving carbs I walked past the entrance and the smell of fresh herbs drew me in. The friendly and laidback owner is happy to tailor the menu to suit each customer’s preferences. My experience became educational as Fabio freshly makes all the orders in view of the customer. My pizza of pesto, artichoke and courgette was packed with unreal flavours and the fresh taste put established Italian chains to shame. So next time you are in the area, head to SW19 Italian for authentic Italian.
Having just visited the Belgium capital of Brussels I fell in love with the sophisticated food: the famous Belgium chocolate, even more famous Belgium beer, the original French fries and their fancy crepes. I was very happy to see that I could find my new found favourites right on the door step of Time & Leisure. When I say you can have anything in your crepe, I’m not fooling you, you can pick from camembert, crispy bacon, redcurrant sauce with baby leaf spinach and cooked ham, mature cheddar, tomato and garlic mayo to mascarpone, Belgian chocolate with almonds and berries, banana and light muscovado sugar. They even serve a selection of alcoholic crepes with Cointreau, Ameretto and Baileys for an early evening treat.
Ting And Ting
I was first intrigued by Ting and Ting as an inviting smell meandered up through the windows of the office. We followed our noses and found queues of people lining up to for the Caribbean place. There’s a real funky sensation as soon as you’re there, you can’t help but pull up a chair and join the crowd. It’s genuine Caribben Cuisine and we already had faith as we learnt of the multitude of awards they’ve won. We’ve also heard rumours that the Rum Punch is sensational, one for us to try for a Friday night after-work drink! Ting and Ting also put on regular music nights with live steel bands and reggae vibes.