Only when the waiter politely spelled out the word could we agree that we were talking about sauce and not salt.

I had asked if one of the stir fries, which also comes with holy basil, came with much sauce.

To my embarrassment I had thought he had misunderstood me but I was totally wrong, he had been helpfully informing me that the dish in question did not come with much sauce.

So though I did apologise at the time I’d like to start this week’s column by saying sorry to the very helpful and attentive staff member at Sawadee who had to endure this blundering reviewer repeating himself like an Englishman abroad.

Anyway with that out the way I would like to report that the food at Sawadee is as lovely as the patient waiter.

Spicy yet flavoursome, both my dishes were wonderful.

Regular readers of Taste may remember my visit last month to Muang Thai, just along St James’s Street.

On my way there I strolled past Sawadee and remembered that I hadn’t been there for a while and should return to review it.

Like Muang Thai, not too much effort has been made with the decoration – there’s a big picture of a Buddha and some photos of the food.

There was some good Thai music too, all a bit 1980s.

The restaurant also includes a cooking and washing station, and it would be interesting to see that in action on a busier night.

I also noticed there were some Thai people eating at the restaurant, always a good indication of the quality of the food.

To make it a fair comparison I chose the salt and pepper squid for my starter, the same as as I had at Muang Thai.

I’m afraid Sawadee was the clear winner here.

The squid was not too chewy and had a fine fresh batter.

The chilli, with crispy garlic and onion also dusted over the squid, combined perfectly.

To steal a line from Moe, the bar owner in The Simpsons, it was like there was “a party in my mouth and everybody was invited”. Please excuse the obscure line but that’s what it reminded me of.

It was one of those moments when you take a bite and then have to stop what you are thinking about or any topic of conversation and just concentrate on the food.

A pound cheaper than Muang Thai too.

It was especially wonderful with the last of my Singha lager.

I enjoyed a great steamed fillet of sea bass at Muang Thai but decided to end the direct comparisons.

Instead, I fancied another spicy dish and the friendly waiter recommended the thai curry.

I decided to follow his advice and it proved the right thing to do.

The thai green prawn curry at Sawadee is a hot, sweet revelation.

It was another joyous first taste.

First it was sweet, then I could taste the lemon grass and coconut before the warm, sweet aftertaste of the chilli hit the roof of my mouth.

There were plenty of juicy prawns with their tails left on but it was the fresh vegetables which were the highlight.

There was aubergine, courgette, peppers, sweetcorn and carrots, cut like chips.

The rice went perfectly and after all that I did not even look at the dessert menu.

The conclusion is that Sawadee is a winner. When it comes to Thai food, the St James’s Street area of Brighton has an embarrassment of riches.

  • The Gourmand pays for all his meals.


Food - ★★★★☆

Service - ★★★★☆

Atmosphere - ★★☆☆☆