Of all the different types of cuisine available in Leeds city centre, it seems to Little Oliver that Thai is the most reliable when in search of something quick and tasty.
I can’t remember having had a less-than-good Thai meal here, having sampled a decent proportion of the dozen or so restaurants in and around the city centre.
This means there is plenty of competition, and a tendency towards flashier-looking offerings such as Zaap Thai, Chaophraya or Thai Edge in a bid to draw in the punters.
In this busy market-place, Line Thai Oriental, slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre on Great George Street next to the LGI, relies on authenticity and elegance as its selling point.
According to the restaurant’s website, owner Chakapop Kulnork and head chef Chripaphun have 35 years of restaurant experience between them and want to recreate the true Thai dining experience, which they say “has been lost in recent times”.
Little Oliver ends up sitting in Line Thai Oriental by himself for a late lunch after a planned review elsewhere turns out not to be a goer. When I arrive it’s clear the lunchtime rush, if there was one, has been and gone. The restaurant is very quiet at 2pm on a Wednesday, with only one other person in.
As a lunch option that’s easy on the wallet, Line Thai takes some beating. You can get two courses and a drink for £9.95 or one course and a drink for £7.95. The food comes quickly, though not so quickly so as to arouse suspicion about its provenance.
With an bottle of ever-reliable Singha beer ordered, I opt for Tom Yum, a spicy soup flavoured with lime juice, lemongrass and chilli oil, as starter.
It’s a good choice, with plenty of fresh ingredients and a nice kick that forms a thin coat of sweat on my brow. I’d have liked a few more pieces of chicken and mushroom to bulk it out, but it’s a very pleasant warm-up.
The main course, Gaeng Masamun curry, is milder but still flavoursome, with bits of potato and peanut (again, not too many) served alongside the pork.
The decor is pretty basic, with just wood and textured red painted walls, with one or two paintings, a few pot plants and some colourful hangers on the ceiling with lots of little brightly-coloured elephants gently rotating.
Rather than shouting from the rooftops, it’s clear Line Thai’s charms are of the more subtle variety, with delicate plinky music playing in the background as the chef works away in the open plan kitchen. And as a good value lunch option, offering authentic, tasty food, it is deserving of our attention.
Line Thai Oriental
39 Great George Street, Leeds city centre