Thai a Roy Dee review: Why this restaurant proves Leeds has earned its nickname 'Little Bangkok'

It’s no surprise that Leeds was recently dubbed Little Bangkok.
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The number of Thai restaurants, from chic high-end establishments to cheap and cheerful cafes, has risen rapidly of late as the city discovers a real appetite for the country’s cuisine.

It’s a far cry from when the most exotic meal you could expect was a pepperoni pizza. Now the city centre abounds with food from around the globe - and seemingly one of the most in-demand is the Thai.

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While an October Sunday in Leeds can’t compete with the temperatures of Bangkok or Koh Samui, the choice of restaurants on offer isn’t far off. And while some are half full or have just a few customers seated, Thai a Roy Dee was full to the rafters.

Thai a Roy Dee, Vicar Lane, Leeds (Photo: Steve Riding)Thai a Roy Dee, Vicar Lane, Leeds (Photo: Steve Riding)
Thai a Roy Dee, Vicar Lane, Leeds (Photo: Steve Riding)

There was a real buzz about the place as we took our seats. Perhaps it was the lanterns dotted around or maybe the fairy lights in the window - there was a lovely, lively feel to the informal yet comfortable dining room.

The place had clearly attracted a number of the city’s Thai community as well as students, young families and couples all hoping it lived up to its reputation for excellent food and generous portions at a reasonable price.

The menu is extensive and best perused over a bottle of Singha beer (it used to be BYO but now has an alcohol licence).

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Vegetarians will be overjoyed at the choice and quality of what’s on offer. My yum tofu sord - sauteed bean curd with chilli, lemon juice, spring onions, ginger and peanuts - was as hot and zingy as it was plentiful. I’ve been presented with smaller main courses but managed to clear the plate with a bit of help from my guest, whose chicken spring rolls were every bit as crisp and crunchy as he had anticipated.

Starters dispatched, it was on to the main. A green curry was perhaps not the most imaginative choice but it’s a good yardstick by which to measure a Thai restaurant’s quality - and mine came up trumps. A light yet satisfying sauce with tofu, bamboo shoots and the all-important pea aubergine was one of the best I’ve had. The lemongrass was assertive without being overpowering while a generous amount of chilli ensured more Sigha was required.

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My guest’s chef’s special of khao niao and moo yang - marinated grilled pork on skewers served with steamed sticky rice - was another hit. This was clearly authentic food at its very best.

Our only gripe was that once our mains had been delivered, service was somewhat non-existent. We would have ordered desserts but grew bored of sitting around looking at our empty plates and opted for the bill instead.

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It was, however, a small blip on a truly excellent evening. The convivial atmosphere, superb food and minute bill (it came to less than we usually pay for a take-away) ensured that we will certainly be returning.

Fact file

Address: 120-122 Vicar Lane, Leeds LS2 7NL

Telephone: 0113 245 2174

Open: Seven days a week, noon until 11pm.


Food - 9

Atmosphere - 8

Service - 5

Value - 9

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