New flavours for first time at Leeds restaurant in 15 years

STAPLE: Traditional Thai dishes which have been satisfying customers for 15 years.
STAPLE: Traditional Thai dishes which have been satisfying customers for 15 years.
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One of the first Thai restaurants to open in Leeds has changed its menu – for the first time in 15 years.

Since head chef and owner, Ban Kaewkraikhot, came to Leeds and opened her first Sukothai restaurant in Chapel Allerton, the menu has stayed the same.

It bucks recent trends in the food and drink industry whereby restaurants seem to do the same as the competition, but it seems to have gone down well with Thai food fans.

Ban has in that time expanded her empire from being a one-woman band to now including one in Headingley, South Parade, Harrogate, Nottingham, Newcastle and also Zaap Thai – employing around 300 people.

Now she is refining the menu – and reducing it from 17 pages and 200 dishes to one A3 page and half as many options.

She says it is to bring the fresh flavours that have emerged in Thai cooking to Leeds foodies.

However, there were some dishes that simply had to stay.

Ban said: “We are still keeping a lot of our signature dishes for the loyal customers but changing others to reflect the change in Thai food over the last 15 years.

“Thai food was virtually unknown then and I wanted to bring every flavour from ever corner of Thailand.”

Firm favourites such as Pad Thai and satays will stay on the menu but the new menu will see more duck dishes, Issan sauces that are being used a lot in north eastern Thailand, salads, stir-fries and desserts.

Ban added: “It was six months in the making and we whittled it down from 60 ideas for new dishes to 20.

“I wanted to introduce new elements that people wouldn’t have tried before – there is a lot more to Thai food.”

The new menu will be launched in the restaurants from March 26.