Husband and wife team Ben and Benjie Marshall took over the former Two Brewers pub on the corner of Queen’s Drive and Towngate in Ossett and opened Malagor Fine Thai Cuisine in 2011.
Considered to be a brave move at the time , nevertheless it seems to have paid off and the restaurant has developed a reputation for good food and service in the intervening years.
An unusually-shaped building, from the outside it is hard to disguise its former use but once inside all semblance of a local hostelry is dispelled.
The stylish and totally transformed interior is apparently all down to Benjie, a fine art graduate who designed the restaurant based on her love of her native Thailand: cushions, lamps, hand-painted murals and other accessories give the impression that a lot of care and attention to detail has been lavished - and it all comes together beautifully.
Sectioned off into four smaller ‘rooms’ on different levels, the overall impression is of a bright, beautifully furnished and decorated space which oozes calm and contentment. Each section has its own distinct theme and the curves of the room are used to their best advantage.
The Malagor experience begins as soon as you walk through the door to be welcomed with a traditional Thai greeting by a lovely smiling waitress.
Our visit took place early on a quiet midweek night and there were few other diners already seated so we had a choice - opting for one near the large picture window - not that the view over the car park was anything to savour. Having said that, this large and easily accessible car park - a legacy of when it was the pub - is a real benefit and saves a lot of hassle. A list of local meat, fish, fruit and vegetable suppliers is listed on the menu - a nice touch. Herbs and spices are flown in directly from Thailand and the chefs, it is stated, do not use additives such as MSG.
If you’re unfamiliar with Thai cuisine opting for one of the banquets may be the best option, ranging in price from £18.95 to £28.95 per person they offer an interesting selection of dishes.
However, we were feeling adventurous and decided to go it alone. While we mused a platter of rather splendid complimentary prawn crackers arrived with our drinks- crisp and not at all greasy.
A choice of 22 starters and two soups, ranging in price from £4.95 includes plamueg (crispy squid) hoy crati (mussels steamed in coconut milk) poo nim chup pang tod (deep fried soft shell crab). The Siam platter mixed starter had the most appeal, at £14.95 for two it is not cheap but promised a good selection of starters: chicken satay, pork toast, sweetcorn cake and duck spring rolls.
Beautifully presented in a wooden box it was as much as feast for the eyes as was anticipated for the palate. The ceramic pots of dipping sauce were artistically arranged as was the little pot of salad and vegetables with its carrot sculpture. A side dish of crispy papaya salad and prawns completed the feast.
Every last scrap was eaten with relish - the duck spring rolls eliciting particularly favourable comments from my dining companion.
Choosing the main courses proved more problematical as there were 42 curries, stir fries, fish, vegetarian and noodle dishes plus several more side dishes.
We finally settled on pad thai gung yai (king prawn stir-fried noodles) (£12.95) and pad broccoli num mun hoi (stir fried broccoli in oyster sauce) (£9.95) with portions of egg fried rice (£2.95) and jasmine rice (£2.75) to accompany them.
Both dishes were superb with delicate flavours complementing each other without any one overwhelming. The tamarind sauce with the pad thai piquant and the oyster sauce with the crunchy broccoli a great pairing.
An offer of desert was almost passed over but temptation got the better of us. Pineapple mango mess (£4.95) and chocolate brownie (£5.95) were duly delivered. We each sampled both and found the brownie was the perfect blend of sweetness, oozing with sauce and accompanied by ice cream. Neither were as enamoured of the pineapple and mango dish - finding it tasty but far too sweet for both our liking.
Including two rounds of drinks (pints of San Miguel at £3.85) the final bill came to just shy of £70.
While not a cheap meal out by any means the quality of the ingredients used and the care and attention lavished upon every aspect of the dining experiences - does make it well worth the price.
The service is attentive and gracious without being overwhelming and the music is soothing and at a level designed not to annoy.
Well worth a visit.
Queens Drive, Ossett
Telephone: 01924 416990
Website: www. malagor.co.uk
Open daily - see website for specific times (Note: closed Monday and Tuesday lunchtime)