If a new restaurant opens I expect it to be doing something different to what is already in that area, or doing it better. Greenwich’s new Pan-Asian restaurant Toomai Square ticks both of those boxes and more, writes Michael Holland.
Kumar and his Executive Chef brother Bhola wanted to combine the cuisine from their Indian roots with the cooking methods of the Chinese and the excitement of Thai food, and this is all happening at Toomai Square where all three influences can be found – Sometimes in just one dish.
Me and Mum rocked up on a cold, wet Saturday and were met with warm, welcoming smiles and a table by the huge windows where we could watch the world go by.
Kumar and Bhola asked if they could bring us a selection of dishes to try and we instantly agreed because I know that I would get to taste something that I normally wouldn’t order, and I was right.
First some liquid refreshment. Mum had water because she’s very healthy these days, and I had a naughty cocktail called White Choc Martini, which was Heaven in a glass; liquid chocolate to die for, but I knew I could only have one. And then the starters began arriving. We began with Vegetable Spring Rolls and Tempura Prawn, both with their own dips, and both good. Then came Paneer Chilli, a dish that would always slip below my radar. It was beautiful, the sauce was like no other I had come across before. And Mum, who is slowly transitioning to a vegetarian diet, said this would make the change much easier. Chicken Lollipops followed with a dip that was out of this world. The only ingredient I could confidently identify was a vinegar in there somewhere. Delicious. I was informed that Bhola creates all his own sauces and dips, and I can believe that wholeheartedly. Pepper Chilli Lamb was next, strips of tender meat, perfectly spiced. I could have gone a bit hotter but that may have taken away the subtleness of the dish. Finally, Honey Chilli Veg, the chef’s recommendation. These were a mix between a bhaji and a pattie. Mum fell in love with them, and were another that I would not normally order.
We needed a rest at this point but Kumar talked us into a bowl of Tom Kha, a wonderful coconut soup with oyster mushrooms and prawns. This was the pure taste of Thailand; truly a thing of beauty.
Finally there was some respite from the food while we chatted with Kumar and Sayantan, the PR man, about future plans and how the restaurant was named after Toomai, a young elephant in a traditional Indian story from the brothers’ childhood.
But before long we were off again as Lamb Shank Massaman was placed before us. It looked good and it was good. Extremely good. Then a Chicken Green Curry came and a plate of Prawn Pad Thai and I had to shout, ‘Stop!’ I also asked our lovely waitress not to mention the word ‘Dessert’.
A lie down beckoned after such feasting, so Mum finished her water while I finished off a Tsingtao lager before we left with a mountain of food the kitchen boxed up for us to take away. The trip home was one of wonder and delight as we discussed each dish and picked personal favourites.
Toomai Square is the ideal addition to this part of Greenwich. It is bright, modern and comes with new ideas and flavours. The staff are pleasant and the team behind it are passionate about what they do.
Mum’s already worked out that the 286 bus gets her from door to door and is planning to return for another plate of Paneer Chilli – but without having to share it with me.
Toomai Square, Woolwich Road, 5-6 Lambarde Square, Greenwich, SE10 9GB
http://www.toomaisquare.co.uk – 0208 066 1199
Mon – Fri 5pm – 11pm; Sat – Sun 12pm – 11pm
Food 4.5 Stars
Value 4 Stars
Ambience 3.5 Stars
Disabled Access Yes
Disabled Toilet Yes