There seems to be an influx of restaurants in London recently writing their own reviews before they’ve even begun – places whose titles tell you what they think of their food even if you might heartily disagree – The Gourmet Burger Kitchen, The Fine Burger Company, The Real Greek, The Gourmet Pizza Company – none of which really live up to their name (NB: throwing beetroot, pineapple, and egg on a burger and driving a stake through its heart does not a gourmet concoction make).
At least Pizza Express bring the meals out pronto. (Of course the patron saint of clueless self-aggrandizing is Comedy Dave, the “hilarious” sidekick on Chris Moyles’ morning chatfest. Comedy Dave. Who calls themselves a comic let alone writing it into their title? Especially when they’re some rent-a-goon and built of such utterly normal DNA they make David Beckham look like Bill Hicks. When they think listing people that are connected to each other tenuously = gut-wrenching belly laughs. Comedy Dave. The guy hasn’t made me laugh once in months and months of inflicting Radio 1 chit chat on myself to torture myself out of bed. My mate Dave [we all have one] is infinitely funnier than Comedy Dave and would never dare offer himself as a stand up. Yours probably is too. Anyway where were we).
So, Yum Yum. Less defining its own food qualities than trying to project feelings of satisfaction onto its customers, which is kind of the same trick, the Stoke Newington institution (or so they say) has been serving up Euro thai to yummy mummies and the upwardly mobile of N16 for a decade now.
Photo: Kake Pugh – Flckr here
A massive palace of gluttony that “combines Thai features with a chic modern Asian design” (read: jumble of statues and wooden B&Q furniture they call Thai huts in a conrete courtyard by the 149 bus stop) it’s a warehouse of a place that can serve 250 covers at a time, a huge place that’s consistently packed out with North Londoners hungry for their “award-winning cuisine”. (NB: awards range from an Egon Ronay accolade in 1997 to um, the Hackney Gazette Food and Drink Awards: Best Thai Restaurant in N16 in 2008).
Of course success breeds complacency and a tendency to profiteer and Yum Yum is no exception; they charge £3.40 for coconut rice (the cheapest foodstuff on the planet even if it is haunted with the ghosts of a few coconuts and does come in a cute wooden box with wooden spoon for ladling) and the table is littered with that telltale sign of an overworked kitchen: dirty cutlery. Weirdly though, they have enough staff to harass us every thirty seconds and Outraged Of Victoria Park will be delighted to know the Chinooks are back.
Crucically though, they can keep the name; our rum tums screamed yum with every course. A vegetarian Thai Green curry was a tangy swamp of crunchy mange tout and soft tofu while beef in red wine and pineapple intoxicated. Their “award-winning lamb peanut butter curry stewed with pumpkin” (Kang Mussaman) fell off the bone and glided down our throats in seconds and chicken and prawn on toast was perfect.
Yum Yum is a well-oiled machine pulling all the right stunts (frosting their Tiger glass, letting you sit on the floor for the “authentic” experience if you book ahead) if operating somewhat on autopilot, no doubt off the back of their recent Ramsay endorsement. They just need the potty-mouthed Scot to return occasionally and scare them into keeping their game raised.
Price per head: A nice round twenty bob
Soundtrack: Thai vibes
Clientele: Anyone from a five mile radius wanting a fun night out