Last week, some of the KOMPAS team went to dinner at KraPow, a trendy new Northern Thai pop-up restaurant in Homerton, Hackney. The stated aim of KraPow is to bring real Chiang Mai cuisine to London and do away with generic chicken curries and Pad Thai. We decided to take them up on their challenge. KraPow is famed for their pop-up stall at Victoria Park Market, but this is their first venture into a hopefully more permanent location. Fingers crossed for a full-fledged restaurant soon!
We started out with a few starters to share, all recommended to us by our lovely waitress. We wanted to get the Chiang Mai sausage, made especially for KraPow, but unfortunately, it wasn’t available that night. Unfortunately, the waitress said that multiple times, with items appearing on the menu but not being available.
First, we had the amusingly named ‘Son-in-Law’ eggs, deep fried soft boiled eggs, served with chilli on top. We thought the eggs were excellent: the spice perfectly offset by the creaminess of the soft boiled egg. The deep frying gave the eggs a pleasant crunch factor. They were served cold – we weren’t sure whether this was intentional, but it knocked them down a few notches in my book. Overall, however, we enjoyed the dish. 7/10
We then tried the Larb Gai Nuang, a traditional spicy minced turkey salad served on a lettuce leaf. The meat was extremely juicy, with strong citrus notes. There was a spice element missing from the Larb Gai we found, but it was excellent nonetheless. 8.5/10
Finally, we finished off our starter selection with the Miang Bites, cold prawns cooked in a tamarind sauce and served over a betel leaf. We were told by the waiter to put the prawn in the leaf and eat them together. This prawns disappointed us a lot. While the prawns themselves were fine, the betel leaf just didn’t work well. We’ve had betel leaf before that was excellent, so we weren’t sure what the issue was. The leaf was medicinal with a bitter aftertaste. We’d recommend skipping the prawns in favour of a second serving of Larb Gai or the fried chicken. 5/10
Egged on by the promising starters, we were excited to try the larger dishes. We started with the Khao Soi, a legendary curry-noodle dish from Chiang Mai. This was the best Khao Soi we have tried in London. The only problem was the size of the serving. Although the Khao Soi fell under the ‘large plates’ section of the menu, it was hardly larger than the starters that came before it. If you were ordering it as a main meal for one, you’d be left hungry. The flavours, however, were fantastic, and the price was reasonable for the portion size. 9/10
The next dish we had was the Moo Ping, which is sweet and sticky pork bites. This dish has won awards for the restaurant and been featured on Proper Tasty. The meat was tender, succulent, slightly spicy and sweet at the same time. We all enjoyed it a lot and were ready to order 5 more servings. We had it with the brown Jasmine rice, but all agreed that this was unnecessary. All you need is the Moo Ping and that phenomenal dipping sauce. 9/10
Finally, we went off-menu on the waitress’ recommendation and got the Thai fried chicken. Oh man, oh man, what a fried chicken it was. Perfectly juicy, crispy and spicy, with an amazing mayo on top. It was the highlight of the evening, as fried chicken often is, and if there’s one dish you absolutely have to get when you come to KraPow, it is this one. 10/10
We tried to order the Sticky Rice with Mango and Jackfruit for dessert but were unfortunately told that they didn’t have it. That was a slight disappointment, but our waitress explained to us that they’re still working on the menu. So, did we enjoy our meal? Absolutely, and we’ll definitely be back. Surprisingly for London, we came out feeling that we underpaid for the food. We had expected to pay significantly more than we did, which is both a nice and rare feeling. If you need to impress a date with your knowledge of London’s coolest new openings, or just want to enjoy some really amazing Northern Thai cuisine in London, you should absolutely check KraPow out. They have their own Pale Ale made by Hackney Brewery, which is great if you like Pale Ales, but we’d recommend going for the classic Thai Singha.
Total for 3 people was £69.19, including drinks.
62 Chatsworth Rd, Clapton E5 0LS. Tel 07714 783743. https://www.krapowldn.com/
Images courtesy of KraPow LDN