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Cheshire Life Luncheon - Phanthong Fine Thai Cuisine, Wilmslow

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 September 2013 | UPDATED: 09:59 20 April 2016

Steamed sea bass fillets with chilli, lime juice and garlic

Steamed sea bass fillets with chilli, lime juice and garlic

Archant

Phanthong – it means ‘gold leaf’ in the Thai language – has turned over another page in Cheshire, this time in Wilmslow

Thanya Sawaengdee with Janet Lowe,  Jean Pilkington and Jintana WangpilaThanya Sawaengdee with Janet Lowe, Jean Pilkington and Jintana Wangpila

Just over a year after Phan Whyte and her business partner Jintana Wangpila – known fetchingly as ‘Um’ - opened the doors of their first charming restaurant in the centre of Altrincham, the bubbly, enthusiastic pair have repeated the process in Wilmslow.

And as with the launch of the original venture, Pan and Um celebrated the arrival of their second restaurant by hosting a delightful Cheshire Life luncheon.

In Altrincham, the establishment of Phanthong followed a familiar trend, colonising – as a number of Thai restaurants have – a former traditional English pub.

The makeover of the half-timbered one-time Grapes in Regent Road that so impressed guests in June 2012 has been replicated in Wilmslow’s Hawthorn Lane, this time in the middle of a shopping parade a few yards from the town centre.

Decor is sophisticatedly uncluttered with plain walls mounted with period maps of south east Asia and colourful pictures of a gentle place that has drawn Mrs K and I to Thailand several times. On the bar-counter stood a magnificent, tall, exotic flower arrangement.

Like the Altrincham restaurant, Phanthong Wilmslow is small and intimate, thus the menu is sensibly pitched so that the essential freshness of Thai cuisine that has attracted so many enthusiasts – ourselves among them – can be maintained to ensure consistent top quality. Bangkok-born Phan, who went to school in Australia before working as airline cabin crew and as an interpreter, said: ‘Our range of dishes is perhaps a little more limited than in some larger restaurants, but we want to ensure that what we do is the best with the freshest local ingredients we can lay our hands on. Our food is as authentic as a European can take! If guests ask for something in particular we will strive to accommodate them.’

Guests at Cheshire Life’s October luncheon gathered in the small bar area for lively chat accompanied by glasses of frisky sparkling Prosecco and canapés before finding our neatly laid tables, afforded plenty of space between. Starters were presented on help-yourself sharing platters featuring popular Thai ‘street food’ – skewers of satay chicken, Thai fishcakes, spring rolls and sesame prawn toasts accompanied by a trio of sauces and dips. Everything was just-so: the fishcakes perfectly done with well-judged spice and delicious with uncloying sweet chilli and rice vinegar dips imparting a clean, keen edge on the palate. The toasts were generously endowed with minced prawns and the barbecue flavours of the chicken made an excellent marriage with the richness and piquancy of the peanut satay sauce.

As with the starters, the main course Geang Keowan – chicken with green curry – was lifted straight from Panthong’s regular menu. It’s a dish one finds everywhere these days from all manner of pan-oriental restaurants to pub menus, but no-one quite captures the fragrant fresh subtlety and lightness of touch better than its originators. The chicken breast was delicate and moist in its creamy eau de nil green sauce that offered aromas of coconut, limes, coriander and galangal with a deliciously subtle bite of green chilli on the tongue tempered by fluffy fragrant rice.

Wines from Gatley-based Paul Boutinot, named Merchant of the Year for the fifth successive year in 2013, provided an excellent foil for the spice in the dishes. The white, Cuvée Jean Paul NV, a demi-sec Colombard from Gascony, provided excellent fresh citrus notes and the red, Fleurie La Madone 2012 from one of the best villages in the Beaujolais region was generous with its lovely raspberry fruit.

Dessert was divine – a gorgeous chocolate filled sweet ‘spring roll’ with delicate pastry sprayed with gold partnered by stem ginger ice cream. Was it any wonder we headed for the nearest travel agent to pick up an exotic places brochure?

Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu

To Start

Mixed starter platter

Cuvée Jean-Paul Colombard NV, Gascony, France

To continue

Geang Keowan – Green Curry with Chicken

La Madone Fleurie 2012, France

To finish

Chocolate Spring Roll with Stem Ginger Ice Cream

Fact file

Phanthong Fine Thai Cuisine, 2d Hawthorn Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 1AA; Tel: 01625 53571015;

Open Tue-Sun noon-3pm; 5.30pm-10.30pm; closed Monday. Starters from £4.95; mains £9.95 - £15.95.

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