UK Restaurant and Hotel Reviews

London Hotels
Family Restaurants
Press Contact

Holly Acland at the water's edge at the
Blue Lagoon in Kensington

Kensington High Street is great for shopping but not for eating, so the arrival of a Thai restaurant boasting a chef who worked with the Thai Royal family is good news if you think buying clothes and eating excellent food is a winning combination.

From the outside, The Blue Lagoon looks pretty unassuming. It’s situated below a six-storey block of flats and – despite having had a fresh lick of yellow paint and an interior which tries very hard to conjure up the atmosphere of exotic Thailand – it has not quite shaken off its previous identity as a shop.

That said, this is somewhere you go for the food rather than the slick interior. Proprietor Hatem El-Chaman summed this up when my partner commented on the comfort of the seats (old man that he is) as we sat down. "Don’t you worry about the seats," he retorted. "Wait until you try the food - you’ll love it - money back guaranteed."

This was my first encounter with a culinary salesman but his comment proved well founded. The Blue Lagoon seems already to have attracted a loyal following among Thai food lovers. By 7.30 on Tuesday evening every table was full with people even taking their chances and waiting at the bar for a table to become available. Not bad for three months in to launch.

The menu combines traditional Thai food (such as spring rolls, satay chicken, green curry and stir fried combinations) with exotic ‘royal’ dishes. Grilled marinated whole baby chicken with honey, served with sweet and sour dip and spicy noodles with chilli, broccoli and basil leaves service with chicken, beef or pork typify the variations on the usual Thai menu.

If you doubt the authenticity of the food, we were assured that fresh ingredients are flown daily from Thailand - but don’t assume that this entails an automatic hike in price. Starters range from £4.50 to £6 and the curries and stir fried dishes are all under £10. The sea food menu goes up to £10.95 for a whole steamed seabass marinated in wine, coriander and ginger.

I chose charcoal grilled tiger prawns served with ground chilli, coriander and garlic dip for my starter and my partner opted for fish cakes. The shells of the prawns (five in total and so large that you got a at least two bites out of each) were blackened from the grill and revealed plump meaty prawns, finished off with a winning sauce each was soaked in. The fish cakes – ground fish mixed with spices, red curry paste and lime leaves – were served with ground peanuts in sweet and chilli sauce. Again this dish was made by the sauce which had a powerful taste but did not overpower.

To accompany the starters we shared one of the five thai soups on offer called tom kar kai (to you and me that’s coconut chicken soup with mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal and chilli) This was almost a meal in itself, containing strips of chicken breast in a delicate soup with strong flavours of lemongrass. Surprisingly, as I’m not a great soup fan, this gets my vote as the best part of the meal and we fought over the final drops.

The head waiter nodded his head approvingly as I made my choice for the main course. Apparently kai toey (jewels of marinated chicken wrapped in Toey leaves and served in sweet and sour sauce) is the most time consuming dish on the menu involving marinating, wrapping, steaming and frying.

This had to bode well and the meal didn’t disappoint. The fiddly green leaves which encased each ‘jewel’ had to be prized away, to reveal a delicious, tender piece of chicken. The leaves and cooking process hadn’t infused the chicken with a distinctive flavour, but it makes a change to eat chicken that is so succulent it doesn’t need to be stuffed or doused in a rich sauce.

My partner’s main dish, Kang Keow Wan, sounded more like a thai marshal arts champion than a curry. But the combination of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, lime leaves, aubergines and basil, was more like "a thai ballerina tippy toeing across my tongue" he assured me in a rare burst of enthusiasm (although I would rather not dwell on this particular analogy).

The only downside to this excellent meal was the puddings - well mine to be exact. My partner was more than happy with his banana fritter served with honey and coconut ice cream but I discovered that Rambatan (described as Eastern fruits peeled and stuffed with pineapple) was in fact tinned peeled lychees – rubbery and tasteless – stuffed with tinned pineapple – totally tasteless.

Disappointing, but then I find that puddings often are in oriental restaurants. Savoury things are what they do well and after up to four courses, it’s generally not hunger which leads me to the dessert menu, so maybe I just shouldn’t be so damn greedy.

Holly Acland, April 2000

The Blue Lagoon, Kensington High Street, Tel: 0207 603 1231

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

Your comments please!

Email us your suggestions, reviews, comments.

We very much want to hear your comments on restaurants you have visited, wines you have tried. Maybe you disagree with us, or perhaps you want to recommend a place we haven't yet covered. Email us at with all your suggestions, reviews, comments.

Back to Dine Online Home Page

Copyright © 2007 MidasCode Ltd

Views or opinions expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publishers, Midascode Ltd.
While every care is taken in compiling this publication, the publishers cannot assume responsibility for any effects arising therefrom.

MidasCode Ltd
5 & 6 The Azure Suites, Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, W Sussex BN16 3DA
Tel: 01903 779538 International: +44 1903 779538 - Fax: 01903 856683 – Mobile: 07860 899235 – International +44 7860 899235

Want your Restaurant Reviewed? Send requests to

Registerd Office: Highland House, Mayflower Close, Chandlersford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 4AR - Company No 05916096

Grape Seed Extract | Collecting Debt | Food Gadgets