I have always thought that fragrant food is just wrong. I see fragrance as something for my wife to put behind her ears, not on the plate.
Then there is lemongrass, which is without doubt the herb of the devil.
Based on this thinking, Thai food was never top of my list for dining.
As someone who is very used to having to admit they are wrong, it looks like I have to once again accept that I talk nonsense.
This week we were invited to have lunch with friends C&T at the Britannia Thai in sunny Milford on Sea. Over the last couple of years reports had been very hit & miss on dining experiences here. However, they had, like us, heard some very good reports of the new menu and authentic food at Milford on Sea's Thai restaurant since the arrival of a new head chef and new front of house team around April time.
We had also heard that the Tapas concept have now travelled to Thailand on Sea. When I think of Tapas, I think of Spain, and sitting eating small dishes of food under a blazing sun in my snug fit mankini.
Not convinced I would like our lunch, I managed to delay my Thai encounter by successfully negotiating that we first went for a pint of Estrella in The Raft. This was in the hope that the beer dulled the taste of fragrant food.
As we arrived in the Thai, we had a warm greeting from the new manager (Kanoksak Siripongswalee), affectionately known as Tae, and his wife Duangjai (known as Orr).
A pint of draft Kingfisher accompanied my study of the menu. Without being able to control it, my taste buds started jumping, and there was also quite a large grin from my wallet.
At this stage it was clear that the new Head Chef, Songkiat Surin, had put a menu together with a wide choice as well as very reasonable prices. His international work CV is impressive, and this was immediately obvious when you saw the choice and type of food he was now offering.
There was also a comprehensive a la Carte Menu, plus lots of individual Tapas Dishes and interesting Sides. We however, were happy to go with the Tapas Set Meals.
We mixed and matched a number of the set meals so we could all get a taste of various things.
As we enjoyed the complimentary crackers with chilli dip, Colin kept us bemused with his obsessive interest and commentary of the dozen or so hard-hatted guys looking down a hole in the roadworks outside. As he went on to explain the purpose of the various pieces heavy machinery, I could hear my wife gently snoring and dribbling on the tablecloth.
Our meals arrived, and we were wowed by the size of the meals, the portions were certainly generous.
Tucking in, the favours were great and it was clear that Songkiat had taken Britannia Thai to a completely new level. The ingredients were no doubt authentic and the freshness shone through.
We enjoyed Sesame Toast that was crisp and crammed with tasty prawns, the Duck spring Rolls were fully packed with a lovely sauce, the Lamb Massaman Curry was subtlety spiced with succulent lean meat, the Sea Bass was a new enjoyable experience in sweet & sour sauce, the Chicken Satay's tasty, and the Thai Green Curry was spicy and without doubt the best one I had ever tasted.
Having discovered that you could have a great Thai meal without encountering the disturbing flavours of lemongrass has now converted me to the Britannia Thai's food.
We will soon be back to try the other lunchtime meal combinations, either eating in the restaurant, or enjoying them at home with the 10% takeaway Discount.
I may even take a foray into the a la carte menu, I have my eye on trying the Weeping Tiger: (Grilled sirloin steak Thai style topped with special mild chilli sauce served on a sizzling platter).
Hopefully when we go back there are no roadworks outside, or either my wife or Tricia may feel the urge to stab Colin in the leg with a fork!
Tapas Set Menu 1 - £8.95
Chicken Green Curry, Handmade Juicy Chicken Satay, Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice
Tapas Set Menu 2 - £11.95
Vegetable Spring Roll, Prawns on Toast, Crispy Seabass in Sweet & Sour Sauce, Jasmine Rice
Tapas Set Menu 3 - £9.95
Vegetable Spring Roll, Roast Duck Canapés, Chicken Stir fried with Ginger, Jasmine Rice
Tapas Set Menu 4 - £10.50
Beef Salad, Salt and Pepper Squid, Chicken Massaman Curry, Jasmine Rice
Tapas Set Menu 5 - £10.95
Shredded Duck Spring Rolls, Prawn on Toast, Lamb Massaman Curry, Jasmine Rice.
Tapas Set Menu 6 - £7.95
Vegetable Green Curry, Stir Fry Vegetables with Ginger, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Jasmine Rice.
1 High Street, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QF
Tel: 01590 642226 & 01590 642212