tuk cho
'If you’re in the mood to taste something new, my bet is you’ll find it here'

Tuk Cho

Open Mon–Sat midday–11pm, Sun midday–10.30pm

Fancy taking your tastebuds on an Asian tour? Tuk Cho provides a one-stop shop for a panopoly of interesting dishes from the Far East. You shouldn’t miss it as you’re going along Ealing Broadway, thanks to the tuk tuk parked outside. Once inside, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s huge. This is a smart move, as it means plenty of space for baby buggies; save money on a babysitter and bingo – you can afford to eat out! There are tables for all kinds of eaters; round ones for groups, a kind of drop-in shelf near the entrance for singletons (or cruisers) and tables for two for the smoochers. All these kinds of diners were present and correct on our visit. Blonde wood abounds, as do industrial lamps and a juice bar sits off to one side.

On first glance, the paper menu confused me, as I was expecting dishes to be sectioned up by country and not type. So you get curry/stir fry/noodles instead of Cambodia/Malaysia/Thailand. There’s plenty that’s familiar for the bamboozled (laksa, pad thai, green thai curry) but also lots of discoveries to be had. Vietnamese Muc Chien (£5.40) was popcorn-sized crispy calamari with chilli, spring onion and lime, and so totally moreish we were thankful they only placed a starter sized dish in front of us. Goi Cuon (£4) were two white, cold spring rolls full of very fresh tasting veggies with herbs – the kind of dish that makes you feels virtuous with its clean flavours. The Thai classic Som Tam papaya salad (£3.20) was also pleasingly zingy and punchy. So far so good.

On to Cambodia. Fish Amok (£8.40), which is described as that country’s national dish, was a comforting fish curry that was a little salty, with stealth heat that crept up as you ate. Thit Bo Ko (£8.90) read like a luxury – soft fillet steak in star anise, spring onion and basil. The gloopy oyster sauce was thick as gravy however, reminding us of bad Chinese food that’s heavy with MSG. We had Yaki Soba (£7.40) too, thinking we should try some noodles, but they were a little bland after the earlier dishes.

Tuk Cho is a bit like Wagamamas without sharing tables (unless you want to) and brings a welcome freshness to this kind of restaurant, as Wagas is looking a bit tired these days. Ceaselessly cheery staff tick off dishes on your menu so you can refer back when a dish turns up you don’t recognise. They’ve learnt from Giraffe too, with all that space for pushchairs. You can order wine, but beer is better with spice and there are some interesting brews to be had (I had Vietnamese Hue). The juices are more interesting than the norm too. If you’re in the mood to taste something new, my bet is you’ll find it here. There’s plenty I still want to taste so I’m definitely going back.

Dinner for two with hardly any booze, £50.

Tuk Cho, 28-30 New Broadway, London, W5; www.tukcho.co.uk; 020 8567 9438

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