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My hope after writing this column is that LAM will be rammed because there aren’t many Thai places in this town that come up to this exacting standard. The one place that springs to mind is its bigger sister, Bangkok Café (reviewed back in August 2011) up in Les Corts. This venue is rather less charming—generally I find most restaurants located on Gran Via a bit of a turn off—but its brightly lit interior belies the spicy comfort food within, served in portions that could see off the meanest of hangovers. A short menu means that if you go in a group of two or three, you can order almost everything and share it: dishes like korat, chicken meatballs with mint, lemongrass and chilli; Thai bocadillos with spicy Chiang Mai sausages, red curry paste, lime leaves and turmeric; and home-made Mu Tom Yum—a refreshing, tongue-tingling broth, filled with rice noodles, crunchy wontons, pork balls and lavish handfuls of fresh herbs and chillies, that makes you feel all is right with the world.
The chalkboard specials are really the way to go, but the three-course lunch menu isn’t half bad either. Especially if you’re fond of treats, like crispy fried Vietnamese rolls with a sensational peanut coriander dipping sauce (I kid you not, you could eat it by the bucketful), and plump, vegetable-stuffed empanadas (made with chickpea flour) with rice wine and chilli. Mains were hale and hearty, a solidly mellow and mild yellow beef and potato curry, and the Pad Thai was tasty, though I prefer it with rice stick as opposed to the thin vermicelli sort, and I didn’t really understand the streaks of balsamic reduction zigzagging across nearly every plate. But these are just minor gripes—if you’re out and about and need to feed a spice itch, LAM nails it.
Gran Via 518. Tel. 93 252 7990. Open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm. Lunch menu + beer €11.50.