Whenever a new restaurant opens in West Hampstead it causes a bit of a stir (perhaps because this is a neighbourhood full of food lovers!), and most recently this was Toomai on West End Lane (a couple of doors up from the Thameslink station). A pan-Asian restaurant serving ‘street food’ style dishes, Toomai’s most obvious competitors are Banana Tree and Ladudu. I was excited to try it, and so headed there for a mid week dinner.
Toomai’s menu is short, a laminated sheet of white paper (no points for creativity!), with a choice of just eight main dishes and a small number of starters and sides. I chose the ‘Kratiam’ curry (the waiters recommendation for something not too spicy) with prawns plus a side of jasmine rice. Feeling the need for something healthy that evening I ordered a ‘Fusion Green’ raw juice, which was absolutely delicious. The food was good but not exceptional and the presentation was mediocre, not quite up to Banana Tree or Ladudu’s standard. The service was reasonable, certainly quicker than at One Sixty! It’s not exactly a comfortable restaurant however; the metal chairs were particularly hard and uncomfortable (definitely at odds with the ‘relaxed environment’ described on their website) and we weren’t exactly struck with the exposed pipes. That said Toomai does what it says on the tin, and for a quick and inexpensive meal I would probably return. The real question though is does a relatively small neighbourhood like West Hampstead need three restaurants serving a very similar style of food?