Tanya Gold Tanya Gold

Me, myself and Thai: my cooking lesson from Cher Thai Eatery


Lockdown is hurting everyone except the chickens. I have bought them a conservatory because Philippa, a Light Sussex, looks like ancient pants in rain. It is really plastic sheeting to hang under the henhouse; they need it because the rain is horizontal. They stare out like chickens from film noir.

I have exhausted local take-aways, and you cannot get fresh hampers here. Someone sent me stock cubes for beef stroganoff in the post, which feels joyless, but everyone is selling condiments — you can lick them, call it lickdown — or chocolates or alcohol, as if for a loveless Valentine’s Day.

What do I seek? Thai food. I spent my theoretical house deposit in the Little Thai in Hampstead; it is literally part of my body; no cuisine, for me, is as fragrant and as nourishing. The nearest good Thai restaurant is in St Ives, which is too far to drive at night. There is also a wacky Thai van at Boleigh, the mythical site of Arthur’s last battle, which emerges from the rain like a ghost, a Beautiful Laundrette: why here? But it closed at the end of October, after I visited at night, fearing death and cursing my greed.

Att and Air own the Cher Thai Eatery near Clapham Common. I went there in springtime and loved it because it was bright, warm, and served superb food. It opened three weeks before the first lockdown.

They are selling takeout, they say, and are busy at weekends. Locals are supporting them, and they should, if they want to eat at the Cher Thai Eatery in future times; meanwhile they will give me a cooking lesson.

My husband loves chicken satay, but it is apparently too complex for a novice to attempt, and that pleases me: I am fond of expertise.

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