Up The Junction

The Junction and Sai Kitchen. Fine dining in the heart of Redhill.

In a former life, I lived in an unfashionable area of North London. An area not known for culinary delights, or so I believed. For in the block of cafes, nail-bars and general stores at the end of my road lurked a superb restaurant, disguised by matter of fact signage. You would mistake it for an average kebab place but the hordes of people attempting to get a table on a weekend told a different story. The food was superb.

I am reminded of Vrishaki’s when I hear people becry the lack of culinary choice in unfashionable Redhill. ” You have to drive to Reigate for decent grub.” That’s what people say.

They obviously haven’t dined at Sai Kitchen, upstairs in The Junction, slap bang in the centre of town. Anyone who has, can testify to the culinary delight that awaits. Especially but not exclusively if you like Thai Food.

The Junction slap bang in the middle of Redhill.

It is a little undiscovered gem, serving up delicious Thai food in an atmospheric restaurant with fantastic service.

I met a friend for lunch last week, a chance for a catch up over food and drink. It was her first time in the Junction, although she assured me she had heard nothing but great things. As it was a quietish Tuesday lunchtime, we had a seat looking out over the delights of Redhill. The trails of flowers poking their blossoms through the open window, added a slight ‘on holiday’ feel to the average grey, October day. The service was great. Our diet cokes served promptly and the kitchen manager appearing as if summoned when we had finally decided as to what to eat.

The menu contains all the classic Thai dishes you would expect. I settled for a fragrant Thai Green Chicken Curry , my friend, the Chicken Pad Thai

What a treat, the food was so delicious it silenced our catch up chatter as we savoured the flavours. The spices exploding on my tongue, testament to the food being freshly prepared and cooked. The portions are generous without being overwhelming. “The food is better than some local Thai restaurants” announced my friend, as she contently placed her cutlery on her very clean plate. Safe to say Sai Kitchen at The Junction has another convert who, to misquote Arnie. “Will be Back”

Three days later I returned, with another friend to partake of the evening menu. We have both eaten here before, enjoying a last supper together in December 2020 before Boris thrust us into lockdown. We were prepared for a treat and were not disappointed.

There are delicious sounding starters (I am partial to a Thai Fishcake and they don’t disappoint) and more choice for Mains than offered at lunch, which makes it tricky. The dishes all sound so damned delicious. I changed my mind at the last minute, despite dithering for some time – plumping for Lamb Massiman. My friend had a similar issue but remained loyal to her original choice of Chicken Singapore Noodles.

Lamb Massaman and the Chicken Singapore Noodles.

Big chunks of melt in the mouth lamb slipped down accompanied by spices and cardamom. Utterly delicious. Generous portions again, somehow we both found room to polish off our plates with my friend declaring her noodles were superb. We made a pact there and then to come back and eat our way through the menu – no wonder Milly the lovely bar manager is full of exercise tips!

Once again, the service was superb and the restaurant is scrupulously clean and beautifully decorated.

There were a few other diners, who were as appreciative as us, judging by the we oohs and arghs as plate after plate of delicious, aromatic food was served.

The view from our table in the Sai Kitchen.

But, I couldn’t help but think; if this venue was situated in Reigate it would be packed out to the rafters. Time to stop thinking of Redhill not offering a choice and check out what is actually on offer.

We made our way downstairs to enjoy a ‘one for the road’ drink in the Junction Bar. The website states its a ‘typical pub’ selling beers and variety lagers. It is more than that.

It is the friendliest pub in Redhill. The smiley and accommodating bar staff, led by Milly, offer a friendly and warm welcome to regulars, guests and one-off visitors alike. The pub does show sky sports, a couple of screens are dotted around, unlike some venues, it is not intrusive and those simply looking to enjoy a quiet drink and natter are able to do so.

One last thing: if you are like my mum and think ‘I don’t do spice”… The rest of the menu is delicious, whether it is fish and chips or a burger. The triple cooked chips are the best in town and coming from an exiled northerner, that is high praise indeed. And if you’re bringing kids, half portions are provided.

Next time you think that you have to go to Reigate for delicious food. Think again.

Time to get Up The Junction.

Photography by Stephanie Tully.

The Junction is situated at 1, High Street, Redhill.

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