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Review: The Preston Thai street food restaurant serving spice, rice, and everything nice

Posted on - 1st April, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, Friargate, Opinion, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, Takeaways, What's On in Preston
Itsy's Street Food coconut rice, salt and chilli chips and noodles with beansprouts and egg
Just the backing singers; coconut rice, salt and chilli chips and noodles with beansprouts and egg

This week I’m reviewing Itsy’s Street Food.

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Situated in Friargate in Preston City Centre, it’s perfectly placed for UCLan students who want to nip out for lunch before returning to their lectures sober and on time; a perplexing new fad that appears to have developed over the past two decades.

I decided to order a takeaway to be delivered via Just Eat, as it takes a more competent driver than I to navigate the Adelphi roundabouts whilst pedestrians throw themselves at their windscreen and other cars try to mount their terrified Fiat Panda.

When my food arrived I found that half of my prawn green curry had leaked out into the plastic bag, so I called the restaurant and a replacement was delivered 30 minutes later with zero fuss – an example of good service that’s worlds apart from my odd experience with Bianco.

Read more: Review: Preston’s Middle Eastern takeaway that failed to deliver

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I hadn’t had tom yum soup for many years, as although my tastebuds seem to have become far less alarmed about hot spices like chilli, they’ve started panicking when I eat anything sour. I don’t know if that’s a normal age-related malfunction, but a couple of weeks ago a packet of salt and vinegar Discos nearly did me in.

Added to the soup’s sourness were sweet, salty, spicy layers of shrimp paste, galangal, lime leaves, sugar and chillies. It was alarming and wonderful at the same time, and I ate it with one eye involuntary scrunched closed, like Popeye.

Itsy's Street Food tom yum soup
I’ll see your salt and vinegar Discos and raise you a tom yum soup

The green curry sauce was thinner than that of some other takeaways, but still had all the characteristic flavours of green chillies, lemongrass, Thai basil and the sweetness of coconut. There was none of the mollycoddling with which some takeaways indulge their customers; it’s supposed to be pretty hot and it was, but not to the point of overpowering the other ingredients.

I’d ordered it with king prawns, which at £10.99 was £2 more expensive than chicken. There were five of them, nicely cooked, but there weren’t any of the courgettes that were listed in the description and the sauce didn’t contain any other sturdy items that add bulk and texture other than a smattering of bamboo shoots, red pepper and green beans, which prevented it from feeling like a full meal.

Itsy's Street Food Thai green curry
Look at that cute little snorkeling prawn on the left

The milder massaman chicken curry (£8.99) was packed with flavour and, despite also being heavy on creamy coconut, there was an obvious difference in taste to the green curry due to the characteristic warm spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon.

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Although this curry is described as containing potatoes and carrots I didn’t see any, and it was light on other additional bulky ingredients like vegetables. However, that omission was less noticeable as the sauce was thicker and it contained a fair amount of chicken.  

Itsy's Street Food massaman chicken curry
What’s that small black stringy thing in the massaman curry? No idea, doesn’t matter

An interesting thing about restaurants is that finding items that you shouldn’t eat can be indicative of both a really good meal or a really bad one. If it’s a tooth with a filling, probably best to stop eating. If, as in Itsy’s case, it’s bits of herbs or whole spices, eat around them, safe in the knowledge that the person who made your meal takes pride in their cooking. And their teeth.

A portion of coconut rice (£3.50) was a welcome neutral backdrop to the two curries, and a portion of salt and chilli chips (3.95) and a tub of fried noodles and bean sprouts (£4.50) added some stockiness to the meal but would have been too bland to enjoy by themselves.

Review: Preston City Centre restaurant will make you a Miso Soupy Groupie

This wasn’t my first order from Itsy’s Street Food and I’ve been more than happy with my previous deliveries, so although I was disappointed by the green curry with prawns and the lack of vegetables in both of the dishes, I’d still give them another try.

I generally order curries just with vegetables as I don’t think a good curry necessarily needs meat, but on Itsy’s Just Eat menu some of the vegetable options also come with tofu, which I don’t like. I couldn’t figure out how to specify that I didn’t want it online, but I’d have chosen that option if it had been present.

The portions were a little on the smaller side with the curries filling two thirds of the containers, so adding rice or chips wouldn’t make them stretch to two portions as it would from some takeaways. However, I would still recommend Itsy’s for the masterful combination of authentic spices in the sauces and the excellent customer service.

Have you ever been taken down by a packet of crisps? Warn the rest of us in the comments.

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