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Restaurant review: Yee hah for Yee Rah

AA Grill only stops cursing the Halifax bank after he finds a lot to like about the twisted Thai in Liverpool One

Published on January 14th 2010.

Restaurant review: Yee hah for Yee Rah

RECENT events have at least flushed away any clinging doubt that those running our banks are born of Beelzebub.

Ah, but you can get a little extra Hell from the Halifax, as I discovered.

Short of a bob since HBOS carelessly lost £7.5 billion, the Halifax has resorted to any means at its disposal to scrape a few quid; in my case by expunging my overdraft, overnight and without bothering to mention it.

The rug duly tugged from under, they piled on as many charges as they could manage before I recovered my financial feet.

Just over a hundred and twenty quid's worth, in fact, which is pretty good going for a matter of hours.

When I rang to query their actions I was referred to the arrears department. Although I think maybe I misheard and it was actually the “rears” department because it appeared to be staffed by arseholes. Condescending arseholes, at that.

That same evening, I had arranged to eat at a newish Thai outfit,Yee Rah, on The Terrace of Liverpool One. From being banged by the bank to Bangkok.

This is Thai with elements of Italian, in fact, which may not be a unique combination but certainly is in these parts. It means, for example, that you can have spaghetti carbonara or green curry fettuccini.

The son of Chaopraya, a strictly Thai restaurant winning rave reviews at branches in Manchester and Leeds, Yee Rah is a business model purpose-built to withstand a recession, with a menu that takes in platters of Thai tapas, hot sandwiches for just under a fiver, pasta, pizzas starting at six quid, steaks and curry.

To be honest, in spite of Yee Rah's pedigree, I had feared the worst, What I got was a perfectly good night out.

It was only Wednesday but we were warned there would be a 15-20 minute wait for a table. In the event it was nearer 10 minutes and felt more like five as we took in the vibrant surroundings: showy but not loud, lively but not noisy, this could have been downtown Bangkok.

Yee Rah is a good looking gaff; strong, clean lines here, generous curves there, oranges and lemons, golden browns, buddhas and jungle beasts, an open kitchen, big padded chairs and a striking, cascading water feature which my friend complained was hastening his need for the toilet. No bad thing seeing as the toilets were a delight and how often do you get to say that? Clean, efficient and smart, they were everything Thomas Crapper ever dreamed of.

They are also located on the first floor which means you get to enjoy the view across to the waterfront. Upstairs is only open at weekends and it's advisable to book. This being midweek

we made do with a view of the windbreak and One Park West which looks like the Royal Liverpool Hospital would if somebody grabbed one end of its roof and pulled a bit too hard.

Spring rolls (£4.95) could have done with a little more seasoning but tempura vegetables (£3.95) – fresh chunks of red and green pepper,onion, broccoli and mushrooms – came in a light, grease-free batter. Barbecued “vertical” brochettes of chicken and beef (£5.95) were stabbed into a block of swede which was a good effect but also served to preserve the integrity of the meat; bite sized pieces that were lean, moist and cooked absolutely right.

Starters came with a variety of pleasant, freshly-prepared dipping sauces – the highlight a gently spiced vinaigrette with extra fine diced vegetables – and bundles of zingy, cleansing, finely shredded cabbage. A good fruity Argentinian chardonnay (£17) was more than a match for the spice and from a small but quality-driven selection of beers we had bottles of the smooth and dry Japanese Asahi (£2.95).

Excellent “pork cutlet” (£10.95) came at the double: Chubby chops with a hint of pink, like a mildly embarrassed Russell Grant, had been marinated to enhance, not hide, the quality of the meat. Perky salad leaves were dressed in a finely-proportioned honey and mustard dressing, while sultana rice was just as it ought to be.

Textbook green curry (£7.95) came with a well-judged, sweetly-spiced sauce and the best courgettes I've tasted. Only the beef content – chewy and unexciting – let the side down. Spicy seafood pasta (£7.95) included prawns, mussels, squid and a big pile of peppers all faultlessly turned out and working a treat with the spaghetti.

If you are looking for a 100 per cent Thai food experience, this may not be the place. But if you want market fresh ingredients, skilfully prepared, with the family, or a bunch of friends, in attractive, vibrant surroundings, this is the place.

And it won't break the bank. And if your bank happens to be the Halifax, you have my sympathy.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mike HomfrayFebruary 27th 2009.

I gather that there is also to be a Chaopraya at Liverpool One when the next stage is completed?

AcayibFebruary 27th 2009.

you're making me hungry. good to hear of something new and different. bummer about the Halifax

AndyFebruary 27th 2009.

Can't remember what it's called but their seafood noodle soup with coconut and lemon grass is sublime

Mr E ManFebruary 27th 2009.

This restaurant is good if you're a feeble minded buffoon more interested in the decor rather than the quality of food. I popped in there for lunch with my other half - I was starving, could have eaten a horse AND it's lunch so opted for the substantial sounding Tapas Platter 3 at 11 quid. Christ, I should have just eaten the money instead. The ribs were tough ( in fact I think I still have some stuck in my teeth), the calimari was coated in what tasted like 3 day old chippy batter, & the salad was just leaves coated in suspicious grease but hey, lets look on the bright side the rice was OK.My missus had sea bass (£13). It arrived 10 minutes after mine (so I spent the time staring at my rapidly cooling lunch) It came fried and coated in batter, not grilled as specified. Instead of mango (as on menu) it came covered in little bits of apple and a gloopy generic thai style sauce. Delicious.So all in all I cannot recommend this restaurant. If you want **** food in nice surroundings get a maccy d's and eat it in a park and give the £20 you save to that band of Peruvian buskers you occasionally see in Bold street. They really are good!

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2009.

What do you mean "mention their own finances"? Are you illiterate, John. Have you been drinking?

Gushing GazFebruary 27th 2009.

Thai restaurants NEED good toilets. They put ****ing prawns in everything.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2009.

The Halifax really are ba****ds. They owe me thousands in bank chargesand I suppose I'll bever see it now that they've given that twat the huge pension.

Pan PipeFebruary 27th 2009.

Are the Peruvian buskers back in Bold Stret? I haven't seen them for over ten years. Tjey used to set up outside WH Smiths.

Paul PaulsFebruary 27th 2009.

Looks good. The Manchester place which I won't attempt to spell in case I get called illiterate too is really excellent. Maybe they can move into the old Room premises on Castle Street. PS. Bankers=****ers

johnFebruary 27th 2009.

Never mind the food.....just pay your bank charges...I don't want to subsidise people who can't mention their own finances...need your bum wiping?All the best!!!!!!

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