Chuda, with David Nightingale at The Woolpack's Taste of ThailandChuda, with David Nightingale at The Woolpack's Taste of Thailand
Chuda, with David Nightingale at The Woolpack's Taste of Thailand

Chef Chuda brings a Taste of Thailand to a Peterborough pub

Taking you to a back street in Bangkok – with food to match – in a Stanground pub.

​That is the thinking behind The Woolpack on North Street converting its former games room to become home to the Taste of Thailand restaurant and chef Chuda, who came to England in 2005.

It is a new venture – although Chuda (also known as Emma) had been making a name for herself in Peterborough for a couple of years now – or at least her food has.

Lovers of Thai cuisine will have first come across her dishes from a Thai Street Food van parked at Serptentine Green in Hampton , before she started serving in the back room at The Peacock, which is where David Nightingale, owner of The Woolpack was blown away by lunch – fresh, authentic Thai food.

When Chuda outgrew the Peacock she approached Dave, who was also running the Three Horseshoes in Yaxley, which was without a chef – and she launched Taste of Thailand in the restaurant there.

It was very well received and fully booked pretty much every night.

But when The Three Horseshoes closed earlier this year, a victim of rising costs, relocating to The Woolpack made perfect sense.

“In March we started work on adapting the kitchen and installing wok burners and setting it up to cook Thai food,” said David, who also set about converting the pub’s18th century barn, which was being used as a games room with a pool table in it, into a restaurant .

“We opened with food being served just in the pub the first week, as the barn wasn't finished, but by the Friday we were inundated with people turning up and wanting to eat. So we quickly got the restaurant into shape, with the pool table still in there, so that we could accommodate everyone,” he added

After that work finishing the restaurant was completed quickly and Taste of Thailand opened properly on at the beginning of April – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and was soon fully booked.

And a couple of weeks on, David said: “It's attracting new customers, people that have followed Chuda wherever she goes, as well as regulars from the village, this is a permanent restaurant now just for Chuda who is definite part of the ‘Woolpack Family.’

“The restaurant style is relaxed, informal, colourful and rustic, we wanted it to transport you to a back street in Bangkok and to be the perfect backdrop to Chuda’s amazing food.

“She prides herself on using quality fresh ingredients and everything is cooked from scratch to order – you can taste the freshness. She won't even cook a takeaway unless the customer is in the building to collect because she wants it to be the best it can be.

“It's a real buzz, seeing the kitchen so alive. Chuda is assisted by Reece Hanna, a fully qualified chef, and it's lovely to see them creating dishes together. There's plenty of Thai/English banter going on and Chudda tries to teach us a Thai word every day!”

Taste of Thailand opens Wednesday and Thursday, 5pm-9pm; Friday and Saturday, 1pm - 9pm; Sunday, 1pm-6pm and booking is essential at weekends.