It has been my byword for great Thai food for the last couple of years in Peterborough, having sampled it numerous times.
But having been blown away by the food at one of its competitors - East (albeit Japanese dishes from a menu featuring Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and more) - it was time to see if the ever-dependable Mai Thai on Lincoln Road could still deliver, especially as it has recently been taken over (by a Thai couple).
So gone is the super value a la carte buffet-great food at a great price - replaced by a straight forward a la carte menu, although there is a quick lunch option starting at £6 which on a previous visit wasn’t too bad at all.
The service remains friendly, helpful and efficient and the restaurant itself as inviting as ever, with a little Thai music providing a backdrop.
The starters offered plenty of opportunities to test the authenticity of the food, with staple offerings such as Thai fish cakes and our two choices tempura prawns and crispy chilli squid.
The prawns were big and juicy and the batter dry and crisp with a pleasant taste and a decent sized portion, although not at all cheap at £5.50.
The squid (£4) offered better value, in my opinion. It was nicely cooked on the whole, just the odd strip that was a bit too chewy, but it was crispy in parts. The coating was seasoned but needed more of a chilli kick.
Again a good sized portion with a little chilli dip and both dishes were nicely presented with a dressed salad of sorts.
Now the mains were a real treat. Alongside the usual curries and stir fried dishes are a dozen or so specials - Tiger Cry, sizzling scallops, stir fry mai sot in red wine sauce, whole crispy sea bass and, what turned out to be a winner, whole steamed sea bass.
The fish was delectable, beautifully cooked flesh that melted away. It came on a tasty bed of ginger and spring onions - big flavours - in a lovely light soy-type sauce. Terrific, and it needed to be at £13.95, with a serving of mixed vegetables - as good as they were with asparagus featuring - at £6.
I adored the slow cooked beef massaman curry, which came in a quirkly little clay pot over a tea light (£8.50) and paired it with a decent plain rice (£2.50).
The meat was soft and tender with a nice flavour, the peppers and onions had a little crispiness to them and the sauce wonderfully creamy with a beautiful sweet coconut taste.
Two courses and a drink each brought the bill to £50 - a really nice dinner but no longer the inexpensive option that made the place so appealing.
BRAD’S RATING: 8/10