They do say that all good things come to those who wait. With regard to our recent meal at Orathai in Wrea Green I would say this is mostly, but not entirely, true.
What is true is that Orathai is just a little bit different from the competition.
We’ve visited most Thai restaurants on the Fylde coast and I have to say that the majority of them are pretty similar to each other. The food varies in quality but there is a shared Thai theme where the interiors are decorated with a mixture of modern and traditional styles, Buddha artworks and heads, wood-style fixtures and staffed with (mostly) female front-of-house serving staff.
This was not the case at Orathai.
But that is not to say that Orathai is not a good restaurant or is deficient in some way - just that it is a bit different.
It is certainly a popular destination. Online reviews are overwhelmingly positive with a 4.5 out of 5 rating based on 65 reviews, and when the four of us visited for a midweek dinner those who hadn’t booked were being politely turned away.
We arrived at 6.30pm and found many of the tables were already full. The interior is small but not that small.
In terms of decor it is best to think of Orathai more of a cosy cafe than a restaurant with a rather tired and amateurish interior. Paper napkins and ceiling tiles I don’t have a problem with but the rubber textured tablecloth was not to my liking. Sorry. During the long wait that was to follow my wrists and palms spent most of the time stuck to the table. This is however reflected in the very reasonable prices.
And so on to the long wait for food... and drinks.
The night we visited there was only one member of staff. He was taking orders, pouring drinks, clearing plates, wiping tables, answering the telephone, listening to customers’ questions, laying out cutlery, taking payment and everything else.
And throughout all this he maintained a quiet, efficient and polite demeanour.
But it meant the waiting times for everyone were very long. I’m hoping it was a one-off and someone had called in sick, because with the level of custom here they could certainly afford to employ some waiting staff. The staffing crisis was evidently also being felt in the kitchen.
We waited 15 minutes before the drinks arrived and probably longer before our order was taken.
I was pleased I for once ordered a starter. When it finally arrived the Orathai’s Bites, the self-proclaimed signature starter, was very welcome and eaten with enthusiasm and gratitude. The minced chicken and finely chopped vegetables wrapped up in a crisp lettuce leaf was most tasty and made us hopeful for the food that would later arrive.
Again the long wait took the edge off the pleasure a bit. It was a school night and as the food was being brought to the table I did seriously consider asking for the bill then, so I wouldn’t be unduly delayed later on.
So, on to the food.
My elder daughter had the garlic and pepper giant prawns. It looked the part and was all in all a delicious and wholesome meal.
The menu here is shorter than at other Thai restaurants and the handy chilli icons to denote spiciness are missing.
My wife had a variation of the sesame chicken noodles with more coriander and a side serving of chilli to heat it up a bit. The small morsel I was afforded was delicious.
There was no complaints from her end of the table so it must have been another success.
My younger daughter can be a bit weird in her food choices when we go out. Ketchup and rice are her staples.
Her mix of steamed and sticky rice was eaten with more contentment than most humans could muster.
Finally I had the stir fried chicken with basil and chilli. It was rich and delicious tasting and the sauce was tasty enough to keep on stirring in rice and extra noodles.
The bill came to a reasonable £45. I will return in the hope that the staffing shortage was just a one-off.
7.5 out of 10