O’cha Thai Restaurant, Macclesfield

O’cha apparently means tea in Japanese, though it is also the name of a Thai restaurant my kids and I chanced upon in Market Square, Macclesfield while visiting my poorly mother in hospital.  Not a grand or aspirational restaurant, but a small family-run institution, the sort where everyone has a genuine smile and the food is how mother used to make – though the fact that it opened only in July 2015 may contribute to the keen attitude.

Given the heritage, the website seems remarkably plush, though not untypical for Thai restaurants the menu sticks close to a proven formula where, for example, Indian restaurants are now becoming more inventive to escape being typecast (see my recent reviews of EastzEast and The Spicy Swan.)

It’s not that there is no room for flair but you can predict fairly closely the starters, the curries, the stir-fries, the salads, the rices and the noodle dishes, so it takes a keen technique to stand out from the crowd.  One that does is the Chilli Banana, of which there are branches in both my home town of Wilmslow and in Macclesfield, competing head to head with O’cha – though if the team running O’cha were worried about competition it was far from obvious.

Welcome notwithstanding, this is also a restaurant marked by prompt service, though the tables did fill up while we were there.  Drinks were the easy bit – two Singha beers and two pots of tea, though one pot refilled would have been ample.

By agreement with my young adults, we dispensed with starters and chose a main each, plus 2 coconut rice portions and a splendid King Prawn Pad Thai – unquestionably my daughter’s favourite dish of the lot, such that she could probably live off peanutty-flavoured Thai noodles.

There had to be a curry, so at length my son chose a beef red curry rather than the jungle curry he favoured (two reasons: jungle curries don’t contain coconut milk, and my memory of jungle curry in Thailand is that you would need several days to extinguish the fire!)  Daughter plumped for Ped Pad Bai Grapow (aka duck stir-fried with chilli and “Thai holy basil.”)  To balance out the other dishes, I selected what amounted to pork in a sweet-sour sauce, otherwise known as Moo Pad Priew Wan.  Yes indeed, there is much merriment to be had with the phonetic translations of Thai dishes!

All dishes were good, replete with thin sauces in the Thai style.  Not exceptional fine dining, but home-cooked dishes that were competent and tasty, exactly as promised.  Nothing bad to report, and certainly worthy of dinner if you’re in the area.  They were also good value, such that three of us ate for under £50.

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