Having observed the development of Kala Thai in Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth over lockdown, I had been eager to eat there ever since it opened its doors in August.

Positioned in arguably one of the best locations in town, Kala Thai occupies the site of the old Alcatraz Brasserie opposite Horseshoe Common, and during lockdown extensive refurbishment, modernisation and a no expense spared refit has taken place.

The spacious outside/inside seating area boasts a poured resin floor, an electric roof and windows that disappear at the touch of a button along with hand crafted oak booths with optional heaters for the cooler seasons.

Inside there is an impressive bar (I’m told the owner crafted it himself from a beautiful piece of Dorset oak) which boasts an impressive range of drinks including exotic cocktails – such as Lychee Mojitos and Thai Style Bourbon and Ginger – as well as tasty mocktails, quality beers and an extensive range of wines. Outside there is seating for 50, whatever the weather, and inside there are a further 80 seats.

Bournemouth Echo: Kala Thai, BournemouthKala Thai, Bournemouth

Kala Thai is a venue where Thai cuisine can be shared and enjoyed. A place that fuses authenticity, class and a great atmosphere. Using locally sourced produce and genuine Thai ingredients, diners can choose from an extensive menu that includes traditional favourites such as satays, dumplings, curries, Pad Thai and stir fry dishes as well as several specialist dishes including Weeping Tiger and Duck Honey Tamarind.

All dishes are cooked from fresh ingredients to order in the kitchen and none contain MSG. Starters range in price from £2.95 to £7.95, while main courses range between £9.95 and £17.95. The very affordable lunch menu is proving very popular at just £9.95 for two courses.

Operated by Thai chef Tom Saengthong, and supported by his team of authentic Thai chefs, Kala Thai is open seven days a week, from midday until late for dining and drinks. A take away service is also planned soon, operational Sunday to Thursday.

Since opening in August this restaurant has hit the ground running, busy every day with reservations and walk-ins. The licence to open until 2am at weekends is already attracting a later crowd once the kitchen has closed and the music is turned up.

Taking a break from his busy evening shift, owner Tom explained: “I have had a long-held dream to open a restaurant in my home town of Bournemouth.

The opportunity to turn my dream into reality in such a perfect venue was too good to miss and I am thrilled with the outcome.”

As we were shown to our booth we took in in the buzz of the atmosphere, the chatter and laughter of the evening crowd, the delicious aroma emanating from the open kitchen and the exquisitely designed interior – quite frankly an extremely pleasant assault on the senses before we had even sat down!

I was accompanied by three friends and we decided to sample a variety of different dishes in order to review all that Kala Thai has to offer. Various Thai cocktails were consumed while we perused the extensive menu and our waiting staff were very attentive.

To start we ordered a selection including Duck Spring Rolls, Thai Fishcakes, Prawn Dumplings and King Prawn Satay each accompanied by a complementary dressing or dip. These were mouth-wateringly good, light, flavoursome, and beautifully cooked and presented.

Bournemouth Echo: A selection of starters at Kala Thai, BournemouthA selection of starters at Kala Thai, Bournemouth

Having whet our appetites with a sharing selection we then ordered individual dishes for our main courses – between us we enjoyed Chicken Pad Thai, King Prawn Pad Thai, Tofu and Vegetable Massamam Curry with coconut rice and Gaeng Pad – a Thai red curry served with jasmine rice.

As before our dishes were exquisite – full of flavour, generous in size, beautiful to taste and to look at and all served with a smile – those of us who have been to Thailand agreed that the food was incredibly authentic.

Bournemouth Echo:

At the end of the evening we left happy and sated, and we are already planning our next visit with our partners. Kala Thai is the place to go in central Bournemouth and with the standard of food and service we received I have no doubt it will go from strength to strength!

Kala Thai, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth 01202 096357 kala-thai.com