Once you get past the fact that Ekachai is located in a shopping mall (in Wandsworth's Southside shopping centre to be exact), and that it's a bit awkward to get to if you're hoofing it on foot (as I did), the food is actually surprisingly good.
Specialising in Southeast Asian cuisine, the menu at Ekachai features a wealth of Asian classics such as pad thai, spring rolls, curries, noodle dishes and soups.
For our starters we enjoyed the tasty pork and chive sticky dumplings with Chinese vinegar dip (£3.90), which had a unique tangy soy and ginger flavour sauce, and the crispy squid with Schezuan peppercorns £5.50), which was light, crispy and not at all greasy or chewy as can often be the case with squid.
For our mains we opted for the Char Kway Teow (£7.50), which consisted of wok fried flat rice noodles, stir fried with egg, chilli, soy sauce, bean sprouts and chives and the Beef Kendang (£7.20), a traditional Indonesian curry, which featured slowly simmered beef with roasted coconut, galangal, chilli and lemongrass.
The Char Kway Teow was OK, however the Beef Randang was fantastic, with tender meat and a great depth of flavour, which was perfect paired with coconut rice. We also enjoyed the bok choy, a classic Asian vegetable, that made a nice accompaniment to the other dishes.
The only disappointment was the drinks list, which was very limited and featured only a handful of wines. We opted for a bottle of the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (£18.90), which wasn't great, so I'd recommend sticking with an Asian beer, which usually goes down well with spicier dishes.
The service is fast and efficient, but sometimes lacking in warmth, apart from the restaurant manager Eddie, who is quite possibly the friendliest man on the planet!
Overall, it's a great place to go if you're out and about in Wandsworth and you fancy something cheap, cheerful and tasty, but you can't bear going to the neighbouring Nandos or Prezzo yet again.
Our experience overall
Food and drink: ★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★
Southside Shopping Centre
Unit 205, Upper Concourse
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