Singburi isn’t just the best restaurant in Leytonstone nor the best Thai restaurant in London, it’s one of the best restaurants in the city, full stop. Phones do not eat first here. Which is why you’ll likely only come away with one, single, frantically blurry photo of your dinner at Singburi. Maybe it’ll be their classic garlic, chilli, and Thai basil-infused clams. Maybe it won’t. One thing’s for sure, you will have a crystal clear picture of their specials board up front.
Everything on that daily-changing chalkboard is sensational. Their famous moo krob—made up of the most perfectly rendered cubes of pork belly, crisp and fat, coated in a fierce and pungent mixture of chilli and basil—is addictive and likely to turn your table into hyenas. A friend of ours put it best when he said “I think that it’s the ultimate bar food” with a chunk of fiery pig belly in one hand and a cold beer in the other.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Despite sounding like the precursor to an episode of Banged Up Abroad, that image is a familiar one in Singburi. Their never-changing BYOB and cash-only approach means that the atmosphere in this shoebox restaurant is never anything less than lively. There’s the constant noise of friends settling down drinks in hand, and the reluctant sounds of other groups settling up. As for the sheepish gang outside who didn’t make a booking? Well, more fool them.
The rest of Singburi’s hubbub comes from the staff themselves. This is a family-run affair that’s tight-knit in every sense. The kitchen spills out into the hallway, and the prep area spills out into the dining room, and part of the dining room will inevitably spill onto your white t-shirt.
An evening here involves staff skillfully dodging customers, bowls and plates always in hand, doing London’s spiciest assault course for the umpteenth time. You’ll soon realise and love that this is very much Singburi’s domain. The stains of larb ped or that second plate of impeccable moo krob? Those are your souvenirs.
Everything at Singburi is an assault of flavours and fire, noise and nous. The ever-changing plates and bowls that come out of their kitchen are full of care and, moreover, unrelenting energy. It’s a restaurant that requires many stomachs and much organisation. A military operation disguised as a casual restaurant booking via DM that, when carried out successfully, will end in exclamations of bloody brilliance, sweat, and tears of happiness. Go to Singburi and you’ll eat the best thing you’ve eaten this week. Or, possibly, ever.
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Superlatives can be applied to everything across Singburi’s specials board. Stir-fried pad cha razor clams seduce before hitting you with heat. The fire comes first via the wok before the leisurely power of the chilli takes over. The gang know wan nua is a meltingly smooth beef green curry that’s made for hoovering and slurping. So too is the gang goong bai cha plu: a southern prawn curry full of buzzing green chilli and lush pink crustaceans. Even the pineapple fried rice is memorable as a sweet respite for the happy beads of sweat around the table. Of course, the specials are constantly changing. But their clams and moo krob always feature and, while we know it’s Our Thing to provide hyper-specific recommendations, let us just say this: order from the board and you can’t go wrong.