Business Lunch: Mantra Thai Dining

Alison Cowie visits the revived Waterside Palace in Newcastle, where Chinese cuisine has turned Thai

Mantra Thai Dining’s owner Jeab Prapunwong first began working at The Waterside Palace in Newcastle as a waiter while he completed his studies. He vowed one day to open a Thai restaurant befitting the iconic building. In December 2014, his dream came true.

Centrally located on Forth Banks and with the considerable benefit of free visitor parking, the restaurant has proved popular ever since.

I was the first to arrive at the restaurant one lunchtime last month and enjoyed a drink in the extensive ground floor bar area while I waited for my colleagues to join me. Once they arrived, we were shown upstairs to the light and spacious restaurant,h where functional and muted design is punctuated with warm orange soft furnishings and ornate Thai lattice panelling adorning the walls.

There was a choice of set lunch menu (£12.95 for two courses) or the more extensive day menu, and the attentive staff were more than happy to guide us though the array of authentic Thai cuisine.

My party and I decided to share a selection of starters and tucked into the corn fitters, pork skewers and deep-fried squid.

For our mains we reverted to individual dishes. I opted for the papaya salad with crispy pan-fried salmon, which, for a salad, packed a serious punch. I was halfway through my traditional Thai dessert (grilled pineapple with mango and passion fruit sorbet) before I could feel my face again! It did say that it was a hot dish on the menu, so I can’t say I wasn’t warned. If you like your food fresh and fiery, I recommend you try this salad for yourself.

My fellow diners raved about their mains and both agreed they would be returning to Mantra with their respective wives.

Dedicated authentic Thai eateries are few and far between on Tyneside and Mr Prapunwong should be rightly proud of his. I wonder how many waiting staff working in Newcastle today will go on to brighten the city’s dining scene the way Mantra Thai Dining does?

On the menu:

Sweetcorn fritters with red curry paste and sweet chilli sauce

Bangkok street-style pork skewers marinated in honey and coriander root

Deep-fried squid served with seafood dipping sauce

Papaya salad with crispy pan-fried salmon

Pad Thai with chicken

Stir-fried crispy pork with chilli and basil, served with jasmine rice

Grilled pineapple with mango and passion fruit sorbet

Lemon and ginger cheesecake

Dark chocolate rum truffle

Waterside Palace, Forth Banks, Newcastle, NE1 3SG
www.mantra-thai.co.uk
0191 232 6080

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