The community website for Forest Hill and Honor Oak, London SE23
Events | Features | Forum | Local Books | Contact

Forum Archive
The Orchard / Thai Orchard

Author Message
Joined 11-09-2005
Posted on Monday, 01 January, 2007 - 02:41 pm:   

In SE23 magazine this month there is a mention about The Orchard closing and becoming the Thai Orchard. Says its last evening will be NYE. Does anybody know when this new Thai Orchard will open or any other info?
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 01 January, 2007 - 09:51 pm:   

No but it sounds like good news to me.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 01 January, 2007 - 11:43 pm:   

I think the same article said Jan, but no specific date. I look forward to trying it.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 02 January, 2007 - 01:21 pm:   

I do think that Jeff and Ainslie Kitchen deserve our good wishes for the future- they have been in business for 25 years at the same premises and lasted the course, with many happy customers in Forest Hill. Having said that I am looking forward to the Thai and hope it will stay around for a few years, unlike most of the other new establishments that seem to pack up after 6 months.
Joined 09-04-2006
Posted on Thursday, 04 January, 2007 - 01:27 pm:   

Indeed, extremely looking forward to the thai place, its what FH has lacked! Far too many chinese-type places, but no thai/ indonesian/ vietnamese. It would be great if they added a bar where you can just go for a drink aswell, I'm a huge fan of singha beer (even better on tap!).

As for The Orchard previous, cant say I ever fancied their menus but it did have a great elevated position in FH.

Good luck to Thai Orchard!
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 05 January, 2007 - 12:00 am:   

Well there used to be a Thai... I'm not sure this is a good thing. We have loads of oriental restaurants and not enough European, in my opinion. Unless authentic, Thai is real lowest common denominator stuff, as found in every other pub in London... about 5 years ago. Its moment has rather gone, I fear. Jeff & Ainslie obviously knew what they were doing, a rare quality among local restaurateurs judging by the short-lived nature of many ventures compared to the almost Rules-like local stature of the Orchard.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Friday, 05 January, 2007 - 03:26 pm:   

I went to the Orchard once last year since moving to the area. The menu was OK if a bit dated, but the place was very odd with strange rules - e.g. you had to pay in cash if you were having the set menu, but not if you were eating a la carte. The location is lovely so let's hope the new place is friendlier - if done well Thai food can be great.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Friday, 05 January, 2007 - 03:51 pm:   

I must say I am with Fhssecretary. Thai food can be good, but I am not a connoisseur and I only have it from time to time. As far as I am concerned (partly because they are equally difficult to match with wine) this is all in the "Asian Cuisine" category of which FH already seems well served (I quite like Yune).

Does anyone know if they did any specific research to determine the demand, or just liked the site/area?

I only went to the Orchard once many moons ago and it was OK but not overwhelming. I will give this a go of course, but I must admit I was disappointed to hear that it was going to be Thai food.

Fingers crossed.
Joined 11-09-2005
Posted on Saturday, 06 January, 2007 - 04:29 pm:   

I have to say on the occasion I went to The Orchard when we first moved here two years ago I was not impressed. The food reminded me of UK dining in the 70s.
But clearly many enjoyed it and The Orchard has always appeared busy, so it obviously served a purpose for some in the area.
I agree completely that it is a really shame that the new place is not offering similar cuisine but surely the main thing it that what ever type of food it is, that is well produced, and accompanied with good service, in a nice atmosphere. That is what is going to attract people to Forest Hill.
That said the food at Yune is lovely, and the staff uber efficient, but the place is rarely busy.
Joined 09-04-2006
Posted on Monday, 08 January, 2007 - 02:01 pm:   

Robwinton, thai food is made for beer. Try a singha with a Thai Green curry and you'll be hooked. Less than fine dinning maybe, but true thai taste is something else and for sheer plethora of flavours, cant be beaten.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 08 January, 2007 - 09:09 pm:   

With all due respect to the other views expressed here, I had a very bad experience at The Orchard, as have a couple of friends who used to live locally so I can't extend my warm wishes in this instance.

I am hopeful we will get a decent Thai to replace the one that closed down on the London Road a couple of years ago.
Joined 12-07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 09 January, 2007 - 06:09 pm:   

I have to agree with Seeformiles, my husband and I visited the Orchard about 3 times in the last 5 years and each time we had a bad experience, it was not just the menu that was boring stuck in the 80`s ( hey I do like boring food if is tasty) but the service was just a laugh.
I think a nice Mediterranean restaurant is what we need in Forest Fill not a Thai, but good luck to the new owners anyway.
Joined 30-11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 - 11:10 am:   

For those of you who haven't noticed the Thai Orchard will be opening 16 January. They've already laid the tables, so hope they will clean the glasses and plates before they open, as they'll be covered in 2 weeks worth of dust otherwise. Not very appetising! Their website is, but there's not much on it at the moment.

For the record I was an occasional visitor to the Orchard/Romantique II over the last 25 years and never had a bad meal there, although I agree Jeff and Ainslie could be a bit odd. Maybe I just like "old fashioned". At the moment all we seem to have in Forest Hill is Asian and Indian restaurants, plus the overpriced pub those in UDB (or whatever) rave about, so I for one am sorry to see The Orchard do.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 - 11:53 am:   

I quite like the food in the overpriced pub, but lately haven't been able to get a table at the weekend without booking, which is a bit annoying. It seems to be full of types with trendy glasses on - where have they all come from?
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 - 11:56 am:   

I've been here for years, thank you very much. I just take them off in other establishments when I dare venture in.

Question is: is the Thai Orchard under new ownership, or does the Jeff 'n' Ainslie show continue?
Joined 27-06-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 - 02:04 pm:   

An eighties themed Thai restaurant - now that could be interesting
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 10 January, 2007 - 05:45 pm:   

Well Pat, we are becoming a 'trendy glasses' type of area I've noticed :-)
I'd better not say too much or I'll get accused of being stuck in the past again!
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Monday, 15 January, 2007 - 01:28 pm:   

For the record I do actually wear glasses (when I can't be bothered to put my contact lenses in), but they aren't very trendy.
Walked past the Thai Orchard on Saturday - they haven't changed anything about it, so it will be interesting to hear what it's like and who is running it. It opens tomorrow.
Joined 11-09-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 03:29 pm:   

Did anyone try it out on its opening night?
Joined 18-01-2007
Posted on Friday, 19 January, 2007 - 10:26 am:   

Hi everybody, thanks for all your comments.

Someone told me about this website and I personally think it is great to have this forum in FH. My husband and I have just moved from Oxford last month and we've received a very warm welcome so far from people here which is very encouraging!

Thai Orchard is running by a Thai lady, me ^_^ , and my husband. More stories about us, changing over and the restaurant will be in SE23living Feb issue with a special offer for readers. Please have a look!

Our chef has a lot of experiences working in different places such as in the hotels in Bangkok and in Thai restaurants in Japan. We're lucky to get him and I can guarantee that you'll be providing with authentic Thai cuisine.

We're opened to all feedbacks and comments to improve our food and services. Many thanks from Martin and Siraporn.
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Friday, 19 January, 2007 - 12:19 pm:   

Hi Thaiorchard,
I'm hoping to visit you Sunday night, my husband and I both love Thai food, we used to live in Lee and went to a Thai restaurant there regularly until we left the area.
We're looking forward to seeing you soon, and good luck in Forest Hill!
Joined 04-02-2006
Posted on Friday, 19 January, 2007 - 02:20 pm:   

Siraporn, welcome to Forest Hill. Hopefully you will be as successful and have the same longevity as the previous owners. I will certainly try it out with friends over the next few weeks.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Saturday, 20 January, 2007 - 08:13 am:   

Siraporn - welcome to Forest Hill. I am looking forward to trying your restuarant soon.
Joined 04-02-2006
Posted on Sunday, 28 January, 2007 - 10:33 am:   

I recommend to everyone on the forum that you try out the Thai Orchard. I went there with friends last night. There is a good choice on the menu and the quality of the food is excellent. Saturday night is probably their busiest but it was packed from 8 last night which is obviously a good sign for any new business in Forest Hill. Well done Siraporn and Martin, long may these high standards continue.
Joined 18-01-2007
Posted on Monday, 29 January, 2007 - 08:23 am:   

Hi Forester - I'm glad that you enjoyed it. It had been very quite for the weekdays and then suddenly a lot of people came out on Saturday night. We tried our best to provide good and quick service to everyone. Hope that we did!

Thanks Pat and Les for your welcoming messages. I'd love to become part of FH community, not just running the restuarant, as I have no plan of moving anywhere else in the next 20 years! I wish my future kids to grow up here ^_^, that is my plan.
Joined 04-02-2006
Posted on Monday, 29 January, 2007 - 08:56 am:   

We found the service to be efficient and friendly. So I think you've found good staff in all areas.
Joined 09-04-2006
Posted on Monday, 29 January, 2007 - 12:58 pm:   

Anyone else been? What time is it open till?
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Monday, 29 January, 2007 - 01:05 pm:   

We got some take away on Friday and it was superb. As good if not better than our other favourites - Thailand in New X and the Corner Cafe in ED. Highly recommend the Laab Moo. Genuinely pleasant staff and overall another very welcome addition to FH's cillinary landscape.
Joined 23-02-2005
Posted on Monday, 29 January, 2007 - 02:35 pm:   

High praise indeed to compare it to Thailand in New Cross. Exceptional place.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Saturday, 03 February, 2007 - 09:58 am:   

Had a terrific meal from the Orchard last night (unfortunately take away, owing to newborn!). Its open 12 til 2.30pm and 5.30 til 11.00 Tues to Sat, and 12 til 3 and 5.30 til 10.30 Sunday.

I would recommend it, without hesitation.
Joined 01-04-2006
Posted on Sunday, 04 February, 2007 - 12:56 pm:   

Went to Thai Orchard on Thursday and had a fantastic meal went for the set menu and it was a good hearty eat.

One tip, not all of the items on the starter plate are edible!!

Worth a visit, even my girlfriend (not from 'the Hill') commented on the quality of the food and friendliness of the staff. Nice to be able to take people not from the area to new decent places like this where there is clearly a demand for it!!!
Joined 09-04-2006
Posted on Monday, 05 February, 2007 - 12:37 pm:   

Had a very good meal there on Sat night. Had the very fussy "outlaws" with us and they loved it. Top marks, good atmosphere, good food and good service. They also do takeaway which means the wife is now in a state of Nirvana.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 05 February, 2007 - 09:55 pm:   

They have added their menu to the website at Looks like a very good selection.
Joined 18-01-2007
Posted on Monday, 12 February, 2007 - 11:29 am:   

Hi all, many thanks for your feedbacks. I'm very pleased that you like our food and services. I've been talking to many customers and received a lot of useful comments and interesting points to improve our restaurant. Here are the outcome of my decision according to your comments.

Regarding to the website, I will add prices for those who would like to order take away. However, I would like to remain you that all prices are for eating in and take away order will be 15% discount. (It was 10%) For Tuesday to Thursday, paying by cash, we're offering a free bottle of beer on take away order 25 and a free bottle of house red or white wine on take away order 35 after the discount. (help us avoiding bank charges on card and we can offer you a free drinks. ^_^ )

Once again, many thanks for supporting us. I'm in the restaurant everyday. Feel free to come and talk to me any time. Siraporn
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Monday, 12 February, 2007 - 12:12 pm:   

Finally went there on Saturday for the first time, and the food and service were both absolutely wonderful! We had a great meal, my dining partner, who is a bit of a thai curry expert, declared the green curry just about perfect! The staff were all so friendly as well, we will definitely be going back - congratulations Siraporn and long may you stay in Forest Hill!
Joined 28-06-2006
Posted on Monday, 28 May, 2007 - 09:01 am:   

Another happy reviewer here. Gorged ourselves on the Sunday all you can eat lunch special ( No dishes smothered by oil, sugar, salt, spices or glutinous sauces. No canteen-style help yourself - all dishes prepared to order so spring rolls were crispy, not flacid. Nothing pretentious, just simple ingredients cooked properly. Spare rib starter was a particularly tasty. Bargain at 12.50.

Local forums in nearby areas: | | | | | |